Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Passing The Driving Test.

I sit here in front of my computer.  Comforted by a powerful and profound realisation that I have confronted my fears and refused to be overwhelmed by that sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I challenged my fear of driving.  I refused to let my terror of driving alone to a place I had never been before; get the better of my determined spirit.  The worry of going to a party and being with many people, would take this lonely recluse, way out of his comfort zone.  I could of made many an excuse not to go.  The excuses were left at home.  The negative 'inner chatter' was reduced from a relentless scream to a quiet whisper.
I was meticulous in my preparation for the long drive from Leek to Durham. Yes, that's Durham, England, not Durham, North Carolina.  Now that really would have been a challenge.  Indeed, this was going to be a drive that would take me on the motorway for the first time in nearly ten years.  I washed the car reckoning that would save me fuel.  I vacuumed  the car to save even more fuel.  I was very aware that £10 would about fill it up to empty.
So off I went.  Mile after terrifying mile, passed by.  Hour after nerve-wracking hour, passed by.  Almost four hours elapsed.  Then I took that final turn and my friends Julie and Philip, welcomed me with open arms.  I had arrived in more ways than one.
A warm euphoric wave swept over me.  All along the journey I had tried to overcome my anxiety with a positive visualisation of such a rewarding outcome.  That was phase one.  The party would be next and a new test on my battered self esteem; would soon be realised.  The party was a gathering; a celebration of Julie's birthday.  It was fun and I was okay.  Me, the recluse, was amongst friends and for the first time in a very long time; I felt like I was a part of something.  A part of something very special.  I even got to be a little bit silly.  You may note this in the above photograph as I posed in Julie's 'Jessica Rabbit' wig.  I can assure you that is not really my hair.

And thus I went for a stroll through Durham.  The glowing lamp; the distant vision of Durham cathedral; symbolic in my continued journey of self-discovery and self-renewal.  This trip of uncharted emotional territory bestowed upon me wondrous, magical gifts.  The gift of knowing that I am not the bad and devalued being that some would have me believe.  And the gift of friends who applaud the courage of this one man who strives for a happy and peaceful life.  These gifts are priceless.
Now I am home.  The solitude is there but the comfort of better times to come; immerses my soul in the soothing knowledge that I, just like you, have the right to tranquil and contented existence.


  1. Dear Gary,
    What can I say? Congratulations, my friend. You have finally overcome some of your deepest fears, and I admire your courage and determination in that continuing journey.
    So glad, also, that you enjoyed the party and were able to "let your hair down", erm, so to speak.
    I shall expect to see you on my own doorstep in due course, then! I'll be in touch soon,
    Yours with All the Very Best,

  2. In so many ways Gary, life is a journey. Whether metaphorical or actual you have come a long way.
    I believe the most significant phrase is 'positive visualisation'.
    I trust you got back safely and did not meet Tom Eagerley on the way!

  3. It's been too long my friend since I have ventured out into the blog world to catch up.

    Love the hair! It reminds me of a distant time when mine was almost as long (and I still had it). Congratulations on your success. Sometimes moving out of our comfort zones are the best thing we can do to see how great life can be.

    My world has changed dramatically over the last several months as I have been forced away from being a content introvert writing about things I love into the world of American politics. Trust me, it is not a pretty picture.

    Anyway, keep pushing forward and remember that we only have the present moment to live. Whatever is past should be left in the past.

    All the best,

  4. How wonderful, I'm thrilled for you! A very great achievement, Gary. Now you have your freedom back again. What a difference you have made to your life.

    (Loved the wig!) Carole x

  5. Well,Gary,I find myself strangely attracted to you in that wig[GOD, I AM ILL.Seriously,a hearty WELL DONE FOR YOUR JOURNEY.Knew you could make it ,quite a landmark ,in your fight against negative speculation,you can stamp this one APPROVED.Really happy for you.WITH RESPECT.David.s

  6. Congratulations on the success of your personal journey. A group of supportive friend is a balm for the soul. I believe red is your color.

  7. What an inspiring post, Gary. I really appreciated you sharing the story of overcoming your own fears. I think I'm going to dare myself to overcome my own fears, as well.

    Congratulations for stepping out of your comfort zone.

    We're not too different, you and me. :)

    Btw, You're rocking the red wig look pretty well! :p

  8. I didn't see you on the road on my own epic journey up north mate.
    Yep, made it to Watford without out any problemS!

  9. Dear David,
    Thanks for the congratulations.
    I have faced my fears head on and am determined to move forward with the excitement of positive possibilities.
    It was good to 'let my hair down'. I think I look stunning, or is that stunned? in a red wig :-)
    Hope to drop by your place on that rather funny named street you live on. Imagine the strange looks if I got lost and asked for directions to where you live?
    Thanks, David. With the very best of wishes, Gary.

  10. Hi bazza,
    I have come a long way in my own personal journey along the motorway that is life.
    Positive visualisation works wonders. It is most assuredly better to try to live life with positive anticipation rather than negative speculation.
    I got back safely, thank you.
    Sadly, our new friend, was nowhere to be seen. It appears that he could venture no further north than Watford. Ah, the lucky folks of Watford.
    Thanks, bazza. With respect, Gary.

  11. Hi Roger,
    How great it is to hear from you, my friend.
    Glad you loved the hair. I too remember the good ol' days when I had some semblance of hair and bushy sideburns. Still, in my case, once a hippie, always a hippie.
    American politics. Yikes! I wish you all the very best with that venture. President Roger, perhaps?
    I celebrate the 'now' and keep progressing to an even better time. Like you, I make it so.
    With peace and respect, Gary.

  12. Hi Carole,
    Thank you so much.
    I now have the freedom to explore the beauty of the great outdoors. I am thrilled to think that I can now go to all those places in Britain that I have been longing to see.
    It is a lovely wig. Sadly, I had to return it to its rightful owner:-)
    With kindness, Gary x

  13. Hi David.s,
    Hey, I'm a bit of a babe in that wig lol.
    I cast aside negative speculation and visualised a positive outcome. Yes, I was nervous, yet my desire to work through my fears; was powerful motivation.
    I know that when we are determined; we can realise a most satisfactory result. All the best to you and keep moving froward, David.
    With respect, Gary

  14. Greetings lifeshighway,
    Thanks for your kind words of encouragement.
    A group of supportive and non judgemental friends gives me cause to celebrate all that is good in life.
    I think you are right. Red seems to suit me and brings out the colour in my eyes.
    All the very best with your wonderful and interactive blog.
    With respect and kindness, Gary:-)

  15. Hi Shanaz,
    Thank you for your kind and supportive words.
    I am so pleased to know that you find inspiration from what I wrote. Determination and resilience has been the catalyst in my ability to tackle the fears that have suffocated me.
    You go for it. Stand tall, be proud and keep on smiling. Sometimes, our 'comfort zone' is more of an uncomfortable comfort zone.
    That's me, the red haired rock n' roller lol.
    Sending you positive wishes. In peace and empathy, your friend, Gary :-)

  16. Hello Tom,
    So you managed to make it as far north as Watford?
    Well, I didn't see you either. However, I did notice a dude driving a 'Mr Whippy' ice cream van on the motorway. Wondered if that might be you.
    Hope the good folks of Watford have recovered from your monumental visit.
    Thank you Tom.
    With kindness and a 99 Flake, Gary :-)

  17. Congratulations, Gary on mustering up the courage to take the wheel and go the distance. Must have been really nerve racking, even frightening for you to drive.

    I didn't know you didn't get out much -people gathering-wise. Sounds as if you did a brave thing there, too. Glad you were able to interact with friends on a face to face level. It can be really fun or interesting or boring. Anymore, my own group has gotten boring. Nothing like the good old days.

    Hey, are you sure that isn't your real hair? It looks so natural or something. :-) Take care, man.

  18. I married a red-head Gary. Have a thing about red heads I do.

    Although you remind me of a red-haired version of Marge Simpson in that photo.

    Driving will get much easier now that you have made that first step.

    And not just the driving. that's just a symbol isn't it.

  19. Congratulations, Gary. Facing fears is something I understand all too well. I'm happy for you. It must have been a big day for you. What a wonderful accomplishment.

  20. Hi Kelly,
    Thanking you for the congratulations.
    Yeah, it sure did take some courage to go on that trip. Not only had I not been on the motorway (highway) for almost 10 years; to top it off, I went on my own to a place I've never been before. So it really took a hell of a lot of nerve to do it.
    I'm a bit of a reluctant recluse. I live a double life. If you met me on the street; you would find it hard to believe that I spend almost all the time on my own.
    I'm working through this. Past screwed-up events got to my head. I'm going down that road that leads to recovery. The folks I met up with were a real help.
    I wish it was my real hair. Heck dude, I just want hair; any hair:-)
    Thanks Kelly. Kind wishes, Gary...

  21. Hi John,
    Yeah, I can see that. Me as Marge Simpson. 'Oh Homer..'
    Driving will get easier. You are right; it's more than just's about my life and where I go from here.
    Thanks John. Kind regards, Gary.

  22. Hi Joylene,
    Yes, it most certainly was a big day. It was a huge challenge. A challenge that I knew I must tackle and win. A most positive result.
    Thank you Joylene. Your determination is most inspirational.
    With respect, Gary

  23. Now that is showing some tough Canadian blood there Gary. Good show!
    tough challenge well done!

  24. Well done, Gary, you've been so brave.


    PS you look fab with the red hair.

  25. Hi Lorac,
    Thanks for that eh. Greatly appreciated. Heck, I even remembered which side of the road to drive on:-)
    I went to the party dressed as 'Johnny Canuck'. I got some puzzled looks. Not sure if it was the way I was dressed or I'm just puzzling lol
    Thanks Lorac and I'm loving the photos on your blog.
    Take care, Gary

  26. Hi Suzanne,
    Thank you. It did take some bravery. I think the biggest challenge was trying to understand what the locals were saying to me lol
    I'm a bit of a stunner in red.
    Hey Suzanne, you keep going with your writing endeavours. Your determination will see you through.
    Kind wishes, Gary x

  27. The courage and a positive outlook pushes you to being brave enough to face your fears and challenge yourself to overcome it. I admire you on that aspect because life is just like an obstacle race where there are lot of barriers along. Going through hardships made us a lot more dignified and strengthen our personalities.

  28. Hi Carl Drive,
    Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. Your thoughts and analogies are much appreciated.
    Challenging obstacles that can stifle us is more that worth the inevitable positive outcome that can be seen through a realistic and optimistic visualisation of a satisfying result.
    I used positive visualisation when I set back out on the road. It has been quite the character builder.
    Thank you.
    With respect, Gary


I do try to comment back to each commenter individually. However, I might have to shorten my replies or give a group thank you. That way, I can spend more time commenting on your blogs. Thank you and peace, my friend.