The project car I’ve been working on has had a broken fuel gauge for as long as I’ve owned the car. When I’m driving, it bounces all over the place like a highly caffeinated two-year-old.
I can still drive the car because the “your-running-on-fumes-little-orange-light” still works and tells me when I need to get to a gas station fast.
I’ve take the instrument cluster out 3 times trying to fix the problem, all to no avail.
Until last week. That’s when I decided to replace the fuel level sending unit. That’s the thing in the gas tank that talks to the fuel gauge telling it exactly how much fuel is in the car.
Because the new part is $120 bucks, and because I’m pretty cheap, I found a used one on Craigslist for just $20 dollars.
Pull the back seat out… Unscrew three screws… Pull out busted part… Put in new part… Plug it back in… And presto! I have a working fuel gauge again.
Or so I thought.
Yes, the new sender unit prevents the needle from bouncing all over the place, but it does not accurately tell me how much gas is in the car. The needle hits empty when the car still has half a tank I gas.
Okay. No problem still. At least the idiot light still works.
But something is different.
Driving around with the needle bouncing around make me FEEL like I have gas in the car, even though I really have no accurate way of knowing. But driving around with the needle firmly planted on empty freaks me out.
I can’t seem to get myself to relax. I KNOW there’s gas in the car, but the tool that I’ve grown to trust in every other car—the gas gauge—is screaming at me to pull over and get gas.
I can’t even drive the car until the light comes on. I can’t make it. I can’t trust it.
When our early warning system is shouting that something is wrong, it distracts everything else in our lives.
Trauma does the same thing. Trauma highjacks your feelings and shouts all day long that something is wrong. And try as you might, you just can’t seem to relax. You just can’t seem to ignore the feelings.
The “deal” I got on a used part wasn’t so much. I’m going to have to spend the cash and deal with the problem the right way by getting a correctly functioning part. But once that part is replaced, I’ll be able to relax again while driving.
Investing in resetting your feelings is also time, energy, and money well spent. It may not always be fun, but it beats living in fear the rest of your life.