Sitting outside a restaurant on a warm breezy July evening. Tired but triumphant over our all day venture out to sunny but desolate Rockaway Beach in Queens. Feeling the alluring promise of a night out but also drawn to a blissfully chill night at home, continuing the chatter, music & company.
It all happened so suddenly. Queasiness, a headache, exhaustion catching up, impatience because we’ve waited for our bill for what seems like an hour. Suddenly, they kick the music up to an aggressive pounding bass, and my head follows. Spins, nausea, all rush on and flood my body.
I stand up to walk it all off and before I know it, my body and my mind are separated. Through the fog & vertigo my brain knows that I should not continue to walking, that I’m going into the middle of a street, that I am alone, But my legs don’t listen. They continue moving forward, on jelly, in crooked lines until I fall face forward onto the asphalt.
The past two months has been no cakewalk. A ambulance ride to Bellevue followed by a night at the crazy ER of the downtown public NYC hospital. They stitch up my chin in the hallway while a drunk & delirious kid argues with a cop all night next to me. Morphine, blood, countless packets of gauze & ice. In surgery they reset the 3 fractures in my jaw, but are unable to do anything about the 6 chipped/cracked teeth. 6 weeks of my mouth wired shut, 2 weeks of antibiotics & uneasy, codeine-induced sleep. Countless hours of emotional tension… financial woes… tears.
No brain damage – everything is (will be eventually) fixable. A loving boyfriend who stuck by my side during those crazy first 48 hours and took care of me. Sisters & parents who could travel out to take care of me, make me soups, listening patiently to my grunts. A job, company & manager who are so understanding and flexible with my situation. Time to read, paint, watch Game of Thrones.
And next steps.
Sure, this resulted in an unexpected move from New York (more on that later, I am still sort of devastated). It’s forced me to begin a new chapter, in life, location, work, everything. And maybe that’s a good thing. 5 years without big life shifts can be stagnant.
I HAVE to stay focused on the positives, HAVE to look ahead and trust that the uncertainty around the next few months will settle, trust that it is leading me to more opportunities. It will lead me to new experiences -tangible ones, sure, but also emotional experiences – empathy, tolerance for pain, freedom to let go of preconceived plans & timelines.
It will be okay.