I’m writing this post to share my experience of an accident that happened last week that really shook things up. I’m not writing this for sympathy, to be a victim, or anything like that, but I’m writing it to be transparent, open and honest about my life.
Last week, I was walking down the street toward the subway station to head home after an invigorating boxing class. I had just remembered it was Thursday, so being full of endorphins and a post-boxing high, I took out my cell phone to send my friend a quick text about how excited I am to go to the Mother Mother concert with her tonight. The tickets were a generous birthday gift from my friend, and I’ve been looking forward to it for months. Not even a minute after I shoved my cell phone back into my pocket, an incredibly heavy mass came falling onto my head. I was stunned, I swore (a lot), and I was so confused as to what just happened. There was a throbbing and heavy feeling on my head and chunks of ice and debris all around me. I touched my head in the spot that felt the brunt of the mass and I quickly went from shock to panic, as I looked down at my hand all covered in blood.
I had no idea what to do in that moment other than look around, look at my phone, wonder who to call, where to go. I thought to myself that maybe I’m over exaggerating, it’s just a little scrape. Well, nope…there was a lot more blood, and yep, it was all mine. My breathing went from a normal pace, to rapid, to hyperventilating. As I looked down at my phone trying to find the Uber app to call a car, I realized I didn’t even know where the hell I was in that moment. In hindsight, yeah, I was downtown at an intersection I knew fairly well, but in the moment, I didn’t know where the nearest hospital was, if I needed a hospital, anything. Thankfully, I saw a woman on the street and I approached her and asked if she knew where the nearest hospital was. She was wonderfully calm, positive and reminded me to keep breathing. She spotted a police cruiser driving by and helped me wave the officer over. He quickly turned his car and pulled over, asking what happened. Knowing I was now in the hands of an emergency responder, I let the kind woman know how grateful I was for her helping me out and that she didn't have to stay. I really don’t know if the series of events would have been as smooth without her help.
The police officer gave me some gauze, told me to apply pressure, and had me sit in the back of his car. He got my story, called an ambulance, and assured me they would be on their way soon. He asked for my health card or identification, and with me being all confused, I just gave him my wallet and he helped me find it. I called my parents, called my boss, and sent various incoherent messages to my friends and loved ones. I would go through periods of panic, crying, hyperventilating, to soon enough, laughing. Because the only thing in that moment in time that was helping me stay calm and collected was honestly just pulling from the positives and making jokes with these officers. Once the paramedics came, I felt even more safe (because, let’s be real … I didn’t feel all that cool sitting in the back of a squad car. Man, those seats are so uncomfortable). These paramedics were incredible. From checking out my head, to walking me through what will happen next, to then cracking such amazingly offbeat jokes with me (my favourite), I was starting to pull from gratitude, without even thinking about it. I didn’t pass out, I didn’t fall unconscious, I was speaking okay, I didn’t throw up. There were so many possible warning signs of brain damage and trauma that didn’t happen to me, and I was starting to appreciate my body so much more in this moment. I was so damn grateful for that woman on the street, the police officers, the paramedics, my family, boyfriend, friends and coworkers, and soon enough, the doctors at the hospital.
The woman at registration was another person on my long list of people that I appreciated so much that day. She made me laugh way too hard. Her amazing personality and upbeat vibe just continued to make this experience better. The doctors were quick, yet thorough, and they were also a positive beam of light on my day. My mom came to be with me and also put a big comforting smile on my face. I walked out of the hospital that day with 3 staples, a bloody coat, a matted bloody hairstyle that I hope to never sport again, and gratitude. I walked out with so much freaking gratitude.
My experience could have been completely different if I was pulling from a different place that day. I made a conscious effort at times to see the positives in such a freak accident and I decided to make the experience better for myself. I could have been miserable, I could have been an asshole, and I could have played into the victim role a lot more - and hey, that would have been totally FINE because that would have been my experience to have in that moment. If anyone else were to act that way, I’d be like “You deserve to feel upset! Feel angry! Be a victim! You are a victim!” But honestly, I’m so much happier with the outcome of that day because of my mindset and the people I attracted into my life from being the way I was. I’m not saying this to be full of myself here, I’m saying this because it’s a huge realization for me and something I have never really been conscious of before. Instead of catastrophizing the event too much, I pulled from a place of gratitude instead and it completely shifted everything. This whole event could have been so much worse, but instead of imagining the worst case scenarios for myself and wondering all of the many "what ifs", I want to live in the here and now and continue to move forward with this lesson of how precious life is. I want to acknowledge and be thankful for all that I have. There's a quote by Epictetus that says, "It's not what happens to you, but how you react that matters." I totally resonate with this in this experience.
I’ve been practicing gratitude in my daily life for quite a while before this accident. I had been hearing from various guided meditation classes, co-workers, my therapist and books, that “gratitude is a muscle.” The more you practice gratitude, the stronger it becomes. I often struggled to wrap my head around that concept, but with this experience, I fully get it now. Although I consciously thought of how much I was grateful for that day in several moments as they happened, it was actually wild to me to look back on this experience because these grateful thoughts came up naturally without me having to actually think about it. The gratitude muscle memory was working hard that day and flexing a bunch for me. Through gratitude and appreciation, my experience completely shifted into a positive one because of all the people I had to be thankful for and also, for my body.
To try and give some background on why this is so important to me, I want to get a little more vulnerable with you. I have always had a negative relationship with my body growing up. I have been working on it a lot in recent years with my own healing process, which involved life-coaching sessions and my therapy journey with my incredible therapist. I grew up dancing from the age of 3 to the age of 16, and struggled with quite a few issues in that time. However, I experienced most of the negative feelings and hatred for my body in the years to follow after I quit dancing. If anyone could hear the inner dialogue in my head, you’d think I was the biggest bully ever. And I was - I’ve been the biggest bully to myself. I’ve said the worst things about my body and self and I haven’t appreciated myself at all. I’ve called myself fat on so many occasions, on so many days, that it would add up to more than half my life by now. I’ve said how ugly I am, how worthless I am, how I’m not capable of anything, how I’m useless, I’m not good at anything, no one likes me, I'm not enough… and the list goes on. If a friend, family member or loved one ever spoke about themselves this way, I would sit them down and give them a heartfelt inspirational talk of truth about how smart, amazing, strong and beautiful they are, and also, who gives a f**k what anyone else thinks … just like they have said to me on SO many occasions, I can’t even count. Yet here I was, not listening to my own motivational talks for most of my life and not listening to these important people I love dearly. My poor friends, family and loved ones who have had to listen to this horrible dialogue of mine. Who have constantly reassured me of how awesome I am and who could have easily given up on me. I’m so thankful for you all for being so supportive, always and forever. So here I am, writing it down (yet again), that I am choosing to keep on ditching the negative self-talk and to continue letting go of these old stories of mine. I have loved changing my ways on how I view myself. I’ve been working on it for many years, and I’m happy to finally paint a positive picture that keeps evolving.
My body moves, walks, stretches, runs, dances and jumps. I’m strong, kind, empathic, capable and beautiful. I’m sure I will go through moments of self-doubt, that’s just normal. But now, I won't feed into that nonsense and I’m going to bounce back from it better, faster and stronger by feeling the gratitude, love and abundance I have in my life. Just like the situation with the ice falling on my head and lacerating my scalp, I’m going to bounce back and keep appreciating myself more. I will continue to love myself and I will always feel how grateful I am for everyone in my life. It's amazing to think I can actually be my true, raw and solid self and that I won't let fears get in my way or control my feelings, thoughts or beliefs. I choose love instead. I choose to believe and know that I am enough. Although it has made me a bit sad to write about how horrible I have been to myself, I’m discovering myself at the same time through vulnerability and transparency. I'm giving that little girl that has lived on inside me the biggest hug, who so deserves it, and I'm telling her it's okay, you are enough. I used to be so much worse but I've worked very hard to overcome these false beliefs and negative thoughts and to improve my self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth. This is why I love my life coaching work and my passion for helping women who are experiencing the same issues.
So yes, this story went in a different direction than I had anticipated when I sat down to write it. But that’s life, right? This is how the story was supposed to go, and I hope you enjoyed reading it. In writing this, I’m keeping myself accountable and I’m sharing this experience to grow from it and to help others I plan on coaching.
Now, go tell yourself you love yourself. I sure as hell am going to :)