Crashing and Surviving

Crashing and Surviving

This isn't the glamorous Gossip Girl kind of accident.

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.

Cover Image Credit: Rawle C. Jackman

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Poetry On Odyssey: Some Days

A poem that reminds you that you're not alone.


Some days,

You dread the sound of your alarm. You snooze and snooze and snooze and snooze.

When you finally pull yourself out of bed, pressed time forces you to throw on stained sweats

you find yourself chugging a cup of coffee.

You sit on the couch and contemplate calling out of work

You caught the stomach bug,

Or perhaps the flu,

Maybe you broke your collar bone

Or need a new phone

The endless list of excuses repeats through your head as you sit on the couch, wishing you were still in bed.

It takes every ounce

Every breath

Every fiber of your being to pull yourself off the couch

And into the car

And into the building where you work

Some days,

This is just how it goes

You are not alone.

Some days,

You awake to the beautiful sound of birds

Chirping outside your window

The sun sneaks its way into your room

A smile creeps across your face as you realize you are awake to see a new day

You make a good breakfast

You read a few pages of your favorite book

You get your mind ready for the things it will accomplish today

Before you know it you've worked an entire day

Your job is done

As you pull into your driveway,

you take a few breaths

Feeling grateful for another meaningful day.

Some days,

This is how it goes

You are not alone.

Every day is a gamble,

Every day is a gift

The key to getting more good days

Is believing that everyday is one.

You are not alone, this is just how it goes.

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