I tasted the fear in my mouth- metallic, powdery angst.
The freeways curved before me and I watched the signs and swallowed hard, so far so good. I wasn’t dead or lost yet. I was scared to drive to my hotel in downtown Kansas City. I had looked up directions on Google Maps and painstakingly handwritten the directions. I looked around frantically as the street I was on ended, or I thought it did. It curved and I panicked and went the wrong way. Embarrassed, I turned around and went back. There were a lot more one-way streets but that was okay. I was okay because I had made it off the freeway. I detest, loath and hate the city freeways.
I had especially worried about the knot I had seen on Google maps . Six highways converged into one ball and then all emerged out- I didn’t want to be on the wrong one - going the wrong way because it’s harder to fix than you might think sometimes- kind of a cool metaphor for life there.
At the same time as I felt the fear I was proud of it- proud of myself for doing something I was scared of. I face fears every time I sit down to write, every time I lace up my shoes to run, and every time I start a new idea in class. What if I fail? Sometimes I cave in to those fears (mostly if it involves dancing in public) but I conquer them some of the time. But this fear, this saliva-producing, mind-numbing, sweat-inducing, "Oh God where do I go?" fear- That’s unusual, and I think good for people to experience on some level.
Now I need to get up and drive to a friend’s house in Kansas City, Kansas and guess what?
Yep, I’m scared- somewhere new- and I gotta get on that big highway again- eeek- sigh- let’s do this -
Kim Blevins is a teacher-consultant with the Greater Kansas City Writing Project.
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