I woke up to Kelly Clarkson’s song, “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” this morning and I thought, what a perfect song title and how timely to have shown up in my life right now. I don’t claim to know all the lyrics; however, those 7 lyrics in the title are more than just “catchy lyrics” or a “catchy metaphor”, they are truth for me…and here is why:
It was a rainy evening back in April 2001 and my honey and I were getting ready to head to a club to listen to a great band. My Uncle and his friend were visiting my parents and I was excited to stop by and see them along the way; however, that never happened. During our drive, I saw a “white flash” and heard this horrific noise and everything was spinning. Once the spinning stopped, I thought to myself, “am I the one making that noise”? Breathe Annie, breathe, I told myself. I had gotten the wind knocked out of me. I yelled for my honey and he didn’t answer. I did a mental body check. My chest hurt, I could finally breathe, I wiggled my fingers, I wiggled my toes and I could only wiggle the left ones. I attempted to lift my right leg and the lower half just dangled there swaying back and forth. You guessed it, it was broken.
I spent the next several months in a wheel chair. I developed blood clots from the blunt force trauma I suffered on my leg and for numerous reasons I knew my life wasn’t going to be the same. I’m not being overly dramatic here because medically speaking, there are just certain things you can no longer do/use when you’ve had blood clots.
There is way more to this story and perhaps I’ll capture it in another BLOG post; however, I want to get to the nitty gritty of why this made me stronger.
First and foremost, I didn’t get killed! Whew! Seeing the pictures and reading the witness statements make me wonder how I ever survived that accident. So, to that point…I CELEBRATE LIFE. I am forever grateful that I am alive. I believe I was put on this earth (and kept here) for a greater purpose.
The second thing that made me stronger was in my relationship with my honey and with my parents (whom I hadn’t lived with in over 10 years). I was forced to put my trust in them while they bathed me, wiped my bottom, and gave me blood thinner shots. I was not allowed to do anything by myself. Those simple acts of kindness and loving care forced me to look at myself and somehow made me see where I could do a better job of trusting myself.
The third thing that made me stronger is the realization that I want to live life to the fullest. Not in some cliché sort of way that may sound fluffy and gooey. I no longer say, “I’ll tell him I love him tomorrow”…I do it now. I no longer put off what brings me joy, I find joy every day and do things every day that bring me joy. Do I get confused and does it sometimes feel like effort? Hell yeah, but I know joy is all around me and not far out of my reach. I no longer wait for retirement to travel, I travel now. Finally, I no longer make excuses for who I am…My name is Ann Boland, kindred spirit and daughter…connected to the core of mother earth and I have come here to rock this world.