I was twelve years old in the backseat of my babysitter's silver XTerra in the summer, watching the tendons on her hand pulse as they draped over her steering wheel. I marveled at how they looked, casual and elegant and pretty. She drove prettily. In the backseat, I curved my hands to look like hers around an invisible wheel. I had tics- I would snap my neck back and blink hard and tap things once on each hand and then once with both. I didn't think I could ever be able to drive prettily with all those damn tics. I didn't know how I would be able to drive at the age of sixteen if I would be snapping my neck back every minute and rolling my eyes into the back of my skull so it hurt and squeezing my eyes shut. I would kill someone, I thought. I was scared of myself then. And it was a secret and I thought that I wouldn't tell the people at the DMV that I would snap my neck back and they would hand over a driver's license without suspicion and that made me feel guilty. I was twelve, worrying about a driver's license that I would or would not get at sixteen.
I don't know when the tics phased themselves out, but I didn't have them when I took my driving test and they didn't ask me questions about why I made my eyes hurt. But the tics crept back in a few weeks before my eighteenth birthday. Now I hate driving even more than I used to, because I don't text but I shut my eyes hard for two seconds and I shift my hands around to touch my turn signal.
I am twelve while being eighteen and I do not drive prettily.