Point Proven

Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 by Alex R. Cronk-Young

It's no secret I don't have a ton of confidence in my ability to actually achieve things by myself, but I'm usually determined enough to successfully finish anything that I happen to start.

This weekend I set forth to tackle my first car repair (besides brakes) entirely on my own, because I didn't want to bother anyone else with my incessant need for fixing cars. Also partly to prove to some people that I'm perfectly capable as they'd been doubting it. Suddenly, my confidence in repairing a car on my own has skyrocketed.

In the last nine years that I've been delivering papers I've employed the help of my father-in-law quite a bit to save money when things on my car break. Mostly I've just watched and helped him when he needed it, which has given me some amount of knowledge but not really made me fluent. This time I wanted to set out to replace the control arms by myself, to prove that I could and to not waste his time.

The first one took me the whole day, though, I was quite lackadaisical about it. I was nervous to go about each of the steps right away and much more cautious about it since I didn't really know what I was doing. I also made a few mistakes that took awhile to correct. But by the time I had to hit the sack Saturday afternoon so that I could wake up at midnight for papers, I'd finished one side of the car by myself.

That was the confidence boost I needed, and I also knew what I was doing at that point. I started back up after papers on Sunday with renewed vigor. My father came out to the garage to say he was going to pick something up at the store and get breakfast at McDonalds. Before he even got back I'd gotten the old control arm off. I came inside to eat some breakfast and he asked how it was going. He looked amazed when I told him I'd already gotten the old one off. It's not often my father is impressed with something I do.

I headed back out and in another half an hour I'd put the new one in place. I tightened everything up properly and set to cleaning up all the tools. My mother popped her head out to see if I needed anything and was shocked that I'd already finished. Soon my father as well came out to marvel at my handiwork.

Look, I know this sounds like I'm gloating, but I'd grown tired of my father's way of talking down to my abilities. When my car needed it's transmission replaced, and he called upon my future brother-in-law to help fix my wife's car for us, he'd taken to frequently talking up how great he was at fixing cars. Honestly, it got pretty annoying. Yeah, yeah, Sean is brilliant and wonderful and I'm so lucky to have him helping me.

Well, maybe now my dad will think of me a little bit differently. I'm not completely inept, I just don't have the time to try to do it completely by myself when someone else can help me do it faster. It may seem weird to be so proud of successfully achieving that little goal I set for myself, but it feels pretty good anyway, so I'll just pat myself on the back a little bit and allow myself the good feelings for once. Much better than not having confidence in my own abilities.

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