The Beetle Battle - Choosing Empowerment

Hey Cyclebreakers, It’s your favorite No BS therapist. Welcome to the Blog. Let me tell you about my Beetle Battle of the ’80s.

I remember when I was about 16 or 17, my mother’s boo thang offered to sell me a Volkswagen beetle for $300. I don't know what year the model was, but it was definitely worn and pretty ugly. I remember taking a look at it, pretending to think about it, (because I dare not be appreciative and say NO immediately), and then declining the offer.

Let me give you some context. For most of my teenage years, my mother didn't have a car. When I was about 14 or 15 we didn't have a house phone, so she would gather up some change, and drive to a corner store to the payphone to make phone calls (Y'all remember payphones?). One day she drove to the pay phone, and for some reason felt comfortable enough to leave her keys in the car with the car running. Let me note that we lived in the hood. Not that leaving your keys in the car is a good move in any neighborhood, but definitely not a good idea in the hood. Well, my mother walked home from the corner store and told us that some kids had jumped in her ride and had stolen it. This meant we were without transportation. One of the great things about New Orleans is that the public transportation system is pretty efficient. You can definitely get around without a car. Being that our financial situation was not a great one, that is what we did from that point forward. This was working well for us, but my heart's desire was to have my own car.

Well, Mom was dating this guy who was a professional collision and autobody repairman with his own shop. One day, Momma says that her dude has a car that he would sell to me for $300. I was so excited. I was working and definitely could come up with the money. I asked what kind of car it was and she told me it was a Volkswagen Beetle. WHAT?!? I love those cars!! They are so cute and different. The engine is in the back and the trunk is in the front. YES!! We made arrangements for me to go to look at it.

We got to the shop and my enthusiasm quickly transformed into disappointment. I was not naïve enough to think that this car would be in great or even good condition, but I certainly did not like what I saw. Now understand that I am remembering this from my teenage eyes and it may not have been as bad as I am describing here, but this is what I remember. The car was not one solid color. Not like the hood is one color and the doors were different. More like I could see a bit of every color that car had ever been painted as it was worn in some places to the base of the car. There were dents, bumps, and bruises everywhere. They asked me if I wanted to look closer to check it out and I dare not even touch the poor thing as I thought it might fall apart if I did. I cannot speak about the inside because I did not care to look any further at it. I declined the offer and went home sad. For a few days, my Momma asked me if I were sure I didn’t want the car and I continued to state, in my saddened disappointment, that I did not want it.

When I see a Volkswagen Beetle today, I often think of that car. I think of the potential that it had. I think about the fact that I gave up on it just because of how it appeared to be on the outside. I never checked the interior. I never asked about the engine. I was standing next to an autobody repair man and I never inquired as to what it would take to get it looking good. (By the way, my uncle was also an autobody repair man). I never saw past the surface.

Isn’t that what we all do? Even though we are taught to “never judge a book by its cover”, we act as if this metaphor does not apply to all things. Why? Why do we do that? 

The way we view the world is based on how we view ourselves in it. If I would have seen the beauty within myself, I would have been able to see the beauty in that car. Don’t get me wrong, I have always known that I am pretty, but the world, starting with my mom, reminded me that I was not accepted because I was overweight, no matter what was on the inside. That was the value system I used to make the decision about that car. If the outside wasn’t acceptable, then there was no need to look at the inside.

What did I learn?

I learned that my Lil beetle needed me, just like I needed it. It needed to be cared for and nurtured. It needed an advocate. It needed to be seen beyond what the naked eye could see. It needed to be restored to what it had always been. It needed me to see it with the eyes of my mind and the excitement in my spirit that I did when I first heard that there was a Volkswagen Beetle for sale. That process would have and could have been restorative for me as well. It could have taught me to value what I am on the inside and to fully appreciate the outside.

My hope for you is that you seize every opportunity for growth. I do not regret my decision to decline that offer, as every decision has taught me something and led me to where I now stand. See, I still got the lesson that was intended for me. Take a look at how you interact with and view the world. Then look at the inside of you and explore why you interact with the world in the way that you do. If you are honest with yourself, you will be amazed at what you see. If it is not to your liking, let's talk about what needs to change and how to get there. No shame. No judgment. No BS. Just love!!

The Choice is Yours! Remember, With Wisdom Growth is Infinite!

The Beetle Battle

  • Shawnnell Batiste
  • April 30, 2024 4:53:29 AM
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