Sandra Tamez

Where would the world, as we know it, be without fuel? You name it: gasoline, petrol, fuel, diesel, gas. The energy generators, the world just couldn’t work without them, and neither do we.

In Latin America, there are people serving people everywhere 24/7, and you are never alone. So if you go to the grocery store, someone is going to pack your things and probably take them to your car, put them in the trunk and even close the door for you. If you need to refuel your vehicle, you just have to park next to the gas pump, and someone will come quickly to do the job, and if you are lucky, maybe the windshield will be washed and wiped and the tires’ pressure checked for you for a modest tip. You don’t have to worry about anything but to pay.

I will never forget the day, long ago, when I was a teenager starting to drive a car. As you know, I am Latina, and I’ve always been a person of initiatives – independent, fearless, self-sufficient, enthusiastic.

Well, the first time I stopped by the gas station and no one showed up, I decided to do the task by myself. I felt so confident approaching the gasoline pump, taking the nozzle and helping myself out to refuel the car’s tank.

I felt so grown up, so secure, even rewarded as a young woman practicing a “tough-man’s” task. You didn’t see that at all then. Any woman wouldn’t leave her car to do it so, proudly I did.

Suddenly, the man in charge appeared from nowhere approaching me in order to get the payment. By the time that I was done refueling my car’s tank, I put the nozzle back in it’s place before the man appeared, which erased the amount due before he saw it. I forgot to wait to pay before I erased the gauge. When the man realized there was no amount on the gauge anymore, he started yelling at me.

“Why did you erase it ma’am!”

He screamed again and again, and that was it – he created in me a big trauma about stepping out of my car while being at a gas station.

Fortunately, for the rest of my driver life down in my country of origin, there was always somebody ready to do the job for me. Not so when I moved to the United States.

It took me more than a year to dare myself to stop at a gas station by myself. It was so ridiculous. In the beginning, I waited for my husband to take my car and refill it. When he was done doing it and begged me to try again in order to overcome the trauma, I spent many months calling and asking him over and over again to explain the steps to follow in order to not make a mistake.  Then one day, I decided not to be afraid anymore. I was done being attached to a bad experience and to behave so dependent and afraid of doing something so silly.

What I am trying to say is that there will always be bad experiences and challenges, all along our way in life. It is on us to overcome them or to live a life full of traumas and fears. You decide if you use the gasoline to fuel your engine for growth and increase your ambitions in life or to get stuck drowning in a hurdle.


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