Before reading about the next stage of the identity crisis, I must deal with my stage 2 conflict about getting behind the wheel.
Erikson’s 2nd stage of identity crisis, “Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt”, rings true when I think about why I’m still taking the bus at 32 years of age…
When I was in middle school, I ran with my brother’s crew of car thieves. None of them have had the experience I had of losing control of my stolen vehicle while on my own cruising down an avenue to get to class.
Seeing as that car ran into an elderly woman in her own vehicle who walked away, only after having been treated with a concussion, from the hospital, I never forgot the image from the scene of her entering the ambulance in a neck brace on a stretcher.
And, since I have a conscience, I never forgave myself. Even after all the court, friendships broken over ratting each other out in connection to me, and the restitution I was ordered to pay, I know it all could have been much worse.
I could have faced worse consequences, and so could have my friends. I could have died. Any of us could have. But more importantly; she could have.
I almost murdered someone with my stolen car during my tender years at middle school. A school I hated anyway.
Forget that my father wasn’t around. Forget that my mother was unaware of our activity and couldn’t lift a finger to punish us out of whatever her timid reasons she found. Forget the time I drove my cousin to the hospital in high school years later because his gout was killing him.
Remember the 2nd stage of identity crisis. “Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt”.
It’s easy to see that my autonomy as a driver is trapped by my terrible shame at what I did that day to that poor innocent woman (and both cars, each totalled) and by my doubt as a driver.
I haven’t been behind the wheel in many years. But it is at last time to obtain my first driver’s license, drive my first vehicle legally obtained, and be cautious instead of afraid.
Proud, instead of worried.
Free, instead of limited by other people’s schedules and my own shame and doubt.
I must face my fear. I must get behind the wheel and be a grown up. The one I am now. Not the ones my idiot friends and I were trying to be.