I got into an accident yesterday. And its only occurring to me today to honour that. To actually acknowledge that I went through something yesterday. To not brush it off as I was doing. To not endeavor to act as if it didn’t happen.
But I was afraid. Of going through the motions again. I didn’t want to dissect what happened. I made light of it. I trivialized it. Because the truth was a little too harsh for my system to handle. I made it seem like it was nothing. While in reality, it was something. Enough to shock me for almost 24hrs. Enough to warrant me to want to compartmentalize it as soon as possible, as if it didn’t happen, even when I’ve been unlearning how to not do that.
A part of me was also blaming myself. Not the part that went through the accident. The part that knew if I told someone who knows me what happened, they would be inclined to think that I brought it upon myself.
I kept on wondering what I could have done differently. Could I have avoided it? But deep inside I knew the answer was no. Regardless of how I looked at it.
And I didn’t like that. That it wasn’t in my control. That I couldn’t have avoided. That I can’t be blamed for it. That no one can. It just happened. There is nothing I could have done about it.
And I was really reluctant to call it an accident. Because the first time you hear that word, the Ethiopian plane comes to mind. Or a vehicle one. Mine wasn’t either of the 2.
It was a bicycle one.
In 2 years.
Yesterday was the day I was supposed to get over the trauma of my first accident that left me with 2 broken teeth( okay 1 broken and 1 totally gone) . I had hoped that all that time between 2017 and now would have been enough to heal any trauma I carried over from that fall.
10 minutes into it, I could feel my fear of speeding rising up. The first time I fell I was speeding. But unlike now, that time I purposely chose to brake and fall, than go ahead and be hit by a car.
Anyway, I slightly encouraged myself that this terrain was different. This one looked flat. Chances of an accident on a flat ground are really minimal. So I rode on. I speeded, I slowed down, I stopped and took selfies, ate a fruit etc.
And decided to continue with my ride. In front of me was a small hill, which I took at slowly preparing myself for the descent. For a few minutes, I descended slowly while braking moderately. Till I couldn’t move slowly anymore. Apparently, after that slow steeped descent, were a few corners with a really steep terrain waiting for me. Like really steep. I knew if I braked I was done for. So I went along hoping that the sharpness of the descent would reduce.
I went and went. Till I couldn’t see the trees I was flying past anymore. Everything became blurred. I was going too fast to see the corners anymore. I was barely making it around some.
That’s when I started getting scared. Not even for myself. For other joggers or people who visit this place to take walks. Because at the speed I was going, I would totally fly with anyone I encountered on the streets.
I started wobbling around. Every corner i’m now taking opens up to a steeper descent. My mind is trying to desperately come up with a way out. I have all these thoughts of information that hadn’t registered when I saw it. Its when I remember a direction sign that stated that this path leads to the waterfalls. Which means i’m in for more descent because a river can only be found where its lowest in an ecosystem. And i’m barely making it at this point.
All I remember before I fell, was swiftly missing hitting a tree in a sudden corner I made. My mind was running at a thousand thoughts per minute. One being that I narrowly missed having my skull broken had I hit that tree.
I guess the bicycle also got tired of rushing through at speeds it wasn’t made for. And gave up. And I knew instantly from my previous accident what usually happens. The rider is usually thrown ahead. And the bicycle a few steps behind.
And as my body flew through the air, I only had one hope. That I not only land safely, but also not thoroughly injured. Paralysis ran through my mind. As well as having my face disfigured. As well as starting to bleed profusely in case I landed on stones. Alone. In a forest. Would I make it out alive?
Would I get injured thoroughly or would I be lucky? That’s all I could think of. In various variations of the various injurious I could get once I landed on the ground.
I didn’t think I would die. I was just afraid of the repercussions of if I didn’t.
And I didn’t. Once I landed on the ground I got up almost as quickly. I guess I was really curious on whether I was alive and well. My legs were functioning. And the part that made me happiest, was my core. The area with my heart, lungs, kidneys, stomach was thoroughly untouched. Not paralyzed, all major parts functioning.
Next was my face. Totally also untouched. I had landed on my back. And held the ground with my left hand to prevent my upper body from falling.
I could feel I had kinda twisted it. But that compared to what else could have happened seemed like the bargain of the year.
Looking back I was in shock. Like I didn’t even sit to figure out what just happened. I rose, confirmed I was alive and well, was happy my wrist was the only injured part, and dusted myself a bit and took my bicycle and started walking.
I was confused. I just walked along with the bike. Straight ahead into the descent. I think after a minute it occurred to me that if this was the direction of the waterfall, then I was just going down to come up later. I even got on the bicycle at some point. Like looking back I was so damn confused. Like my mind became blank the instant I took count that all my body parts were working except one.
So I decided to go back. I still insisted on riding the bike. But going up wasn’t easy. So I gave up and started pushing it. With an aim to go find a bench and sit.
Which I did. All I remember was I acted as if I hadn’t just flown through the air and landed on my back somewhere 2 metres from the bicycle. Like that hadn’t happened.
I sat down, ate another fruit. Took more selfies, and called someone I was supposed to call after an hour.
Thinking back I was really trying to block out what had happened. The fear that things could have gone really badly if by chance I had landed with my front body. Or worse, my head.
The realisation that something tragic beyond my control had happened. That feeling I got when my bike was speeding by the corners and this deep fear settled in my tummy as I realised how badly things could be. Especially if by any chance I encountered another being on that pathway.
I didn’t want to admit to myself that at my most vulnerable state, I was making a bargain with the universe. That yes, I know i’ll get injured, could we just make it less serious? Like no huge injury?
And as I sat down moving on with life as if nothing had happened, my wrist started swelling. And got really painful.
Later in the day people around me would tell me to go see a doctor. And I haven’t seen one yet. My reluctance to see one is actually what has made me go through yesterday’s incidence again. I was curious on why, yes I could have fractured something in my hand, that I admit, seeing how I can’t even use my hand to close a zip or open a door, but why am I that reluctant to find out whether its a fractured bone or just a simple swelling?
That’s when as I went through yesterday’s emotions, how I reacted nonchalantly to it caught my attention more than the accident itself.
That its not like I don’t love my hand that I don’t want it checked. Its because, my whole system feels as if given the fall I had, a broken hand( assuming its broken) , seems like such a free pass. Like yes i’m in constant pain, but do you know how badly this would have turned out? Like its only by luck that my left hand is all I have to show for my accident. Pure luck.
I don’t know why I really trivialized what I had just gone through. Like had I landed in another position and right now be admitted in a hospital, would I still be trivializing it? Or is it because I came out with a seemingly small injury that I ignored but either way, that whole experience was traumatising to me. To have to think of which parts of your body you want to save instead of others.
How that near miss made me feel confused. I badly wanted human contact. Something or someone to remind me that I am alive. Like yes I knew I was alive, but someone I know giving me a hug would have really made a huge difference.
Instead I dusted myself and really, really tried to act alive. Even bought a road side snack on the way. Anything to normalize the day. Anything to act as if nothing happened.
But as I look at my hand, and try to guess on whether it’s broken or not, fractured or not, I can’t erase yesterday. I can’t erase the thoughts that raced through in my mind as a fall seemed inevitable. I can’t erase the feeling of being alive after that. I can’t erase the need for someone to see me. Because inside all that shock, i’m not so sure I was seeing myself. Something or someone to draw me back into the center of aliveness. That yes, i’m still here.
I’ve found myself wanting to do my assignments with more vigour, read books with more psyche. Like I’ve found myself reacting as if I went through a narrow death miss. Which I did. I just didn’t think of it that way.
Will I ever ride a bicycle again after 2 serious accidents ? I don’t know. I’m not so sure i’ll survive the next time I fly through the air. Or maybe I will. I’m just not so sure my insides can take it anymore. The whole shock to my insides. To my mind, till I have absolutely no idea where i’m going or coming from or even doing. That emotional disability that comes with such an emotional turmoil that lasts for a few thoroughly intense seconds. The aftermath of not believing that i’m alive and well. Needing something or someone familiar to balance my insides a bit. And not acknowledging that.
For now, I do home remedies to my hand, hoping it isn’t anything serious.. But knowing that even if it is, I still got off easy. And we live, to see another day.