Was a time, I was afraid of many different things,

snakes and mice, being alone and driving in the rain.

Driving in the rain! You exclaim,

“What’s to be afraid of, driving in the rain?

It was the cars and traffic and the flooded streets,

I reply.  I was always afraid I would get stranded,

like so many motorists do, in a flooded intersection.

I wonder about that now.

There was always Triple A to bail me out (I’ve been a member

for over thirty years). Still, driving in the rain makes me apprehensive.

It’s not my driving that scares me, I say:

It’s always that other guy.

I used to be afraid of being alone, of living by myself,

and the first months following divorce were the most difficult,

even though I always had one of my two teenage sons

staying with me.

I had grown up with that “Gotta have a man in the house” mentality,

until my girlfriends pointed out that I always did everything, anyway.

What difference did it make whether or not a man was in my life?

For a long time I thought I would remarry;

Eventually, I realized I had no interest in being married again–

Marriage was too much of an albatross.

Being single means never having to ask someone’s permission.

Being single means being responsible for no one else but yourself,

Ah, but, you say, – you do have someone living with you.

Yes, I say, but I am not responsible for that person and I never

have to ask his permission to do anything.

I do think its a common courtesy to let him know where I am going,

sometimes, like taking off for Canada for two weeks.

What I think is, I have spent over sixty years becoming myself.

Am I there yet?

It’s hard to tell.

Don’t we constantly evolve as human beings?

Do we ever really overcome ourselves, our earliest fears

and anxieties?

I’m not afraid of driving in the rain anymore.

I am still afraid of snakes,

I am a work in progress.


Sandra Lee Smith

originally composed October 19, 2009; updated July 3, 2018

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