I recently witnessed a minor fender bender while I was waiting at a stoplight by my house. It happened close enough to my car that I could hear the tires screech and the crunch of metal. I take pride in the fact that I am a strong person and I don’t let my emotions easily break me but on this day I completely broke. I was immediately engulfed with flashbacks from June 11, of the chaos and everything spinning as my car flipped before everything went black. I don’t remember much from that day but those few seconds I do remember are enough to break me when they return. Once I got a green light I immediately pulled into a McDonald’s parking lot so I could calm down, except I didn’t calm down. I started crying like I never have before. It felt so real. Everything was completely raw, as if I had just had my wreck. After I stopped crying and composed myself, I drove to the lake. The same lake I was headed to on June 11, the day of my wreck. It’s funny but this is the one place where I truly feel at peace. It’s the place where I should’ve lost my life but for some reason it calms me.
Querencia is a place where a person draws their strength from, where one feels at home; where you are your most authentic self. I believe the lake is my querencia. Obviously God is where I draw my true strength from and when I am with Him in prayer that is when I truly feel at home. But for me the lake is where I go to pray and think about life. So the lake is now like my church. I go there to thank God for everything he has done for me but to also appreciate life, the life I should’ve lost. Even though my life is now different, I still have breath in my lungs and by a miracle I was able to get back my cognitive functions at a level the doctors said was impossible. But like many other times over the past 4 years God intervened and showed me He isn’t done with me yet. Hope is still rising for me.
Fear can keep us focused on our past but if we acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Today we are still alive and our bodies are working. This is something I acknowledge and appreciate everyday. It is easy to take things for granted when you have never experienced life without but I was given the gift of new life and new appreciation for this life. I almost lost everything. My life should’ve been taken from me and now I know what it is like to be without the simplest cognitive and bodily functions. We have to appreciate that today our eyes can still see the beautiful sky and our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones. He has commanded us to not be afraid and to not be discouraged, because He is always with us. Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live. I told myself from the beginning that the first chance I had to drive I was going to, I was going to get back on the horse and not let fear stop me. And the first time I had the chance to drive through the intersection, I should’ve lost my life in, I took it. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. I had God’s protection and I knew He wasn’t done with me, so I had to start defeating the demons of fear that stood in my way. So I did, one by one. Stop letting fear rule your life. Go out and seize it.
It’s said that God can change your life in a moment well I fully believe that he can because he has profoundly changed mine. It’s all about His timing. I feel as if now it’s too late for me to do the majority of things I had planned or pictured for my life. I’ve had many disappointments in the things that I thought were Gods plan or the reason why the wreck happened but I’ve learned to embrace the uncertainty of life. I’ve realized we all have chapters in our lives that we don’t read out loud or we only share those chapters with the people we truly love and let down our walls for. In the end though some of the best chapters don’t get a title until much later.
Every morning when I wake up I make the choice to continue. I make the choice to find the silver lining in every situation. Happiness is a choice. We have the right to pursue happiness but it is not a gift given to you. It’s incredibly hard to wake up every morning and have to be reminded of what has happened and then to make the choice to continue and not have the story stop here. The good news is it has gotten a bit easier thanks to my short term & long term memory loss. See silver lining. It gets a bit easier every day because some things I slowly forget or I forget the real impact they once had on me. Yes this may sound twisted but unfortunately that’s my truth. This is how I have survived.
Learning to yield:
There are certain things I will fortunately never forget. Some things, and some people, are written in my soul and on my heart with permanent ink. I’m grateful for this because it has helped me slowly evolve into the person I believe I’m supposed to be. It’s been a slow evolution but I think I am on the right path. I’ve done so much thinking and reading during this time trying to find the answers but I’ve come up blank. I’m giving everything up to God and trusting in Him because clearly I don’t know the future anymore. The future I had planned didn’t turn out and now it’s time for me to repaint the picture in my mind. Every time someone hears my story and what has happened on my path of recovery they usually make a comment about it not being fair. Well the thing is life is not fair. If you expect the world to be fair with you because you are fair then you have some rough days ahead of you. Trust me I know. The only person who is going to give you security and the life you want is YOU. You must have confidence in yourself but more importantly confidence in God and his plan for your life. He created you in His image so therefore you should be confident in Him and yourself. He made no mistakes when creating you. That’s probably one of my biggest breakthroughs during the past 4 years. I can’t control anything. As hard as I may try its out of my hands. Everyday is full of choices make the right ones. When the roots are deep there is no reason to fear the wind.
Once you are stripped down to nothing what’s really at your core? Who are you? What do you stand for? I don’t know the answers. Do you know the answers for yourself? These are some of the questions I have asked myself during my time of recovery. I’ve just been trying to get a grasp on life again. Trying to reset myself so I can understand. Can you imagine your life with out certain people? Without past memories? Certain material things? Or without a healthy body? It’s difficult to imagine. I was for sure the loss of certain people who I loved more than myself or with the loss of my old “normal” I wouldn’t survive. But I have survived. There is a place in all of us that is used as a reserve of strength. We can tap into this reserve when we have reached our edge and we are looking over the cliff debating whether or not it’s time to step into the darkness.
When we question ourselves we must identify where we are headed and who or what we are holding on to. Do you prefer to be in solitude so you can firmly plant your roots and grow into the person you wish to become or do you want to completely bare your soul to someone and risk your heart on love so you can have a companion on your journey through life? Someone to be there and support you as you grow into the person you are meant to be. I choose the latter. I want to have someone who I can enjoy life with. I believe it takes courage to risk your heart on love but there is a major reward that comes with it. You have someone to share life with and someone who strengthens you. What defines our strength? Is it giving second chances to people & learning to forgive or is it overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles that stand in your way? I have yet to find the answer to this question because I have learned a person’s mental and physical strength is much more complicated than to be just defined by one situation.
Unfortunately I think pride and selfishness get muddled in together with strength. But that’s simply not true. Selfishness and pride coincide with cowardliness. Cowards are weak. Don’t let your weaknesses consume you and who you really are. Cowards are scared to love and that is a true loss for them because if there is one thing I have learned during these past four years it is you have to have love to survive. Love can conquer anything. It strengthens you and helps you become the person you want to be. Love is the safety net we all need. I have had to learn how to remain sensitive yet still have a tough exterior. I must keep my softness and remain sensitive because that’s truly who I am at my core and I don’t want that part of me to be changed. I refuse to let my hardships make me bitter, instead I want to create beauty with these ashes by helping others. But I have to wear my tough exterior everyday so I can survive and protect myself from anymore harm. I feel as if I am standing on the edge and there isn’t much more I can take so I must protect myself. I wear my scars the best I can. I try to hide my fear with a smile and a brave face.
If or when you come to the point of not knowing if you can continue to move forward know you can continue. It will be hard. It will be the hardest thing you will ever do but you can do it. I have struggled with it but I have learned to release the control I thought I had and I have given my struggles to God. Do not be afraid or dismayed at this great multitude; for this battle is not yours, but God’s. You can overcome any obstacle, loss or heartbreak as long as you refuse to give up. Embrace your struggles, embrace being on the edge and not knowing which way you are going to go from here. Out on the edge you can see the true beauty of life and see all the wonders that you can not see from the center. Embrace this new perspective. Put your armor on every morning so you can continue to fight because your story does not end here. Your time is now.
I’m not going to lie to you my journey towards recovery has been hard. There is no reason for me to sugarcoat anything because that would be an injustice to you and myself. Truth of the matter is you are going to have to fight like hell. There are going to be days where giving up will be the much easier choice, BUT the good news is it’s totally worth the struggle. We have to fight the toughest battles for the best days of our lives. This I can 100% vouch for. You just have to do it. You must force yourself to get up every morning and keep going. You just have to put one foot in front of the other and refuse to let the pain get to you. On this journey you will cry till your eyes are swollen and curse like a sailor. But in the end you have made it through another day and you are one step closer to your goal.
Until you are broken you don’t know what you are made of. I had to learn this the hard way. I now have to protect myself and I’m less trusting than I used to be but that’s what happens when you’ve fought your way back from Hell. Sometimes I just switch off. Something just happens and my mind goes black. It starts off peaceful but then turns to panic because I’m not sure when the light will come back on. Every time this happens I sink deeper and deeper into the darkness. I think it’s because I’m tired. Tired of holding it together and holding back the tears. I’m tired of feeling nothing but at the same time feeling everything. I feel trapped. I’m locked behind a glass door and I see everything that’s happening on the outside but I can’t participate. I’m screaming and banging “Help! I’m still in here!” as I watch people pass by but they never notice me. It’s maddening being trapped inside your own mind. With each year that has passed I’m slowly breaking free but it’s been a horrible struggle.
Change your perspective:
There are days I want to go back and rewrite the past. Change the structure of events that have happened but there is a reason why everything happens. This is a hard concept to grasp but I fully believe in it. There has to be a reason why I’m still here. There must be a greater purpose for my life and it’s now up to me to find it. I have had to change my way of thinking and learn to find the silver lining in every situation. I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become and right now I am deciding just that. Do I continue to follow the plan I had made for myself before my world came crashing down? Or do I look for something else? Right now I don’t know the answer. But I do know I am a survivor and even when the moment seems like it’s going to break me it won’t. I’m stubborn as a mule and I know what I want. I know better things are coming I just have to continue to put on my brave face even when I’m terrified on the inside because the only way I’m going to achieve my purpose is by putting one foot in front of the other. One baby step at a time.
The one who falls or stumbles is much stronger than the one who never fell. Because the one who fell gets to find out the true strength of his character and gets the chance to improve himself and see life from a new perspective. We were born to be real NOT perfect. Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t good enough or that you need to step up to the plate and stop being “weird.” Not everyone is going to understand your journey and that is perfectly ok they don’t have to. This is for you. Let me say that again this is for YOU. Do it for yourself because that is the only way you will actually succeed. You can’t do it for anyone else. The mountains on your back that have been slowly weighing you down were meant to be climbed. Appreciate these hardships for they are molding you into a better person. I know mine have definitely molded me into a better person. Even when you don’t understand just trust and know you were meant for this. You have every tool you need to conquer whatever it is you are battling. Try to enjoy the process as it is making you into the person you were born to become. Remember your best days are just around the corner.
Feeling unsure and lost is a part of the journey or so they tell me. I tend to always feel lost and unsure of where I’m going or what I’m doing. I value most the things I have lost. Because what I’ve lost will always be perfect in my mind. The lost will remain the dreams of what could have been. They will never rust or break. In my head they will remain perfect. But nothing and no one is perfect. We are all made up of flaws and imperfections. You can’t give up because your situation isn’t ideal. Sometimes I still wonder why things happened the way they did but I have to stay silent because no one would understand the chaos in my head. If I did bring life to the chaos in my mind by speaking I would reopen the scars on my heart and those scars would unleash pain I simply can not handle again.
I can’t even keep track of the thoughts buzzing around in my mind..all the why’s & how’s? My heart is tired. I’m tired of hurting. I’m tired of feeling the hole in my chest. I want to go somewhere and scream as loud as I can. I want to pull my heart out and throw it. I want to feel nothing. I’m tired of fighting. Don’t judge me for feeling this way. You don’t know what it takes for me to get out of bed and put a smile on my face. I feel like I’m standing on the edge of giving up and seeing how much more I can take. My brain has no heart and my heart has no brain. I sometimes speak in a heartless way and do things as if I’m thoughtless because to me my world is upside down. I don’t know what’s up or down anymore. I feel as if I live in another dimension. I just want to understand why. Such a simple question but one that is so hard to find the answer to. Why? Seriously why? It’s hard to go on when you can’t understand the why. I don’t cry because I’m weak. I cry because I have been strong for too long.
Keeping it simple:
Life’s most challenging times come right before the best days of your life. I have learned this lesson to be true. That’s why you have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and hold on. Trust me you can do it. Just keep it simple. Don’t overthink it or you will get overwhelmed. Take it day by day, hour by hour. That is how I survived the past four years. I feel as though I have been made new after the wreck. I have been given new eyes. I literally had all memories, life skills & life knowledge erased. I have had to relearn every aspect of life. Few saw my descent and saw me at my lowest in the hospital and on my long journey through rehab and therapy. But now comes the best part you get to see me rise. I have found myself. I have fire in my eyes and I am without fear. I have already died. I have experienced my worst fears and I have had my dreams crushed. What’s left to be scared of? I have within me everything I need to continue. I don’t need anyone’s acceptance or approval. I have learned to be my own best friend.
There are two types of pain, one that hurts you and one that changes you. I have dealt with both. I am forever changed in the best possible way. I have shed my past skin and I’m now ready to move forward. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself. What I’ve been through doesn’t define me and although the it has tried to destroy me it has come up short. I’m still here. I’ve chosen to stay and fight the darkness, sadness, and to fight the endless questions in my mind of all that’s missing. There is still time for things to turn around. There is still time for surprises. I made the decision to stay and fight because no one can play my part. Life is worth living and I want to see tomorrow. You have to fight. God has a purpose for your pain and a reason for your struggle. I know He will give me beauty for ashes. Just remember the greater your storm the brighter your rainbow. Keep on fighting to get out of the dark. Hope is rising and hope is the only thing stronger than fear. I know I will get my fire back. It’s not over until God says it’s over. And it’s not over yet.