This I Believe

Emily - Austin, Texas
Entered on November 29, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in car wrecks, the kind that you should not be able to walk away from, the kind that cause a civic to flip four times and the kind that cause a traffic jam on Mopac in the middle of the day. Car wrecks are not things that are typically looked at in a positive light. However, sometimes they are needed. Sometimes it takes more than just a bad hangover, or an “Oh shit, what did I do last night?!” to get back on the right track, and for me this is exactly what it took. However, I am not suggesting getting in a car wreck to get back on the right track. I have had close friends lives cut short because of them. I have known young people with amazing futures ahead of them cut short because of car wrecks, but I believe if you live through it, you need to learn from it.

All throughout high school I was a breeze for my parents. I was on the honor roll, never fought with my parents, and rarely “partied”. I pretty much stayed under the radar. They had too much on their plate already with my brother, and I did not want to add more to it. However, after a brutal breakup with a long term boyfriend and switching to a new group of friends, I found myself doing things I was not proud of. I was going downhill, and I was going fast. My old friends that I had been close to kept trying to talk to me and figure out what was the matter. I would just shrug them off and gradually drifted farther and farther away from them. I did not care; I was “happy”.

I was driving to the hospital to see my grandma one morning, still suffering from the mistakes of the night before, when I passed out at the wheel. Next thing I knew I was in the air and had a blue bag in my face. I woke up upside down to the smell of burnt flesh combined with the smell or burning plastic from the air bag, the kind of smell that stays with you forever. I somehow managed to undo my seatbelt and crawl out. When I got out of my car there were already four strangers that had seen my car flip and pulled over to help. By the look on their faces they were in awe. Not a single one thought that I was alive, much less able to walk away from my car. My car had hit a guardrail and flipped twice in the air then two more on the ground. It was only by the grace of God that I did not hit a lamp post or go onto the other side of the highway.

I walked away from that accident with two burn marks on my wrist from my airbag, and a new outlook on my life. I realize the things I had been doing were stupid; I was jeopardizing my life and others. I believe things happen for a reason, and the reason for my accident was to straighten me out. I just needed a little more than a shove in the right direction… I needed to be forced.