We were so excited for summer. The sun shining in our eyes, skin getting darker, hair getting lighter, everyone happier. This was our first day of freedom together. Yet it became the first day of the worst summer of my life.
Aspyn and I were best friends that didn’t know it yet. We had no idea how close we were about to become. We decided to get our nails done to commemorate the start of summer. We drove to the first nail salon close to home, and they were booked. We sat in the parking lot taking selfies, drinking our coffee, and being typical teenagers. Those pictures still haunt me every waking day. We had to go to the next closest salon which happened to be across town. Why couldn’t we just find another activity to do? Soak in the sun and enjoy our time together? Why did we have to go there.
But alas, we were eager, we wanted to make our nails to look good. We needed our appearance to look as happy as we felt. I wish I could be that happy again. We headed on our next destination which happened to be across town. Anything is worth getting our nails done asap right? Suddenly we were hit with construction. Our town is constantly expanding and improving our roads but we hadn’t gotten used to it yet. Aspyn tended to be a very focused person, but not very good at multitasking. She was a smart driver though, she would take all the necessary steps to protect everyone in and out of the car.
We were almost at the salon, but the construction got a lot more complicated. More signs, more cones, and more confusion. Aspyn stayed calm, turned the music off and focused all of her attention on the signs ahead. She never once looked up, it was like her vision hyper-focused on the construction and she blocked out everything around her. She was lucky the light was yellow. She was unlucky the light was yellow. She didn’t notice the light, and kept going. Slowly. Yellow doesn’t necessarily mean stop, but it warns the red light ahead, suggesting the driver to speed up or stop. By instinct I turned to her, why are you going so slow through a yellow?
My head turns. I barely spit out the words “WHY”. I see a black car speeding towards us. I hold my breath. Eyes shut. This is going to hurt. I feel the punch. A feeling words could never describe. Just heavy.
I shoot up from my seat, vision blurry, a blaring voice in the car, “Calling Emergency Services Now”. Over and over. My head hurts. Everything comes back to me. I see the smoke, I turn to see her limp. “Get out of the car”. I’m angry, I’m scared. I am so scared. “Get out of the car now”. She jumps up from me shouting. I have to be dreaming. I want to go home. What just happened.
My pinky hurts. “I think it’s broken”, I scream at the paramedics. I start laughing uncontrollably: instinct. When I am uncomfortable with my emotions and og those around me, I start to laugh. It was the first time I learned to push my feelings away to avoid them.
All I could talk about was my aching pinky. The funny thing is that nothing was wrong with my pinky at all. I still think a lot about why my body reacted with the immense pain it was dealing with and made me believe my pinky was broken. We were on our way to get our nails done. That was the last thing on my mind, my destination. So my mind took that and rode with it. To my surprise, I was suffering from a 2nd degree chemical burn on my leg, and a fractured pelvis. No worries, my pinky was in pristine condition. My mind gave me a 6 hour break before I was about to experience the most pain I have ever gone through.
I spent the next 4 months bowing down to Aspyn. I did everything for her because the last thing I wanted her to feel was guilt. None of this was her fault. So I took care of her while she healed from her concussion. I brought calming activities to do with her and gave my EVERYTHING to her. My father had left the country the day after the accident to help my grandmother after her surgery, my best friends had just left the city, my relationship with my mother only got worse, and I was left to heal from my physical and mental injuries on my own. Of course, I completely avoided them because it was all too painful.
Just because I avoided talking about my feelings and pain doesn’t mean I didn’t experience them. Every night since the accident I woke up shaking and crying, after I had re-experienced everything about the accident in a dream. So I stopped sleeping.
I didn’t tell anyone, I just changed. I started to completely reconstruct who I was, what I stood for, what my passions were. I lost my drive. Unless I was with Aspyn, I was violent and angry all the time. I couldn’t control my emotions, I threw things at my mother, I screamed at her, I called her things that I can never take back, I broke my morals, I made decisions that I regret, and I never once talked to someone about what I was going through.
4 months later, Aspyn left for a camp. I was alone, stuck with my feelings, no distractions. I had already ruined most of my relationships with those around me. I had realized that by making sure Aspyn took her near death experience and positively turning it around, I had forced myself to negatively turn my experience around. I didn’t think I deserved to live, I shouldn’t have survived. It could have been worse, I wished it had been. I had lost all sense of passion and motivation to keep going.
4 months later, I acknowledged that my mental health was spiraling downward. Until then, I had kept all my feelings inside of me, slowly spewing out fire every day until I finally broke. I spent those 4 months on my knees for her. I lost all my personality, I became aggressive, vehement. I was angry at life, I was angry at God for putting me in this awful situation.
I’m stronger, but I’m weaker.
I may have lost relationships that seemed forever, but they were inevitably toxic for my mental health. I gained a stronger relationship with god, I finally told my dad how I was feeling, and I acknowledged my pain. I took my pain, threw it on the ground and stomped on it. It will always be there, but I won’t let it get in the way of who I am.