She loved driving, it gave her a sense of freedom. She didn’t feel the weight of responsibilities or expectations. She felt powerful, not dependent on anything. It was liberating. She drove to escape her problems. She drove to prove to herself that she was better than what people thought. She was happiest when she was driving. Nothing holding her back, endless possibilities, endless potential. She was a bird. Uncaged she flew, carefree. She flew, truly alive. She was taken to a world of her own. Where no one judged her. Where nothing was expected, nothing granted. She was as powerful or as weak as she was. She found herself when she was driving.
Then one day it happneed. She still doesn’t know how it had happened or even what had happened. She never considered that it could’ve been her fault. She was confident about her skills. It must have been the other person’s fault. She had lost her grandparents and her father, she was the only survivor. She had survived, it wasn’t her fault but there was nothing she could have done. She took it all stoically. Her family supported her through it all. Her mother, her brothers, even the grumpy older generation. They knew she drove well. They knew that it couldn’t have been her fault.
Society didn’t think so. They couldn’t believe that it could’ve been the guy’s fault. He couldn’t have been showing off. She must have blocked his way. They blamed her. They blamed her for her driving. They blamed her for being insensitive. They blamed her for anything and everything. She held on. Then one day her brothers offered to drive. Her brothers still supported her, everyone in the family did. She knew they were with her but seeing them bend to societies’ will, it started. She had held on through it all, the accident, seeing her father die in her arms, all the murmurs and whispers, all the blame. She had been strong through it all. When her family gave in, it started. She could feel herself losing. She didn’t feel powerful anymore. She had been holding on because of her family’s support. Without their love she would’ve given up long ago. Now she started feeling that somewhere deep down they believed what the society told them. They still loved her but now she felt alone. Then she started asking questions.
Everyone was blaming her, why wasn’t she? It couldn’t be that she was the only one right and everyone else was wrong. It couldn’t be that so many people were wrong. After all, if so many people could be wrong, then why did democracies exist? Was she such a bad person that she would blame someone else for her mistakes? She might have been mistaken. It must have been her fault. She couldn’t have been that good a driver if she ended up making such a huge mistake. She no longer felt that freedom when driving. It wasn’t liberating anymore. Expectations and responsibilities made sure she wasn’t comfortable when driving. Driving had become the problem. Just being in the car was asphyxiating, reminding her of her mistake. Society had another set of clipped wings.
She couldn’t drive. Not since she started questioning herself. Not since she stopped being herself and became what the society told her to be. Her family tried to get her back. They repeatedly told her it wasn’t her fault. Tried to get her driving again, so that they could see her happy again. But that small idea had grown into a monster. She had believed the collective intelligence without knowing that it was mob stupidity. She had bent to its will and lost herself.
No one blames you they said. That never matters, not when you blame yourself came the silent reply.