Sometimes I wonder if this is why I don’t believe in luck, and I work so diligently at everything I do. Ir also makes me wonder if this is why I never have any time to do things I say I want to. My reading list is just growing, my magazines are just piling up (I’m about 3 months behind reading The Economist). I buy a lot of food, in anticipation of cooking fabulous clean meals; I buy all these products and tools in the hopes my place will look as stylish and sparkling to be used for an Instagram photoshoot. I could honestly go on, but then I wouldn’t finish my article (like the 5 drafts here, 4 on medium and my article for Canadian Music Week on IndiiePulse Music).
See, I could barely stop.
But what is it that drives me to be this much of a hard worker, why do I want to make sure when I do something, it’s with all my heart? You might think that I’m just a good person, maybe it’s my work ethic from playing competitive sports (yet failing to achieve anything great). If you had any idea resembling that, you are kind of right. I was a very dedicated musician and athlete, but also I wanted to be a dedicated dancer, best friend, the guy friend, the boyfriend, I mean I wanted it all. So I worked hard at it, all of it, I was in peak physical shape (despite trying to be a gangster, therefore I was a smoker). Yet all of that isn’t why I am so dedicated. It was because of my car accident.
I try not to talk about this too much, for reasons like “I don’t want to brag” or “don’t want to be seen as looking for sympathy points”, but for reasons that will make sense in a little bit. I was driving, we hit black ice, hit a tree. I remember gaining consciousness for just enough time in the ambulance to scroll with my eyes and see blood, everywhere, then I was back out. I remember being wheeled around the hospital and seeing Robin and Jake who taught and got me started in breakdance (don’t laugh, I was good). I remember a wall with a waterfall, I remember a flash of eating lunch. I remembered being transferred to another hospital, Bloorview-Macmillian Children’s Rehabilitation. And the rest is another story, but do you know what it’s like to have a scattered memory? Not fun.
For the next 14 years, and to this day, there will always be something there to remind me. I will never forget, just how lucky I am to have made it. Yea, I am grateful, yes I know that I was in really bad shape, and sometimes I do look back and say to myself that “fuck, maybe I shouldn’t have made it“. Despite me knowing I worked hard, especially at physical activities, and music which was a huge help to my respiration I’d imagine, I can’t help but feel guilty. Guilty what has happened to my family, my “friends”, but most of all, I can’t help but feel guilty for those parents that come to me and say their brother or sister kid got into an accident as well, except their kid didn’t make it. I say to them how deeply sorry I am, inside I think about how I must be a constant reminder to them of their child, why did I get to live?
Realistically, I wasn’t speeding, I wasn’t drinking, I wasn’t on drugs, I just had McDonald’s. I now rationalize their child’s death, maybe he was drinking, speeding, doing drugs. Yet still, it’s a hard pill to swallow, I’m alive, that kid isn’t. Especially now in this day, we are always discussing “privilege” and “egotism”, it always makes me wonder why I deserved to live. Maybe because I didn’t give up, I refused to settle on “just slipping on by”. I would have people refer to me as “the miracle child”, the epitome of God’s will. This always left me to look in the mirror and just stare, what the fuck am I? This is why I stay away from religion, I am not some predetermined prophecy of any book. I am a firm believer that you are what you make yourself to become, with restraints, I am never going to play competitive box lacrosse again, even though I wanted to so bad.
For this reason, and this reason alone, I will never do public speaking. Human jealousy is a fucking horrible thing, and the worst part is more than half the people don’t know they act out of jealousy. What scares me is yes, jealous fucking crazy ass parents, brothers or sisters of lost loved ones, but even more so is the time I spend wondering why I survived and they didn’t. I can say “well I was a hard worker, and I didn’t give up” but realistically I could have died right on that spot. So yeah, I’ve been living an existential crisis ever since I got out of the hospital, about 14 years ago. I’ve been hounded about “lucky to be alive” and how “so and so has been in an accident, they don’t have such a good recovery as you. What did you do, can’t you help them?” or worse is when they say “s/he never walked, or talked, or spoke, ever again”.
“He’s alive, but he never opened his eyes”
“She has to use a wheelchair now, she won’t walk ever again”
I'm happy you made it though.