Three years ago, I (finally) decided to get myself a car.
It was March 16, 2019—just two months before I told my partner we needed to part ways and four months before I’d never see him again after sending him off to move across the country.
I wore all black that day. I had on my favorite black jeans with a tasteful rip right above the knee, a black collared shirt with big brown buttons that lined down the center of my chest, and, of course, my beloved black and purple-laced Dr. Martens. I purposely tried to look “put together”—I felt I needed to prove I was worthy of owning a car.
I begged my partner to come with me to the dealership because I genuinely believed that having a man with me would make me look more serious and better fit to buy a car. Unfortunately, I’m not entirely wrong about believing that. Women are often not taken seriously—especially at places like a car dealership that is drowning in old, white men. But, at the time, I was naive and hadn’t fully recognized my independent power yet. I lacked confidence.
We left the dealership with a brand new set of keys, a much lighter wallet, and two massive smiles on each of our faces. I held the key in my hand with intense gratitude and anticipation for a life I had no idea was ahead of me. It felt like so much more than just a key to a car. It felt like a key to my independence, the key to discovering the confidence I lacked, and a key to figuring out who I was on my own. And it wasn’t the key to my partner’s car—it was the key to mine.
This car felt like the beginning of discovering myself, by myself.
Two months later, I gained the courage to tell my partner that after five years, it was time to drive down our own separate paths—alone. We were living together at the time, and our lease had another four months to go. We decided to make the best of our last four months together and simply enjoy the little time we had left. And we did.
Our time flew by, as it does. We packed up our sweet, little apartment together, physically separating all the things that were once ours—now his and now mine. The breaking of our relationship was tangible. His things were shoved into his car and my things were shoved into mine. We locked up the apartment one time last, we hugged each other one last time, and we let go—but little did I know, I’d have to let go of him 100 times more.
I watched him drive away, I climbed into the front seat of my new car, and I broke. I pulled down the mirror to block out the sun that was blinding my eyes and I wailed into my palms. I sobbed until I gave myself a migraine that pulsated in the backs of my eyes. Just me and my car and a whole new life ahead of me. A beginning and an end.
The following three years were beautiful and painful and easy and hard and weird and everything you can imagine. Things were constantly changing and falling apart, but my car was always with me. It carried me through it all. I’ve never been the type to obsess over cars or really care much about them (I’m still not), but my car always did feel like a little part of me—because it was. For the past three years, my car held every bit of me and who I was throughout all the weirdness, the chaos, the heartbreaks, the laughter, the love.
But, yesterday, I said goodbye. Another beginning. Another end. Another letting go.
My best friend picked me up, I slid into the passenger’s seat, and I cried. But this time, my palms were by my sides and I kept my head held high. I’m not sad that I don’t have a car anymore. In fact, I’m thrilled. This is what I wanted. But still, the ache in my heart is present because I’m letting go of so much more than just a car.
It feels like I’m letting go of another part of me I was holding on to. The part of me who still thinks about the smile on my partner’s face the day I got the car. The part of me who sobbed and whimpered and grieved the moment my partner’s car drove away from mine. The part of me who was just discovering how to truly live independently for the first time in her life.
But those parts of who I was no longer need to be held. The emotions they carry were only weighing me down, and so, I’ve chosen to release them. And by physically letting go of a thing I held on to for so long, I’ve energetically made the choice to let go of every part of me that my car carried.
And that’s why I’m sad. Because letting go hurts like hell—especially when we’re letting go of someone we loved. And I loved those parts of myself because they’ve brought me to where I am right now—writing this story. Those parts of me brought me my confidence. They brought me independence. They brought me self-love, self-respect, and strength.
But like a snake, I need to shed the skin of who I was to make room for all I am becoming.
The energy my car was holding was much heavier than I realized. And even though I feel sad, I also feel a whole lot lighter and a lot more free.
Here’s to a new chapter. Here’s to a new me.
(And here’s to biking way more, reducing my carbon footprint, helping out Mama Earth, and giving my wallet a break.)