Last week I had to take the local paratransit. Because I get medical assistance, I am qualified to ride the bus and because I had an appointment that was overlapping a commitment Scott had to attend to, I had to take the bus.
I have to admit I was terrified. I didn’t know what to expect and there wasn’t much I could do about it. I just kind of had to grin and bear it and hope it wouldn’t be as bad as I thought it was going to be. Unlike my trip to the synagogue on Rosh HaShanah, I didn’t have the chance to prep with my therapist Kellye prior to my bus ride…this was a cold turkey bus ride.
The good thing about the bus is that the driver, Jack, is a really nice guy who makes you feel really comfortable right from the start. He’s happy and talkative and seems to understand if you’re not so much. He called about 30 minutes before he came just to tell me that he was on his way and what time I should be outside….cool.
I sat outside and waited.
At exactly 11:15 when he said he’d be there…the bus rolled around the corner and I got on. Little did I know it was the “party” bus! There was one person on when I was picked up and she was chatting away with Jack which was fine with me. Then we dropped her off and picked up three more people who were regulars apparently and they just laughed and chattered away.
I felt a little conspicuous sitting in the front seat and definitely out of place. My face was warm and the bus was hot. I felt like I was going to throw up the entire ride but I made it.
We got to the road where we’d have to turn left to get to our destination….I was consumed by my panic and nerves and I jumped up and told Jack to turn…and he was all like, “I KNOW dear, I come here all the time, don’t worry!” and then laughed at me.
PUBLIC HUMILIATION as the rest of the party bus laughed along.
Inside I knew they weren’t laughing at me…well, maybe they were. And if not, when I got off the bus and lost my balance and almost fell down, well, you get the point.
But, the real point is that I did it. And it was a HUGE step for me. Do I want to do it again? Actually I do. I need to do it again to make it not so weird and not so strange. So I can maybe be a quiet part of the party and feel like I belong more and not feel so much like I felt – a fifth wheel on an already unbalanced bus!
Still, after I got my balance back and walked into my appointment I knew I had taken a major step for me. It may seem really small to most people and even for me, given my past life – the chick who left it all behind and moved to Israel and made a life for herself and her son despite everything for two years and would do it again in a heartbeat (her heart tells her) – it seems a little trivial, but I know given where I am at mentally now, it was one of the biggest steps I could take right now.
I don’t know when or if there will be any more big steps, I just know there was this one and I am very proud of myself for making it.