I try and teach Maddie not to be scared of anything, but that sometimes we are apprehensive of things we don't know. And so it's safe to say I was apprehensive at first about the Birthday present I received yesterday. Pete had told me keep three hours free on Tuesday but wouldn't tell me why. But he let me ask one clue, and so I asked if it was going to put me out of my comfort zone. He said that it would and then it wouldn't. I knew right away that I would be driving a race car!
I didn't cover myself in glory as being the most grateful gift recipient of all time. "I'm terrified" were the words I whispered to him when I gave him the hug that should have been my "I'm so excited thank you so so much" hug.
I let the idea settle but on the day I was still apprehensive. I was the only woman driver and was there alone and psyched myself up so much, but thankfully not out of it. I was afraid I would crash. I was afraid I would embarrass myself and somehow all women drivers. I was afraid I would be paralysed by fear and putt putt around the track and waste an opportunity to extend myself.
I've always prided myself on being a good driver. I'm not aggressive on the road, I am assertive. It was the first place I ever felt confident. When Pete and I started dating I was a work in progress for sure. I had no self confidence and he was so patient and loving and started building me up. He found things that I enjoyed and was good at, from which I would then extract confidence. He couldn't believe the transformation of my insecurity from outside the car to the confidence and assertion I displayed when behind the wheel. It took time but I eventually grew into my confidence and found my own voice and put myself in the drivers seat of my own life. But yesterday I felt like I was being tested and I was afraid that those years of confidence would be torn apart and I'd realise I wasn't all that good after all. Was my confidence built on sand!?
But.....Once the engine started to purr, it drowned out all the doubts in my head and I focused on the road ahead of me. Literally and figuratively. I took it slow and steady for the first few laps until I felt more comfortable with the car and course, and soon was flooring it and reaching 200kms on the straights and taking corners with ease. My instructor said whilst i still had plenty to go on increasing my speed, I had impeccable lines so that in time the speed will come. Watch out Hamilton!
I don't know that I'm going to rush out and buy my own helmet and start racing in my free time, but I do know that I liked how I felt when I stepped out of that car. I loved the adrenaline rush for sure, but it was more than that. You could get an adrenaline rush from jumping out of a plane or swimming in shark tank (neither of which I'm ever going to do by the way!!), but the rush that you get from being in control and pushing yourself to your limits is unparalleled. You can do a Hot Lap as a passenger in a Formula 1 car there too, which might be amazing, but for me, having been in the drivers seat was far more thrilling, and significant.
I guess this is a long winded thank you and apology to my sweet husband for pushing me and knowing my capabilities. I'm sorry you had to wait until after the event for the excited hugs and non-stop chatter, but now that it's started, I don't suspect it going to stop anytime soon!! It's only just begun....
I must admit, I am having a hard time adjusting to civilian driving now, I'm itching to get back on the track and testing out a few different cars next time. Thanks Pete. From 18 years ago and to now.