Driving home from a relaxing girls night out on a Sunday night at the Arclight, I asked myself, “What are some promises I can make to myself for this upcoming week?” One of the possibilities was to be less angry at drivers I share the road with…
Thinking some more of some other possible promises for the upcoming week, I hopped on the freeway and signaled to get into the left lane. Two seconds after I got into that left lane, the car that I had gotten in front of much in advance had not slowed down for me and continued their speed of about 100 miles per hour, so I had little choice but to swerve out of their way and back into the right lane. However, I immediately started to swerve uncontrollably. My ’98 Jeep Grand Cherokee made a couple flips, landed on the hood and slid off the freeway and onto some dirt, bushes and weeds. The loudness of the music I had been listening to was put to a halt and replaced by all the violence of shattered glass and the disturbingly loud crash between my hood and concrete. I held tightly onto the steering wheel the entire time as I watched — no, not my life flash before my eyes — but the lights from other cars whirl out of my focus and my windshield shatter and every other body part of my vehicle cave in towards me, and all I could think was, “Just go with it…” and finally everything stopped. I’m hanging upside down from my seatbelt and all I’m surrounded by is a muddled mixture of sheets of metal, glass, asphalt and weeds.
I thank God for my short height and the deficiency of an airbag in that car, for I was able to unbuckle my seat belt, flip my body over, crawl on my knees in an upside world on the hood of my car, and reach for the back door to unlock and hop right out of the vehicle…
Completely unscathed and surrounded by witnesses. They were all absolutely stunned. I was stunned! I still am. It still feels like a dream. One of the witnesses confessed he was reluctant to stop and check on me in fear that he’d see a dead body. At first I couldn’t help but feel like a bit of a bad ass to have walked out of that accident without a scratch, until two women held out their arms to me and that’s when the trauma hit and I cried in their arms for a good few seconds. Every time I try to cry now, it feels constrained and out of frustration.
Anyway. Here are some pictures. I can’t deny that I feel pretty damned proud of myself. Having gone through that was proof to myself that my body is strong and it is so alive and any banal self-image issue I ever had shouldn’t even last a second in the light of the true beauty and strength of this body… And that when I’m actually faced with death (my god, I still can’t believe I was faced with death!), I’m surprisingly fearless.
I’m no Christian or Catholic, but everyone at the scene including my mom made sure I knew that I have some serious guardian angel watching over me. Though it’s not my lingo, I knew what they meant. But as a friend pointed out, I suppose if I sported a rosary dangling from a rear view mirror, I wouldn’t have gotten into that accident in the first place!
Just kidding. Or am I? Jesus!– I mean!… “Hmm…”
I have to confess something. What got me into that accident was, unconsciously, my impatience that had become so intrinsic in my every-day life, especially my driving. A few nights before that accident, my mom had shared a quote with me that taught, “there is action in waiting.” I’m constantly trying to rush into things. I mean, constantly. It’s a horrible habit and addiction that is dangerously underestimated. By force of habit, second-nature, almost a knee-jerk reaction — I unconsciously felt the need to rush into that left lane that, by only a hair, cost me my life. Granted, the driver was seemingly far behind me and going 100 miles per hour and did not slow down when they caught up to me and even the witnesses said they had to swerve out of his way, as well. But still. I take responsibility.
I’ve learned so much more from this near-death experience and I could go on about the entire journey. It is undoubtedly an entirely unique experience that has shocked, numbed, traumatized and taught me on so many different levels. It’s been three nights since the accident, and I still don’t know how to talk about what it’s done to me. Just tonight have I been able to articulate for myself only some things that I know I learned.
An important message that I could not stress enough to anyone and everyone reading this: To rush is to rob the beauty and magic from Life, and possibly your mortality itself. Life that is right in front of you, right here and right now.
But please don’t get me wrong — I have nothing against death, which is why I was able to calmly tell myself to just “go with it.”
Ok. I’ll let you look at the pictures now. Thank you for reading…
R.I.P. my dear Sandy. (that was the name I gave my ’98 Jeep Grand Cherokee that was practically given to me from a friend when I was in need of a car. For just over a year, she transported me to work, auditions and shoots and most importantly kept me safe.)