I didn't think this would be the first blog entry of my revamped website. Wanting to make this website more of a photo gallery and an outlet for my passion for writing, I thought my first entry would be about my first solo travel experience because I wanted to tell my travel stories and discoveries here. My first blog entry ended up being my biggest self-reflection of late.
One of the photo galleries I have on this website is entitled "Life" and the content for that gallery was the first write-up I wrote. I was also the most excited about that write-up because I love life. I love my life. I felt like I had found my philosophy and the way to a good life, to a happy life. I was so eager to share my so-called wisdom and theory because it took me long enough to be this wise. *wink*
I have always been a softie. I was a push-over. I had abandonment issues. I was insecure. I was too kind. I tried to please everyone. I had low self-esteem. I needed validation to feel good enough. I was neither a Honger nor a Canadian as I didn't identify with either. I tried alcohol and smoking - I did not inhale or it would make me faint and die - because the boy I liked did those things. I started listening to rock music because he liked it. I wore hoodies because he rocked them and looked oh so irresistible. After university, I went to Japan and worked for two years. Two glorious years where I lived on my own and had my own car. Freedom had never tasted sweeter. I always knew I was independent but being in Japan was where I saw my independent self for the first time. Independent but still insecure. Still a push-over. Still had abandonment issues. Still had low self-esteem. A few years after Japan, I met someone in Vancouver and entered a relationship. A bad and toxic relationship that was killing me slowly. I was screamed at, cursed at, threatened, insulted, interrogated, beaten. I was the best thing in the world when he was good and I was the stupidest lying bitch when he was not. I was scorned and shamed one minute, apologized to and was begged for forgiveness the next. My mind was fucked and my feelings did not matter. My psyche was trampled and my last ounce of self-esteem crushed. I lasted four years in this slow death but the rebirth was what I needed. I fell but I got up. Falling is part of life but getting back up is vital to living. The worst four years in my life made me realize I was stronger than I ever thought I was. Although I did not, could not, fight back physically, I regained my spirit, trained my mind, and strengthened my perseverance. I survived this ordeal and passed the challenge. The biggest obstacle in my life was ultimately my biggest blessing for it was what was necessary for me to grow, to be a better, bigger, stronger person.
With each crack someone left in my heart and each passing obstacle, I learnt more about life, and I learnt even more about myself. I am who I am now because of my past. I am now strong, positive, confident and self-sufficient. I am well aware that I am what I choose, who I think and how I behave and interact with others. I am responsible for my own happiness for I cannot control what is external of me but I can and must take responsibility for what happens inside of me. When you know you are accountable for who you are and how you feel, you stop blaming the external world for what is unattainable. When you sail along the flow of life, when you understand things and people happen for a reason, when you acknowledge that you are greater than any obstacle in life, you have unlocked the key to a better, happier, more meaningful life. This has been my philosophy of life. Up until two weeks ago. My philosophy and my certainty on how to live a fulfilled life was put to question by a five second event that happened. I was in a car accident.
I had a green. It had been green for a while. I was driving my sister's Jeep, going straight. As I approached the intersection, I saw that from my right, a car was coming really fast, unreasonably fast. What the hell was she doing going that fast toward a light that had been red for so long? Before I would even attempt to make sense of that, I slammed on the brakes with all my might and in my little head whispering 'no no no no no no no' in a sheer panic because for fuck's sake, this is my sister's favourite vehicle in the whole entire fucking world and they don't make them like this one anymore. But it was too late. This idiotic driver - I don't like to judge but what the hell are you doing running a red at such high speed?? - ended up directly in front of me, causing me to ram her right in the driver's door. Even though I hit her, she was going so fast that instead of my car pushing her car sideway after it was T-boned, her car dragged mine with her and my car made a left turn and travelled a little more before both our vehicles stopped. After feeling the shock for a few seconds, I consciously glanced at my lights and saw that it was still green, yet I was in a complete and utter state of confusion, and regret. What happened. What have I done. Oh and guilt. Oh yes, guilt. I was cognizant of the fact that I had done nothing wrong but I had guilt running through my veins because ohmyfrickinglord, what have I done to my sister's car? I was one block away from home. Could this be real? Please, please, please let the car be ok. I got out of the car and, with my heart sinking, saw that, ugh, the car was not going to be ok.
The rest was a typical post-accident story with two fire trucks, one ambulance, one police car and a whole lot of people standing at each corner watching it all unfold. They were residents living nearby coming out to see what happened because apparently the collision was that loud. I was surprisingly calm for the rest of the night - although later that night I would realize that I tried dialing 999, the emergency number in Hong Kong, and not 911, the emergency number in Canada. It never occurred to me at the time that I dialed the wrong number and I kept on wondering why my phone could not call the emergency services. That night, I dealt with the police questioning, taking personal belongings out of the car, going to the hospital to get checked out. Everything seemed to be back to normal but I kept thinking back to the incident. What if. What if I was faster than I was? She would have T-boned me in the back. What if I was slower than I was? Then she would have sideswiped me in the front. With the Jeep being higher up, it could have flipped being T-boned by a fast moving car. What if I was never there? What if I took a different route? What if I didn't go out that evening? What if. What if there was a pedestrian crossing? What if she wasn't that irresponsible? So many what ifs with no answer. So many what ifs with such clear, vivid replays of what happened and what could have happened, my mind began to go to places it hadn't gone in a while. It started to downward spiral into that dark place it was so used to being in years ago. Drowning in sadness and being consumed by helplessness felt foreign yet familiar. My life philosophy of being positive, looking on the bright side, trusting that things will be ok, and that everything happens for a reason, no longer seemed all that convincing or feasible. The theory and practice that I so firmly believed in and have preached when consoling friends in need of a boost of positivity and confidence was the very thing I could not do. This philosophy even seemed patronizing and almost comical.
Fortunately with the help of some amazing, supportive and compassionate people in my life, I was able to slowly spiral back up. With physio starting and some time passing, I am able to really look back on this small episode in my life to try to find the meaning, the lesson, the reason for it. I have always been a careful driver, a good driver but perhaps I need to be even more aware of my surroundings and do not go on auto-pilot ever while behind the wheel. Do not take health - physical or mental - for granted. Not being able to workout now or for a while is honestly driving me bonkers. Really do live what you preach. Surround yourself with good and compassionate people. Life is precious and so are the people around you. Do not fear to tell someone you love them, or call someone out when they do something inappropriate or disrespectful, or are being a jerk, in a non-judgmental and compassionate way of course. Be true to yourself and allow the same for others. Set healthy boundaries that foster respectful relationships. Really do live each day to its fullest because you cannot predict what will happen the next day, the next hour, or the next second. I believe this little incident in my life forced me to rethink and reflect on what I wrote in the "Life" gallery three weeks ago. I wrote that when I was riding high on life. But would it resonate with someone going through a rough patch? Or would it sound trite and complacent? I certainly would not want to sound patronizing, pretentious or hypocritical. I need to make sure what I say makes sense, is sincere, relatable and attainable. The past weeks gave me an opportunity I hadn't had for a while to truly live what I claim, with a mind set at its lowest in energy and strength but requires the most nourishment and training. My poor sister's car is a goner and I'm still slowly recovering, both physically and emotionally, but I know how lucky I was to be able to literally walk away from what could have been a horrifying scene. And I know I will get over yet another hurdle in life and when I do, I will be that much more capable to jump over the next one.