The Accident, cont.

(A continuation of thought from The Accident, My Mindset, and This Channel )

I tend to place worry on blame and fold them over one another like a blanket of guilt.
This accident left me ashamed, shaken, and embarrassed.
I left that morning to an orientation for a dance company. The orientation went well, and as I was leaving I felt quite hungry and quite tired. I had, after all, driven for 12 hours straight the day before.
I left the orientation and decided to do a bit of exploring, and check out the locations of some jobs I had seen online. I drove to the north end of San Francisco and crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, feeling with me a sense of pride and wonder at the fact that I was clear across the country.
I breached onto the other end in Silicon Valley, where the hills rolled as high as the prices of services and goods. I cruised toward a studio that was seeking an additional teacher. I ended up passing the location without peeping the studio sign. I figured perhaps it was inside one of the outer buildings, and more exclusive in that manner. Oh well, I thought. It’s a bit out of the way up here, and the livelihood price is probably sky high.
I continued out across another bridge, heading back to Oakland. The job I had really been looking forward to, and hoping to obtain, was out in that area anyhow.
I pulled up to the entrance of an artsy warehouse and looped around in the parking lot. I enjoyed the outside view and felt that it looked like a pretty doable place to work. The area was slightly nicer than other parts of Oakland, and I had heard that nearby was a lake that people loved to live around.
I’ll go check out that lake, I thought. Maybe that’s where I would like to live.
I started feeling a swell in my chest of possibility and empowerment.
“I can actually do this,” I thought to myself.
Suddenly I heard a crash and saw a blur of white cover all but the top left corner of my vision.
I felt my body weightless suddenly, and my mind confused.
“What is going on?” I thought, as I felt my body suddenly numb and tighten in the same instance.
I heard metal and glass shattering and realized that I was spinning. There was a second of pure white silence that pierced my ears as I came to this realization. I saw the sky whirl past my front windshield, and then felt my body slam to the left against the door as I saw asphalt outside my driver’s side window.
It occurred to me that I could end up upside down on the pavement, stuck in my car.  I screamed, in a voice I had never heard come out of me before. It was as if someone had punched me in the chest right when I tried my best to project.
I might die. Fuck.
I watched as my sunglasses and several other small odds and ends floated up in my vision, making a small arch counterclockwise as I flipped. I raised my arms up in front of my face, attempting to shield myself should anything else larger or more dangerous fly into me.
Another rotation and I landed upright in the car, shocked that I was once again sitting still in my vehicle.

When I landed in the car, I felt the message to redirect myself elsewhere loud and clear. I answered the universe with a bitter, “Okay, I get it. But you didn’t have to almost fucking kill me about it.”

And in case you would consider that to be an example of me giving up- you have yet to get to know me.

It takes mountains and tragedies to convince me to quit. And even at that, I will usually shrug and continue onward anyhow. I have beaten my body and mind over and over for years in the grounded integrity of gritting my teeth and bearing it.

I have forced myself through unnecessary situations, just to prove that I can.

But this time was different. This time, I had gotten to the point of convincing myself that I was unstoppable. I had allowed ego to take the wheel. I had mentally spouted blasphemy toward fate, daring it to try and stop me. I had personally gloated within myself that nothing and no one could ever take my dreams from me.

And so I was humbled. I was put in my place. And I was forced to let my guard down.

I broke no bones nor tore any muscles, but my body had had it. Two weeks cross-country on the road had taken its toll to begin with, and a shock to my defensive system did nothing but weaken it further. I felt as if there was no energy left in me.

The person who I had been staying with was nearly a stranger, but treated me as family. When she visited the hospital, I was still in denial of the true crisis I was in. I had been triggered at intake when they stripped my clothes from my body in search of injuries. I had panicked, hyperventilating, until they sedated me into a state of tears and numbness.  I didn’t tell her this, but she told me that I needed to cry more, and talk less. She took photos of me at the prompting of my family, to show them that I was whole. At least, physically.

When she picked me up from the hospital (10 hours post-accident and post-tests,) she had made me a nest to rest in. And there I waited until my loved ones flew into Oakland, to shuttle me around the city in search of closure.

I couldn’t handle hugs, and my back felt as if it was strapped to a board behind me. I couldn’t find the pains but I knew they were there. I couldn’t turn my neck, and had hardly any stamina for walking for longer than 10 minutes. I flinched when startled, and cried when coddled.

I was left with the choice to stay and tough it out without any car or physical stamina, or to leave and heal elsewhere.

We unloaded my life from the trunk of my impounded car, and I found myself gradually accepting that the end of my trip was meant to end there.

I evacuated myself from the gentrified hustle of Oakland with slight relief that I would not be contributing to the rent crisis as an outsider, after all.

The months that followed proved no easier than the experience that started them.

Physical therapy made me feel like a weakling, and I was told that my neurosis of terror was sending my back into spasms. Told that my constant state of “fight or flight” was in total control of my muscles. This was not surprising to me, and nearly not even news…I have known for years that my traumas are tagging along in my flesh and bones.

But I had no choice but to try to heal, nearly against my own will. I tried making my amends with the Universe, and finding a place of spiritual acceptance for my ultimate path. I tried to accept that I was not to overwork my body, even though my primary mode of healing is through work. I was forced to remain still, and at peace.

Neither of which come naturally to me.

And after months of depression and high anxiety, I ultimately discovered in myself my primary emotion behind them- embarrassment, and guilt.

I felt embarrassed of the accident, as if I would have to consider the entire trip a failure for crashing at the finish line. I felt guilty of having challenged the heavens so harshly, as if I dared them to try and smite me. And I felt incredibly, uncontrollably, terrified.

The terror lead to angry outbursts, and I found myself sitting with all of the thoughts and emotions that I had hidden under overworking and productivity for years. I had nowhere to hide from myself. I couldn’t run away, dance away, or work away my issues any longer. I had to face them.

And so I began writing. Four pages a day.

And I began reassessing the balance of my life, daily.

And I became reaffirmed in the conviction to start chelsea tea.

And so here we find me, and here I hope to find you, as well.

I will never claim to be entirely well until it is nothing but the truth. And I will never claim to be anything less or more than what I am. I am a work in progress, and a breathing conflict between the emotional and the physical. I am a psych of fear and aggression, looking for reparations while clinging to resentment. But I am also an empathetic individual, that refuses to live through these changes without validating my progress. I am a compassionate creative, that hopes words can one day bring wisdom. And I am human, above all; living with these parts of past and present, trying to imagine a future.

May you be well, May you be happy, May you be free from suffering

3 thoughts on “The Accident, cont.

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