My first car was a Honda CVCC that started smoking like a dragon almost the minute we got it home. I paid $900 for it, but then, I was in high school, it was 1985, and you know what they say -- you get what you paid for. The car leaked when it rained (drilled a hole in the floor of the car and parked on a decline to fix that), only had four gears (I learned to drive a stick shift on the way home from buying the car), and on top of that, it was orange. I remember driving with my stepfather to buy that car and telling him I didn't care what color it was as long as it wasn't orange.
I immediately splurged on vanity plates ("Rabbit1" -- long story, but apparently my nose twitches when I laugh) but I couldn't afford a stereo. The car CAME with a "stereo", but it had a bad habit of falling the heck OUT of the dashboard. Hit the brakes too hard, tape deck flew into the back seat. I even pulled the choke one morning (do you even know what a choke IS in a car any more?) and the entire thing came out of the dash, wires and all. I wasn't a strong girl. It was just a crap car.
But you know why I loved it? Freedom.
I never really had any place to go other than work and school and home. But many nights, I'd get in the car and just DRIVE. I started investing in batteries and carried an old-school boom box in the passenger seat and I'd take off.
|The Bay Bridge. Don't worry, we were stopped when I shot this photo.|
I still jump in and take off, although I now have a stereo that doesn't fall into my lap. I have a love affair with music (it evokes memories, and I like to write music videos in my mind), but for some reason, I rarely play it in the house. I think I like playing it LOUD, being enveloped in the sound, the rush of air from the sun roof, the idea of MOVING. Anywhere, just not here, if you know what I mean. I also love to sing, really belt out the words that speak to me, but I can't carry a tune with two hands and bucket.
I LOVE my current car -- a 2010 VW Bug. Love, love, puffy heart love. I'm still searching for just the right vintage one I can afford, because I want to paint it an obnoxiously amazing magenta. But for now, I settled for doing this:
|Awesome pink decals by TonyaBug on Etsy.|
I'm also prone to making sudden snap decisions and am a fan of the spontaneous. On the drive, I took a right turn at "not ready to go home yet" and a left turn into the tattoo parlor where I got my latest tattoo. No, I didn't get any new ink, although I was sorely (SORELY) tempted. No, this time, I had my ears pierced. Now I have two holes in each ear, and eventually, I would like to have one ear look a bit like this or this. My new piercings are shaped like horse shoes (good luck charms!) but once they're healed, I'll be getting something a little different, more delicate, like thin gauge hoops or the tiniest of diamonds.
Not much to see, really, but it was an act of, I guess, defiant bravery -- as was taking this photo. I don't look in mirrors any more than I have to. I don't know the first thing about makeup. I look exhausted all the time. Yet I keep doing things like dying my hair different colors and now piercing ears -- things designed to cause the eye to look right at part of me I really don't like. A friend has recently been trying to pop some sense into my head, and my therapist reminds me I have no idea what people think when they look at anything... but still.
So this rambling road trip of a blog post really all comes together in the end. While I'm driving down the road, music blaring, I feel different. I imagine myself as fierce and confident woman, a performer on a stage, and I find that deep inside this body and behind this face lies who I really am -- I AM that strong, fearless, self-assured girl who dyes her hair pink, pierces things, and gets tattoos. I look different. Situations are different. But do we ever really lose who we are, who we let come out when no one's looking, who dreams audaciously and embraces life?
I hope not.