Date: 2018 August 21
Irony comes in many different shapes and sizes. Many things that we value today were as a result of sacrifice, hence no pain no gain. I find it interesting how good things can be bad, and bad things can be good. In my life I have experienced this in a number of different ways. At the time you never really know where it’s coming from. The story I’m about to tell you has been the most significant example in my life.
It was July 30th, 2011, life was good. I was working back in uniform, training for a triathlon, and feeling stronger and healthier than ever. My after work project (APOK) was moving along too. I had completed the first five chapters in eight months. I can’t recall if I took the time to write this particular afternoon, but I was happy with the way things were progressing.
As I stepped out of my house, wearing nothing but a backpack and pair of shorts, I was greeted by a sunny sky and warm air elevating my skin temperature to 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). I secured sunglasses and a walkman to my head under a helmet and straddled my triathlon bike preparing for the long ride ahead. It was 4:30 p.m., when my wheels started turning, squeezing in some training before hitting the streets to work nightshift.
Riding down a hill following traffic, approaching an intersection, I saw cars in the opposite lane travelling up the hill. Passing the point of no return, the last thing I remember is a split second cringe before me and a car collided. The next thing I know, I’m face down on the ground, unable to breath, move and experiencing more pain than I could bear. Fighting to breathe, tears rolled down my face, as thoughts raced through my head. Having been in numerous accidents and mishaps through the years, physical pain wasn’t foreign to me, but this was different, I knew something was wrong.
Under the circumstances, clarity of thought wasn’t as important to me as the feelings of being completely vulnerable were overwhelmingly present. People nearby came to my aid. Lacking the ability to look around, their voices were the only thing reassuring me I wasn’t alone. A couple tried to flip me over, but the pain was too much for me to bear. Instead they helped me call my family. Emergency personnel secured me to a backboard and began loading me into an ambulance when my family arrived distraught. I tried to comfort them but my words were spoken without belief.
Nothing could have prepared me for the hours, days, weeks, months and years that followed leaving the hospital. The recovery process involved trial after trial. It beat me down and when I thought I couldn’t be beaten down any further, I found a new low.
Unknown to me at the time, this accident was exactly what I needed. I needed to be brought lower than I’ve ever been, in order to make the changes in my life to bring me to a place I’ve only dreamed about.
Unfortunately the only way to obtain such a precious gift was to travel the road manipulated by powerful enemies named, fear, self doubt, pain, frustration and anger. This was a fight that I couldn’t win solely by physical strength, eventually I tired. I had to learn to be patient, to be thankful, and most of all I had to believe that I could do it. This was by no means an overnight process. I had many dark days and it took me years to learn through trial and error what works best for me. I changed routines, workouts, diets both physical and mental.
The one constant through the process was APOK. This story gave me hope when things were at its bleakest. Although dark in content, it was my light at the end of a dark tunnel. Because of what it did for me, I felt an obligation to see the process through. And only because of the accident was I able to finish it when I did. In short, I’m grateful for my accident, and I’m grateful for what I’ve been through. This situation has reinforced a belief that I’ve had for a long time. Life gives you what you can handle.
We can empathize and sympathize with people experiencing tough situations, but we can’t fully understand the Demons they’re facing in the quiet, lonely moments after you leave.
Learning to live with the demons, is something I still work on every day. Some days are easier than others. Sometimes, the smallest victory will be the only ray of light in a dark day. I had to learn how to capitalize on each success. Essentially it comes down to building good habits, and being truly honest with yourself on what is best for you. It may not be what you want, but it’s what you need.
Deep down you have to build that belief. The belief that you can overcome it, you may not be able to change the situation, but you can change the way you look at it.
In order to create the transformation within myself I began with music. I created a playlist of anthems, anthems that sung words of hope and encouragement. While music was my catalyst, you must find what works for you. Maybe it’s a book, a movie, a saying. Whatever it is, find it, and use it.
You’ll be thankful that you did. Till next time.