165: Send Me On My Way
Disclaimer: I've written this post three times. For someone that is normally okay with the words, this post has been incredibly hard for me to sufficiently articulate myself, without sounding like a dick. But the post was important for me to put out there.
I've debated writing this post for fear of "indulging" myself, for fear of it looking like I was seeking "attention” or “making a fuss”, and for fear of just boring even myself. But, after having sought some talking therapy, and talking about how I tend to cathartically expel shit (ie baking, writing etc), she said: "well, why wouldn't you write about it?". Damn good point, love.
Not only that, I figured writing it down, putting it out there, that there may be people that have experienced this same thing / feelings post a traumatic event, and they may be able to throw some good words of advice my way.
That said, I didn’t want to just recount events. It felt macabre to do that - although really cathartic for me and that post is still sat in “drafts” - but also, I wasn’t necessarily sure what good it would do to share the details of what I could remember. Again, other than it being useful to just me, why would anyone want to read about how I was hit, or how the car looked, or what the ambulance journey was like.
Since that Wednesday, I have felt changed. There really is no other word for it. I do not feel like “me”. Life has gone on, and of course it will. And each morning, when I wake from what has inevitably been a disrupted night of nightmares and nausea, I can’t really believe everything looks the same.
I find it incredibly difficult to articulate how unusual I feel. As my physical wounds have healed, inside, I'm walking around with a little inner scream. I LOOK normal, again. Almost. I've a scar from my lip making my right side smile somewhat wonky. And a deep glass wound on my right forearm that is mostly just a bit gross but fine. But it's (weirdly) surprised me how one event can permeate the everyday makings of life. And how it has not only crushed my driving confidence but every other ounce of confidence that I felt was somewhat more secure since I had entered my thirties.
I feel like nothing under my feet is stable. Least of all me.
I get a flashback when I least expect it, and actually more often than not when I’m in what I now deem to be a “safe” space. So, not when I’m in a car for example (as a passenger only, I’ve yet to drive again) but when I’m walking my dog in the wide open fields and suddenly, BAM there’s that car hitting into my drivers side. My entire body tightens, my head swings to one side, and I outwardly go “oh god no, not again”. I feel like I can’t help replaying each tiny detail, trying so desperately to make sense of it, and realising just how bad it could have been. Much like the image at the opening of this post: my mind replays what the heart can't delete. And the heart holds all good memories too which I don't want to delete - but it's as if it's important that this sad event isn't deleted too.
I’ve been driving almost fifteen years, and this is my first serious crash, a crash that had the paramedics say “those side airbags basically saved your life”. Fifteen years. Shit. That's just shy of half of my life.
I’m questioning everything, and not just my driving skill, but like what I’m doing, the people I surround myself with, the way I AM.
I am changed. I know I am. But I really want for it to be for the better.
I know it's obvious, but somehow I didn't realise it: life is not guaranteed and it’s really fucking short.
Every cliche going runs through me now: hug those you love a little tighter, tell them you love them, and - this one is specifically for me - don’t let the fear rule you.
This blog posts song choice is credit to my daughter and her only requirement following the initial few days post crash: watching Matilda in my convalescence bed, which had this on the soundtrack. The lyric "I want to hold my little hand" felt apt. As I regained consciousness in the car, a young man sat beside me squeezing my palm telling me "everything is going to be okay". I squeezed his hand and cried big fat tears and he promised to stay with me, to look after me.
That of course, for those that follow my social media, was David.
Be good and bake well,