Sorry for the long gap since my last post! I haven’t written properly in a while and there are a few reasons why. It may take some time to talk about a couple of things and there are some I probably won’t talk about, but as I’m slowly but surely *touch wood* starting to feel better I could finally answer the constant pull to write and felt like writing about one of the reasons I’ve been in a slump.
I lost my documents!
These documents included my passport and international license and they dissolved from existence around a month ago. Ever since, exacerbated by other issues, I’ve been a stressy depressy mess- I’m talking total Gollum mode. Happy to report, I seem to be lethargically crawling out of my cave. That said I feel ready to talk about one of the biggest effects that losing my documents had, being unable to drive.
I’ll write more about losing the documents and what to do if it happens to you in a later post.
Driving has always been a big deal for me. It’s my go-to solution for any problem, allowing me the head-space to chill out and rationalise, keeping the spiralling stress and anxiety at bay. Living in the inaka, driving isn’t just a stress release but a necessity. I found this out the hard way, being surprised to find a lack of solutions and systems of support for someone in my position.
I really struggled with this experience but, being the stubborn ray of sunshine that I am, I always try to find the positives. I can definitely say that I’ve learned a lot from this.
Being unable to drive definitely taught me how much I rely on my own independence. Depending on others isn’t something that I’m comfortable doing and I found myself in a position where I had no choice but to be dependent. This was made worse by the fact that I felt like a burden and was made very aware of the inconvenience that I was causing to other people.
Everything became a chore; getting to work, buying food, going to the gym, making plans… even getting to a café was an ordeal. When even small things become mountains to overcome, it’s difficult to find motivation to do anything. To fight this, I tried to do things that I wouldn’t usually do when I had my car. With the extra time at home I got back into cooking, cleaning and watching movies.
Despite these new ventures my heart was still yearning for my car. As I mentioned at the start of this post, losing my documents wasn’t the only issue I was dealing with at this point, and I quickly realised that being unable to drive was having a severe influence on my mental state. To deal with the other stuff, my default response was to go out on a drive, listen to music and get to some place where I could chill. Not being able to do this crushed me, making me realise that my car is so much like a best friend to me. It’s a system of support that I rely on when I’m facing difficult times.
My obsession with space, as mentioned in my Beppu blog-post, allows me to see my car as a place to take solace in. It’s my own space, a metaphorical and physical bubble from the world. He’s seen me laugh, cry, shove onigiri (rice balls) into my face, check my mascara hasn’t smudged, change my clothes in the backseat, stakeout the tanukis by my house and countless other random acts.
My car has the music I like, smells I like and even though it isn’t a mess, it’s peppered with artefacts of my existence. My car is an extension of me, a functional externalisation of myself.
Sitting in the car is just like sitting in my own head, giving me perspective and mindset that I would otherwise find difficult; whether I’m on a night-drive listening to synthwave, spacing out on the backseats, driving in the sun with the windows down, sitting on the roof parked up a mountain.
My car gives me everything I need- distance, perspective, comfort, reassurance and support. My car is the shelter from the storm, singing CD-lullabies and comforting with its fabric-armed embrace, the place where so many big decisions were made. While I may not understand at all what goes on inside this mysterious mechanical friend, I’m eternally grateful to have him.