Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Feeling defeated by my own body and UK driving standards

“Somewhere in the world there is a defeat for everyone. Some are destroyed by defeat, and some made small and mean by victory. Greatness lives in one who triumphs equally over defeat and victory.”
― John Steinbeck, The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights

Today I just feel defeated. I guess you need to feel that way sometimes... it's humbling. Yesterday in Kung Fu, I got punched in the face again. Last week the same thing happened. My nose bled. Clearly, I need to learn to move out of the way faster. I felt like all last night, I just kept getting my arms tangled. I felt like an uncoordinated person flapping my arms wildly. If you are a runner, imagine that you have been making progress. You are feeling great as you increase the miles, but one day, it's like your legs are mud. Like you are running for the first time even though you've been training for 8 months. You can't breathe well. You feel out of shape. The next day you run and feel the same way. Your legs are jello. It's like that. One day, I think I'm getting stronger and improving, but then WHAM.. suddenly I'm struggling like a fish out of water. Additionally, today I had my first driving lesson (I've been driving since I was 15), and I felt terrible about it. I hit a curb! Also, I stalled my car. Ugh! How embarrassing! Then, tonight at Kung Fu, I couldn't hold one of my stances. My legs started to shake, and I dropped to the floor. I felt so weak. I feel like I can't do anything right. Steve says that I should focus more on the fact that I'm still making an effort. I'm trying to do that, but I still feel... defeated.

Anyway, back to the driving lesson. He said I did many things well, but we have to fix some things. For example, when you are approaching a junction and want to turn left, the following must occur:
  1. Check your mirrors and make it obvious
  2. Signal
  3. Ease on the brake
  4. Clutch (I killed the car at this point because I'm used to pushing the clutch first and then the brake to avoid stalling)
  5. Stop the car in a curved position that shows your path is following the curb, not approaching the junction straight (I ran over a curb trying to over-correct for this once.. sighs)
  6. Pull out when safe while following the curb so that you don't swing out too far.
He showed me a diagram to help. It was sort of like the one below except that his was showing a car approaching a major road so that you have to stop and then pull onto the road.
That is so much to worry about while paying attention to the road and other drivers. When the instructor asked me how I felt about today, I told him that "this was probably my worst day of driving ever! I stalled the car AND hit a curb!" He reassured me that I was just over-thinking things and would get better as I became accustomed to the process so that it would be habit instead of a conscious effort.  He said that he thought I did good. My instructor said that most people find that their driving becomes worse as they are first learning new habits because their efforts to form those new habits actually become a distraction from driving. "You'll get better at it." He also said I did fine parallel parking, but that we could work on getting me a bit closer to the curb. I was surprised by that. I hate parallel parking. I've been practicing backing into a space whenever I can, but not parallel parking as much. I just watched this video and then practiced a few times. I'll probably mess it up completely on the test. I better practice more.

It's tough preparing for two major skill tests at the same time, especially when you feel like you aren't doing well. I've been going to Kung Fu 3-4 times a week and practicing at home because I have my first belt test in a couple of weeks. I'm also starting private lessons. On top of that, I'm taking 1-2 driving lessons a week. My brain is feeling an information overload. I'm feeling like laying around and sleeping most days because I'm just so tired. It's getting harder to get up and get other things done. Ever have weeks like that? 
I suppose to end on a positive note, I should be thankful that I am able to do all of this without having to worry about maintaining a full time job as well. So, thank you God for giving me the opportunity to learn and accomplish these new things without further pressure or injury.


  1. I feel your pain, sweet friend! Nothing made me feel as incompetent or drained as those driving lessons did. But it's true that you make a habit of the British way of doing things and you'll pass your test, and then you can go back to driving like an American!:)

  2. Glad to know that I'm not alone in those feelings! Thanks for the encouragement. :o)

  3. Hi Kristal! I just found your blog through the expat blog community site. We just moved to Aberdeen in August from Arkansas, so I am going through lots of the same things! Can I just say that I get hives every time I approach a roundabout??? YIKES!

  4. Hi Alison. Welcome to Aberdeen! Roundabouts get easier! You can take your time and go slow. Just don't stop in the middle of one. :o)

  5. You are super awesome, and don't you ever forget it.


I am happy to hear from you!