I had a good cry today. The day had finally come for me to pick up my German drivers license. We applied about three weeks ago and lucky for me, the reciprocity agreement with Texas allowed me to bypass the test which seems to be pretty hard. All I had to do was apply and then now to go pick it up, but there was one catch. In Germany (and apparently internationally) you aren’t allowed to carry more than one drivers license, so the only way I was able to take the German one home with me was if I surrendered my Texas license.
When my husband got his license in Texas they didn’t require him to surrender his German license. At this office in Germany they said that this was a mistake. Honestly I believe that Texas DMV just doesn’t care about it. The license doesn’t mean anything to them, its the record that goes along with it.
At first, in the office, I got frustrated. The German license doesn’t have address or donor information on it so I argued that this was my identification card in the State of Texas. They told me I still had a passport.
The next approach I took was to tell them they could cut the corner of it to prove that it was no longer valid, as I have seen in Texas many times. This was also not acceptable to them.
They then told me they would be sending my license back to Texas and I could pick it up there, which infuriated me. I asked them to tell me WHERE they would be sending it and no one could tell me. The even referenced my home address on the license and I just got more worked up. My husband finally said they aren’t the ones sending it. Someone from a central handling office would be sending it using the guidelines set by the State of Texas. I laughed and said “Texas doesn’t care! They will probably mail it to that address as if it was lost!”
After many different arguments, I asked my husband what he wanted me to do and he said to take the new German one and leave the Texas one. So with tears streaming down my face I told him to get it for me and walked out of the room.
I couldn’t actually understand why I was so upset at the moment. I felt like a woman without a country. Yes I know that Texas isn’t a country, but in my heart it is. I felt heaving coming in my chest and just wanted to be alone when I started crying hard.
My Texas license is only valid until 2025 when I would have to renew it. The German license is good for life apparently, so it does have that going for it. There was something though, that I just couldn’t reconcile with.
I have made it clear that I was born and raised in Texas and it feels like part of who I am at my core. For some reason not having my Texas drivers license felt like a cut to the core of who I am. I have had it in my wallet since I was 16.
When I looked at the license though, it dawned on my that it just felt like giving up a piece of myself. My dad taught me to drive. He taught me to use my knees to steer. He made me believe in the importance of being an organ donor, so I take pride of that heart on the front of my card. My middle name, that I hated as a young girl, was the one given to me by my dad in honor of his grandmother and I am proud of it in a way I never was as a kid.
I have since calmed down, looked at the entire thing with a little distant perspective and found that it’s really the sentimental aspect that is plaguing me the most. I feel like I can’t call myself a “card carrying Native Texan” anymore, not that I really ever phrased it that way… but I will be when I return to Texas again. Until then I almost feel guilty wearing all my Texas shirts… but I can’t walk around naked and since that’s all I really own, I guess I will make it work!