I am Disabled: I Suck at Driving

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This is a link-up with Nisha360. Read the end of this post for more info.

I am disabled.

I don’t have broken retinas, like Dad. And I am not in constant pain like Mom. The only body parts I’m missing are seven teeth and my tonsils. And actually my tonsils have grown back.

But I’m not perfect. I’m not completely capable.

I can’t drive. I’m 22 years old, with all my limbs and senses in mostly-working condition. I’m not exactly attention-deficit either.

I’ve been taking lessons. I wrote about it two years ago. It was funny back then. I was only twenty. It’s worse now.

My baby sister is turning 18 this year – the legal driving age in South Africa. I have a good feeling she’s going to be driving legally before me – heck, she already drives more confidently than me.

I could blame it on the fact that she has a patient boyfriend who teaches her. She lives in a small suburb with non-scary roads. Cape Town has scary roads and scary drivers. She has Mom by her, who can teach her whenever they have a moment.

Little Sister is wonderfully athletic. She has great hand-eye co-ordination.

Put me behind a steering wheel and I want to freak out. I don’t know how to handle gears and pedals and a wheel and all those damn mirrors all at once. My eyes are weak, my hand-eye co-ordination is weak…

Can’t I just get rich and have a chauffeur?

Truth is, I know disabled individuals – with actual recognised handicaps – who can drive with their handicapable vehicles. If they can do it, why can’t I?

Am I lazy? Wow, I’m ashamed to admit it, but perhaps I am. I don’t book lessons regularly. It takes me forever to book license appointments. But it’s more than laziness. I think. I hope.

Fear is one, that’s for sure. Driving isn’t safe. South African roads are a nightmare. But many things are dangerous. Do I want to bubble-wrap myself? Hell no.

I’m tired too. But that’s another disability, and I’ll write about it soon.

I need to learn to drive. I must. I just don’t see it happening.

* * *

Nisha is a young lady from my home town with Cerebral Palsy. She is remarkable and blogs about her struggle for independence. She has raised funds for a well in rural Kenya. She is breaking down stigma little by little.

Nisha experiences discrimination and misunderstanding of her CP regularly. Just browse through her blog and see. To address the stigma associated with disabilities she started a campaign called #IamDisabled. This campaign aims to show the world that everyone has things they want to do but can’t – like Nisha can’t fully use her right hand and I can’t drive.

Yet. Nisha’s hand gets stronger and (hopefully) I’ll fix my deplorable driving.

Link up with Nisha for this campaign here and let’s break down these artificial boxes society insists we belong in. You can be diagnosed disabled, or be like me. We’re not all the same, but we kind of are, too.

 

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18 thoughts on “I am Disabled: I Suck at Driving

  1. If it’s any consolation, it took me until my early 20s to get my license (the legal age here is 16). I was definitely NOT a natural, and I could never seem to get competent enough behind the wheel to pass the test. Since I’ve been licensed and had my own car, however, it’s been a totally different story, and I actually feel pretty comfortable behind the wheel.

  2. Thanks Mariechen this is a great post and don’t worry you’ll get your drivers licence soon and who knows maybe when you come to EL drivers licence in hand we can go to the movies together :)

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  5. Wow- I feel you here girl. I am the worst driver of all time. Drove on the wrong side of the rode when I first got my temps. I’ve improved a tad in the past 4 years, but still not great. Visiting from SITS! Love your sense of humor :) xo Shane

  6. Hi! I’m stopping by from the SITS linkup. I absolutely love this post! As a mom to a child with Autism, I think this campaign is great and much needed. So many people look at my son and only see what he can’t do. But we all have things we can’t do, disabled or not. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  7. I love this idea. I have a visual impairment so I probably won’t ever be able to drive – but there’s plenty of stuff I CAN do :) Visiting from SITS.

    • My dad is partially sighted and also can’t drive. It makes him feel very dependent, but he does so many other things. He is changing many things for public hospitals in South Africa, and he has always been a hero to us kids. Keep strong!

  8. “We’re not all the same, but we kind of are, too.” I love this! How absolutely true. Thank you for sharing your story and hers.

    Stopping by from SITS.

  9. I grew up in rural Wisconsin. My mother didn’t drive and my father’s driving was limited to traveling to the nearest town ten miles away for supplies and church. Learning to drive was quite an ordeal for me and my five siblings; despite my brother’s experience driving a tractor. A couple of sessions behind the wheel during my school’s driver’s education class and a practice run down our farm’s country roads didn’t quite cut it. I failed the exam three times, even hitting a car while parallel parking on try # two and going thru a stop sign on try #1. I think I finally passed only because the examiner felt sorry for me; he did tell my dad to keep me off major highways ‘til I had more experience. My siblings and I had a lot of anger towards my dad for not properly teaching us. Then one day my brother pointed out my dad was afraid to drive as well. It all started to make sense.
    When my mom divorced the first thing she did was enroll in a professional driver’s class. She spent many, many hours behind the wheel. It was worth every penny and that course was quite expensive. She is now an excellent driver.
    As for me, I bought a car after my first real job after moving to Milwaukee. I got tired of carrying my groceries home from the store and on the bus. I didn’t really drive much for the first few years – my job was on the bus route and I had to pay for parking. Then one day a co-worker (who was a real screw up in life and work) told me one of her favorite things to do on a beautiful Saturday was to get in her car and go for a long drive. I had an AHA moment. If this gal could drive so could I. I got in my car paid attention to what I was doing and practiced. I now consider myself a good driver. I still can’t parallel park though, but then I haven’t tried on my own since that my exam many years ago. I asked my husband if he would teach me – a task he doesn’t seem to be too excited about.
    I still have a twinge of driving fear every now and then especially if I have to drive someone else’s vehicle – like my husband’s Chevy Silverado.
    Good luck to you, I hope my story helps squelch your fears and keep practicing. On thinking back on it though, I’m not sure if that examiner should have passed me. I could have been a danger to myself and to others.

    • I never responded to this, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks. Thanks so much for sharing your story, it really gives me some more hope! I really look forward to being able to take a long relaxing drive one day.

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