The other day, I made a big deal on my social media about my finally getting my driver’s permit. Why did I make a big deal, you ask? Because this has been the monkey on my back for years.
I have accomplished a lot in my life thus far; I have two degrees, started my own creative business, I wrote a book, and as a Museum Educator, I work in some of the finest institutions in the city. But “real world” things, like driving, cooking, swimming, they elude me. I think it’s possible to be so preoccupied reaching for the stars that you forget the little things, these practical, simple things, that, if mastered, can ground you, add balance, joy, and much value to your life.
So the first thing I did, on the road to getting my driver’s permit, was to make a declaration. My birthday was coming up and my non-drivers license was about to expire. I refused to have my next ID be another non-drivers license, so in activist fashion, with a metaphorical protest sign, I declared that before my birthday, May 7, I was going to have a learners permit.
But this protest sign had to be made real, and perhaps instead of a protest, it was more of a prayer. So, I incarnated this prayer, “Lord, I want to drive”, in this small mixed-media work which I created last week and made sure it was in view. Every time I saw it, it put this prayer on the radar for me. I repeated it, “Lord, I want to drive” in the house, as I ran my errands in the neighborhood, as I rode on the train, and so one. This little mixed-media work affixed this prayer in my heart and mind so much that it caused me to take action. “But when could I take my butt to the DMV?” I asked. The week before my birthday was a crazy one and the only open day that I had was Wednesday, May 2. So I put everyone on notice! I told my husband, the kids, my sister… mama was going to get her learners permit on May 2.
So I started doing the online practice tests three days before, then two days before, the day of… I failed lots of times until I finally passed with a 70. By the time I got to the DMV on May 2, I did three tests in a row, all 70s. This was as good as it was going to get, and it was okay, this was not my masters thesis.
When I got to the DMV a wave of anxiety came over me, I was like “what the hay? This was just a written drivers test, not the road test.” I didn’t realize how ingrained my fear was. I was afraid of not passing, I was afraid of passing, getting my license, and then driving the kids off a cliff, everything came at me at once. Then I remembered my little collage, took a deep breath, and prayed. I instantly felt at peace. Long story short, I passed and I was on cloud nine as if it were the biggest life achievement of all time.
I said at the beginning that I sometimes miss the little things chasing “impractical” big dreams and sometimes art can be perceived as impractical. However it was this little mixed-media collage, this work of art, that got my butt to the DMV. Art lead me to the practical. So I guess there’s a balance to be had. Perhaps, in poo-pooing these “mundane” activities, I have been, unintentionally, fueling the separation between art and life, the two things that I so desperately work to bring together in people’s lives. It took an impending birthday, a desire to drive, and a mixed media collage for me to realize that it’s all “real world”.
Now I have to get my butt to a driving school.