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  • I was given my first car by my grandparents. A 2001 Oldsmobile Alero that I grew up in, and was in loved with all my heart. The backseat stored memories from my brothers and I sitting back there after various adventures my grandfather was notorious for, and memories of friends laughing and singing as I took them with me on one.
    However, on the last day of my Sophomore year, heading to party I knew I didn't belong at, I was crashed into, T-boned on the driver's side.
    To this day, I don't remember what exactly happened. I was knocked unconscious, and the next thing I knew, I had EMTs surrounding me, bracing my neck and back, looking at me with disbelief. I didn't know at the time, but roughly 2 inches from my next was a piece of metal that should have killed me, but instead simply embedded my shoulder.

    It seemed that 2 inches was a magic number for me.
    2 more inches back and the car would have hit my door instead of the median in between.
    2 inches left and I would have been decapitated.
    2 inches up and my head would have been crushed.
    2 more inches and it would have all been over.

    I remember the Jaws of Life being rushed out. Their screech echoed in my already ringing ears, exponentially increasing the headache that was developing.
    A few sparks flew my way, but at the time, I couldn't move to avoid them.
    I think I prayed then, to what or why I can't recall.

    I remember the blackness, how calming it was, and how welcoming it was at the time.
    I remember waking up in the back of the ambulance to an EMT named Josh cutting off my shirt so he could stop the bleeding in my shoulder and chest.
    He asked me the routine questions but didn't receive any of the normal answers, remembering neither the president nor year.
    He touched my shoulder, and a scream escaped my mouth, followed by more pain and more darkness.
    I faded in and out on my way from Colleyville to JPS. Getting glimpses of attempts to bandage my head, set my ribs and shoulder, and various other medical procedures that needed to be done, but they were unable to do any, either because of the space and mobile restriction of an ambulance, or because it was too severe to treat.

    The cliché movie scene of flashing lights as you're wheeled in began to take place. It's a vision I'll never forget, feeling like those lights could be the last thing you see, the clicks of the wheels and demands of the doctors the last thing you hear, and rubbing alcohol and antiseptic the last things you smell, and slightly hoping it is.
    Josh looked down at me before he left and whispered, "Don’t stop fighting," a phrase that has stuck with me since.

    I was wheeled into trauma bay 3; the patient to my left was being treated for a poisonous snake bite, snake included, and to my right was a 2 year-old. I never found out why he was being treated, but do remember that he got admitted shortly after my family arrived.

    Every nurse, doctor, and volunteer that entered my room left saying the same word.
    Lucky.
    And each time, I told them they were wrong.
    If I truly was lucky, I would have died in that car, instead I ended up having to realize my worth.

    Despite protests, my mother sent a text message to the host of the party, explaining what has happened and how I was. She expected a response of worry or even slight concern, but all she got was "K." She sent message after message as I lay there unable to stop her, to friends, boyfriends, anyone she someone knew or remembered, expecting anything but receiving virtually nothing. The drive home was filled with questions of "why" and "how" and at the time all I could say was, "I told you, no one cares."
    And I was proven right, over and over.

    I didn't keep it a secret. The days following the accident had to be the worst days of my life. Tears were as common as water throughout that week. Either from pain or solitude. Out of countless who I called friends, roughly 4 texted me, and those 4 were the ones who got me through. Ironically, people I thought hated me or didn't care anymore were the ones who expressed the most concern. At the time I laughed, but now, I know I owe them my life, and I thank you beyond anything I’d ever be able to put into words.

    That accident nearly killed me twice over, one from the other car's impact and one from the emotional impact. So many times in the weeks following I found myself begging to God for that car to have killed me. But now, i realized why it truly happened.

    I needed to change, and while this was a bit drastic, it was exactly the wakeup call I desperately needed. I'm grateful for nearly dying that day, for it showed me I needed to live.
    A part of me did die in that car, a part that held me back from truly connecting with people, from getting out of my comfort zone, from honestly enjoying life. And while no one cared then, I know that's not the case now.

    Sometimes life has to crash into you in order to get its message across.
    And I'm thankful everyday I get to see people smiling back at me, every time I receive a hug or high five from one of my friends, every way I've seen the world since June 3rd, 2015, and every person I’ve built a relationship since that it did.
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