In the movies, you always see your life flashing before your eyes, but all I saw was black. It’s been seven months since my last serious accident, and that time, I blacked out and woke up to find my daughter in screaming hysterics. This time, my daughter wasn’t with me, though she was in my thoughts.
We had a … disagreement … this morning, but we had kissed and made up by the time I headed for work. I had a lot on my mind, and I guess I wasn’t really paying attention to the road. I’m generally pretty paranoid about cars after the accident in February, and it sometimes takes me half an hour to cross a highway. But I guess I was distracted, because I don’t really know what happened. One second I was on the pavement with a million worries, the next I was squashed between two matatus at Commercial.
I was crossing in front on a white Nissan when a large red 40-seater tapped me with it’s side mirror. I half spun and ended up wedged between the two vehicles. I remember covering my head with my arms, and squeezing my body to make myself as tiny as possible. Then I heard the makanga from the red 40-seater yelling at me to be more careful. He said ‘Hivyo ndio vile watu hukufa.’ That’s how people die.
I must have been shaking, but I didn’t dare stand there in case another matatu showed up, so I kept walking like nothing had happened. I wanted to find a corner where I could hug myself and cry, but I knew that if I dared, I’d never stop, so I looked straight ahead and kept walking, hoping nobody could see the tears, telling myself I just had to make it to the office bathroom then I could cry as much as my make-up would allow. I got into a connecting matatu and zoned out all the way to work.
Every morning before I leave home, I ask for protection for myself and my loved ones. So when I was safely on the curb, I felt a flash of anger that God hadn’t protected me. I wondered what I had done to deserve almost being squashed so early on a Monday morning.
I wondered what would have happened if I had died. Someone might have grabbed my Ideos, but without my unlock code, they’d have no way to use it. Someone might have taken my wallet and found 200 bob and an ID photocopy. They might have looked at my business cards and called my office. Maybe.
My baby would have woken up tomorrow morning to find me not in bed. She would have dialled my number and found me mteja, then maybe she would call my brother to ask if he knew where I was. They might check the directory for my office number. Which reminds me, I should probably make sure my people have my office number, now that I don’t even have it myself.
They might have asked about me on Twitter, or maybe headed straight to Central, or City Mortuary. And of course, some angry City Council worker would be furious about cleaning my icky squishy mess, and who knows if the smears would be identifiable.
I stopped my train of thought at that point, because it’s dark ideas like these that cause accidents in the first place. If you believe in the power of the mind, then you know that focusing intensely on a [positive or] negative event can make it happen. At least that’s what they say in The Secret and Pranic Healing and stuff like that. Of course, if you’re rational and have been through landmark, then you go by the exact opposite notion – that things are exactly what they are, no hidden agendas or interpretations.
I’ve never believed that anything is random, so I blame myself for the incident. I’ve been depressed all weekend, and my mind has been full of negative thoughts, and maybe that’s what caused the accident. I’ve been dwelling on fear, the kind of fear that has me so paralysed that I did nothing all weekend.
I’m afraid of what my life means, because I feel like it means nothing at all. I’m afraid that despite all the drastic changes that I’ve made, I’m not where I want to be, and I don’t know how to get there because I don’t know where ‘there’ is. I’m afraid that I’m doing everything wrong, and I don’t know how to fix it because I don’t know what the ‘right’ way is. And I’m afraid that if I keep walking around lost in such thoughts, I’ll get myself knocked over again.
I have an analytical mind. When I have an issue, I dissect it until I figure it out, get a headache, or black out from mental exhaustion. But I’m afraid to analyse fear because it only leads to more fear, and ends up with me being squished between matatus. A few months back, I had three motor accidents on three consecutive days. My teacher thinks it’s something to do with karma, and I’m just glad I wasn’t driving.
It frustrates me when I can’t figure things out, and now I’m afraid to think about this at all in case I pull a Wile E. Coyote and draw a boulder over my head instead of a 40-seater matatu. I’m afraid of worrying because it makes the stuff I worry about come true, and I’m angry at myself because I don’t know how not to worry.
I’m grateful to God for saving my life today, but I’m pissed off because I’m not entirely happy with the life that I’m living, and I don’t know what part I’d like to change. I feel awkward because everyone thinks my life is perfect, but in my own eyes, the balance feels all wrong and I don’t know what to do to make it right.
Conventional advice says to let go and let God, but I don’t know how to do that either, and I really need to stop worrying or the next thing that tries to squish me might be an elephant, an aeroplane, or a giant bug. But one good thing has come out of it. Writing this post, I’m reminded of the one thing that brings me unfettered joy – telling a story.
I play with words for a living, and that has taken a lot of the fun out of writing for me. I have moments of excitement when I get a brief right, or when I cash my paycheque, but the giddy excitement, the feeling of blurred time, the absolute bliss – that got lost once I made writing my 9 to 5 thing. So maybe the only thing I really need to change is to spend more time with stories.
When I read a book, a poem, or a blog, I get so absorbed in it that I forget where I am or what I’m doing, and I like to write stories that affect people the same way. I want my words to move the people that read, to make them smile, or cry, or understand themselves better, or take a chance on someone else. I want my words to make a difference, just like the words of the authors I love to read. So maybe I should just do that instead of magnetically pulling random killing machines in my general direction.
For quite a while now, I’ve been praying for answers to questions that I didn’t even know how to ask. They say God works in mysterious ways, and it’s funny that in almost taking my life – or perhaps … in saving my life – the universe has just told me the very thing I desperately needed to know. Thank you Archangel Michael, and most of all, thank you Abba.
♫ Hurricane ♫ 30 Seconds to Mars ♫