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#TheVulnerabilityChallenge: The anxiety of parking a car (Day 7)

car parking

#TheVulnerabilityChallenge Day 7

Anxious behind the wheel

Women drivers parking

‘Women drivers’. I hate that stereotype. Probably because it hurts me a little bit. You’re talking about me! I’m at my most anxious when I’m behind the wheel these days. Normal driving, A to B, I can do first fine. Parking? Not so good. I still feel nervous despite being well practised at parallel parking now.

There was an incident not long after I had passed my driving test that freaked me out. When I was really socially anxious, I went to do a job for a friend of my mum. He wanted me to park in their little garage. He was watching me and I literally drove my car into the garage wall. I was so worked up about him watching me. Ever since that day I have been anxious about parking.

And then I’m hearing all the comments about women drivers: “Women can’t park”. “Oh look at that person parking across the road, it must be a woman driver”. I feel like, actually, no, I can’t do these things because I am a woman. I often don’t recognise all the times I do really well. I don’t expect to park well. ‘That’s not what women do’.

There are times when I still feel really nervous. I don’t like parking when I have an audience in the car, or out of the car. I like to have a good sense of where I’ll be parking before I go somewhere new. I don’t want to find myself in a tricky parking situation and then be holding people up or panicking with others watching me. I fear damaging someone else’s car as well as the judgement on my driving. In reality, it’s completely irrational to feel this anxious. Nevertheless, to deal with this anxiety, I’ve driven around in the tiniest cars I could find. Somehow, in my mind, I believe this makes it easier to park.

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