Go be alive

Yes, it's that day again. That day where I think back to an October 20th years ago when everything changed. Is it getting old? Maybe. There's a good chance that all of you reading this are already like "GEEZ, we get it, some shit happened and you got all broken and then you got better. Can we go back to eating candy corn?" Well, for me, I don't think it's ever going to get old.

It was nine years ago today that I got hit by a Chevy Suburban, which itself got hit by a firetruck, when I was walking down the sidewalk on 8th Street in the West Village. I broke eight bones, got a third degree burn on my leg, and was essentially out of commission for a little over five months. I got some surgeries, I moved back in with my parents, I did a lot of physical therapy, and then I eventually made it back to New York.

I talk about it a lot. It was a pretty damn significant event in my life and it re-shaped the way I think about a lot of things, like my body, my relationship with my family, and the real heavy stuff, like my life's purpose and my place in the universe. But it's hard to place my self-pity in this particular universe when the universe includes people who've experienced horrors at the hands of war, abuse, and other terrible circumstances. I am a middle-class white lady in America. Some shit happened and I got mostly better and now I can keep living my life. I feel guilty for continually bringing up this one personal tragedy when there are worse things happening in the world.

I'm also trying not to become known in storytelling and writerly circles as "that girl who got hit by the car." I do talk about it at storytelling mics and I wrote a lil' essay about it. And yes, OK, I'm even working on a book about it (although that book is growing to include a lot of other significant life events, now that I'm understanding how books work). But I really want to make an effort to have this be just one part of me. Don't you also want to know about my impossible dream of becoming Missy Elliott's backup dancer? Or how I used to talk to marbles as a kid? I'm sure you do.

Still... I'm never going to stuff my gratefulness and residual sadness about that time into the back of a drawer. It's important for me to take moments now and then to remember. It's important to recognize how close I came to something even more horrible than what was (by which I mean death), how hard I worked to get better, and how grateful I am to still be stumbling around in New York City. Even though life still gets confusing, I'm happy to be alive, and I hope you are too. Really, take a moment to appreciate how cool it is that so many parts of your body work and you're alive and experiencing life.

Also, it's become a requirement that I share this song in some form every year. The video is hilarious (undead aerobics!), the lyrics are exciting, and the music makes you want to dance. Please enjoy. And go be alive.