In an instant I was on the ground, unsure of what happened. I looked over my left shoulder to see a car hood level with my head and a man emerging from the driver's side asking if I was ok. I realized then, that I had been hit while walking through the cross-walk. As I began to take in my bearings, I realized that I was splayed in the street sitting straight up, phone and keys (previously held in my hands) were flung on either side of me, with my right shoe a good 100 feet away on the opposite side of the road. Adrenaline racing, I quickly got up, gathered my things and walked to the side of the street. Two witnesses pulled over to check on everything. I informed them I was calling 911 and insisted to the dispatcher that despite feeling ok in the moment, I would still like the police and an ambulance to come to the scene. Statements were taken, the EMTs checked my vitals and declared everything normal, and I walked back home tenderly as the shock wore off and the soreness set in.
I arrived home to my friend-turned-recent-housemate and she immediately inquired what she could do to help, insisted I stay home the next day as an act of self-care, texted my Mom messages of assurance that she was watching out for me, and made sure I knew I could wake her up at any time during the night if I needed. It was in those moments of care and compassion and willingness to support (that continued over the next few days) when I realized on a whole new level how wonderful it is to have those we can lean on. And especially how sweet it is when someone shows up without you even having to ask, simply because they can see you and understand the situation-maybe even better than you in that moment-and want to be there for you.
You see, in the year or so since I ended a long-term relationship, I've heard so much about the importance of being alone to find your inner strength and power and truth. I don't disagree. There is magic in tuning in to your inner being and seeing the beauty and wisdom you hold. However, I think there is a danger in making people feel like they must handle things on their own, or bear the burden of pain or self-judgement silently. In some conversations I had with friends, I began to feel guilty for my desire to be with others. How, after multiple nights home alone, I yearned for the company of friends and confidants. I began to think I was weak for wanting to reach out, that I was somehow inferior and less-than for feeling a need to share my experiences and connect with others. That in asking for or accepting help or support I was less evolved or whole or tuned in. That in fact it was the being able to withstand it all alone that proved I was strong and able. And so, sometimes I stuffed, and trudged on, and bucked up, and walked through moments trying desperately to enjoy the wonderful times all around me (because I do recognize they are there) while simultaneously feeling the mirk and unsettled emotion underneath the surface.
So, I pose a challenge to us all to show up. If you're moving through a point in your life that is tough, or even if it's not that drastic but you would like a listening ear, don't be afraid to reach out and be vulnerable with others. And if you know of someone who is going through a difficult time, even if they seem ok and like they have it all together-reach out to them still and provide a space for whatever it is they may need (even if they don't even know what it is). Because sometimes, even when you get hit by a car, call 911 yourself, and insist on walking back home because you do have the ability to handle it all on your own, it means so much to have someone acknowledge that strength while insisting you do not have to go it alone.