Yes, you read the title right. If you’ve ever had your heart broken (or at least think you have) then you’re already equipped with a second to best experience of precisely the excruciating, agonising and not so slightly embarrassing process of failing your driving test. However, for the benefit of the doubt of those of you who perhaps have been fortunate thus far to experience a smooth, crease free relationship, let me give you a little insight into the emotional roller-coaster you can expect to embark on in these two given situations. (And yes, I did fail.)
“I’m breaking up with you.” “Things just aren’t working out.” “I’m just not ready for a girlfriend” We’ve heard it all before, be it in reality or on some really bad American teen sitcom, but hearing my driving examiner repeat the not oh-so unfamiliar words, reminded me what it was like to accidentally open up that old wound and smother it with a handful of salt. It was something in the way he started with “I’m afraid you just haven’t quite made it this time”, that I cannot help but recall a very badly rehearsed breakup line. It was like I was going through all the cringeworthy motions of a break up, where the heart ‘breaker’ tells the breakee the pre-prescribed lines, avoiding the actual heart of the matter (no pun intended).
It comes as no surprise that the sufferer generally has an overwhelming urge to cry. Even if you’ve seen it coming and you’ve told yourself that you’re not going to cry, you can feel your eye ducts mounding with the overwhelming pressure of tears and you know that it can only go two ways from here; either you repress it or let loose the water works. I, fortunately managed to save whatever shreds of dignity I had left, and after a couple seconds of unconscious contemplation in regards to whether to let lose the tears or not, I progressed to the second post-breakup stage: mourning over the lost future aspirations. You’ve been dreaming of this moment for a long time. It’s what you’ve been working for all this time- the reason for going on all those dates and trying out different driving schools, to find that special one. You might have even progressed as far as to conjure up bigger aspirations in your long term marriage to a Ferrari 458, whilst in the meanwhile desiring something more mellow and humble, perhaps a honeymoon on some white-sandy, deep blue Fiat 500c, and who knows, you might even have wanted to start a little mini cooper family with a traditional white picket fence. As these feeling of forfeiture and loss commingle in your mind, reality begins to settle in and you become angrier and bitter. You become defensive and pretend that ‘it was no big deal’, that you didn’t really want this relationship to go far anyway; that it was all just a little bit of ‘fun’, which only cost you a merge £62. Possibly you wish to return to your beloved straight away, but deep down you know some time apart for reflection and learning will serve you better in the long run.
Now’s the time that you seek advise and comfort from your friends, parents, siblings- just anyone who can sympathise with your situation and reassure you that you’re not the only one to have gone through this pain. Most people do not like to admit that they’ve been dumped or cheated on, unless they know that you yourself are in the same situation. It’s almost as if to say, yes, now I can admit it because we’re equals (the subtly being here, that yes, you’re not any better than I am) There seems to be something prideful in failing your driving test which almost makes you feel like you’ve been cheated on. Why is that, I wonder? The simple answer when I asked a friend, why didn’t you tell me that you didn’t pass first time round?: because you never asked. It’s like missing out that crucial bit of information that you haven’t been 100% faithful, when telling your best friend that your boyfriend has cheated on you. It probably says something about me that I had to wait until I was sure that I’d passed my test the second time round before I uploaded this blogpost. It seems in such a touchy subject of rejection, that we don’t like to admit to ourselves, more than the fact that we don’t like to admit to others our ‘inadequateness’, or perhaps I ought to say what we perceive as our deficiency. It’s important to remember however that from every salt and pepper experience we learn something new about ourselves.
A friend once suggested to me that we never really get over rejection, and perhaps she’s right, but most of the time rejection just means that other possibilities are opened up that we might have never considered otherwise. I believe timing has a lot to do with experiences, and sometimes we’re only ready the second time round. Or so I tell myself.