A week before midterms, a week after failing my license exam for the second time, and a morning I spent looking pretty. It was a meaningless, snowy morning that turned into a blood-stained coat, a car's funeral, and my favorite tights in the trash.
It was the usual morning. I was ready early, trying to brush the snow off of the car window, my brother was running late. My brother and I ventured to the high school (which was about 10 minutes away from our home) at 7:20 a.m. As we reached the end of the road, an uphill climb, we slid through the intersection. I looked to my right but by then it was too late- the SUV rammed into my door. Taylor Swift's Out of the Woods screamed into my ears in slow motion as we spun across the intersection. I can remember yelling "My side!" repetitively and trying not to cry as I heard "Are you okay, Cameron?" I glanced over and noticed a familiar face. That familiar face was in the other car. I refused, in full panic mode, to exit the car because it required me to move over broken glass. I did anyway as my brother guided me out while I was searching for my phone.
Luckily enough, we were surrounded by houses and an old man let us use his phone to call our mom to let her know we had been in an accident. Three hours, two x-rays, an ambulance ride, and a text from the boy that had lovingly ignored me for so long, I had broken my shoulder and our car was toast.
The month following, I had lost the use of my right shoulder until it healed enough to be removed from my sling. I had post-traumatic stress consistently for three weeks, and sporadically up until this past summer. I relived my accident in class, cried myself to sleep, and felt a radiating pain that no longer existed. I was terrified in cars and I consistently pretended I had a brake on my side of the car when I got uncomfortable. I was anxious and if I didn't have to be in a car, I didn't go.
Me rocking my sling as well as bed head.
I lived in the school therapist's office as well as guidance. I relied on other people to uplift and breathe life back into the one that felt crushed. But through time, I recovered mentally and physically. I became a more careful driver, more alert, and my cautious nature restored. It's okay to go slow when you're nervous. It's okay if a car is further away, never turn or cross when you don't know if you'll make it. If someone you're with is driving erratically, find a close location and tell them you don't feel safe. Driving isn't a game and it isn't a life lesson. Never push yourself to do uncomfortable things when you're driving. If you're scared, don't do it.
The movies always glamorized car crashes or made the characters always brush them off. I thought it would be no big deal, just another accident. It wasn't an accident, it was the beginning of a life change.
Never feel guilty for feeling weak after an accident or mistake. Use your resources of people and doctors. Seek help. Don't give up. It's okay to be shaken but don't let it prevent you from living again.