Almost Died Today (3 years ago)

by Sweets and Sweaters

While it’s hard to know what difference it would have made had I died three years ago, the fact remains I survived.

Survived what, you ask? A tow truck smashing into the rear of my mom’s car on the freeway. I remember my mom looking in her rear-view mirror saying, “What’s this guy d–” and before she finished her sentence, the car was flipping.

It was traumatic and life changing, both instantly and over-time. Instantly my family and I were going to the E.R. instead of my Aunts’ house in Big Bear, CA. My sister had spinal surgery, my grandma’s shoulder was broken, my mom was limping and I was convinced I had internal bleeding or a brain injury that hadn’t killed me yet, but would in the next few hours. (Not in a funny, hypochondriac way… I seriously was worried I was going to die.)

How can you wrap your head around something that makes no sense? What a random thing. Without reason or purpose.

So it seemed.

I feel like when the unexpected tragedy occurs, everyone expects there to be some magical outcome. Some profound lesson. Like– Because this terrible thing happened, I decided to this other thing and now I’m telling Oprah about it on Lifeclass.

But mine didn’t go like that. I remember wanting to find the meaning behind the accident within the week that it happened. I didn’t want to be in the experience. I just wanted to get to the Oprah part. But I also used it against myself and against my friends. I used it as a separation. I used my bad experience as a protection. I told my agents I needed some time off and was too shook up to audition. I told my friends I couldn’t hang out because I was too afraid to drive. I stopped my life for this thing. I think I was looking for a proper reason to stop auditioning in LA and participating in parties with friends. I didn’t like those things. So even though, acting in LA and my friendships would have likely broke down anyway– this accident came and provided me an opportunity to let them go sooner.

I blamed the accident for a long time, but really I should be rejoicing in it. It gave me the life I wanted. Now… this doesn’t make any fucking sense. It just shows us all how clearly insane I am. I had two agents and didn’t want them. I had auditions and didn’t want them. I had friends invite me to things I didn’t want to go. I had a path and I wanted off.

Instead, I wanted the suffering that came from the accident because somewhere in my subconscious, I knew it was more real than the state of naivete I lived in before. I wanted fear more than I wanted security. I wanted to leave Los Angeles and live in my grandpa’s basement. I wanted to go back to school and work jobs that don’t make me happy more than I wanted to spend every day for the rest of my life trying to please every casting director in Hollywood. I. Wanted. This. Struggle. I always wanted it. I still want it. I would rather live this complicated, often shitty life than the numb, single focused one I had pre-accident. I want this hot mess version of myself because it’s real. It’s unpredictable. Anything could happen. I could choose anything, be anything, do anything.

I want to know suffering because that’s how compassion is cultivated. I want to know struggle because that’s how strength is built. I want to know death because (you know what’s coming) that’s how we understand life. I want to want what I really want, not what I’m advertised to want. I want to question everything because that’s how I find the truth. Starting with the accident, which caused me question my sense of security, entitlement and naiveté.

I guess you can say that I almost died because of that accident. But I also almost died without it. I would have never gotten the experience of life I really wanted. Because I am a person that wants to know all of life. And now… I’m getting to know suffering.

I guess I did get that profound lesson, after all. Where’s Oprah?

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