Let me tell you my story. This is the story that changed me forever.

I went to university to study Musical Theatre. It’s not usually what people expect to hear when they ask you what you do, but it makes me happier than anything else possibly could. In my final year at school, I was given the chance to play a major role in our biggest production.

I was thrilled but stressed, as many young performers can be. I also was incredibly sick in the lead up to opening night! I was terrified that I would not be able to sing at all and so was taking extra care to rest my voice, mostly by not talking for the entire day.

 

A Few Hours Before Opening

We were released on dinner break. I decided to go home and make myself some food and work on an assignment for another class. My apartment was only about a block and a half from the school, and I only had to cross one street to get there. So, I set off home, bundled up against the February chill, and trying to keep my voice and throat as warm as possible.

I was texting my mom about my anxieties and frustrations. Not being able to speak for several days had made me bitter and resentful of my classmates who were complaining about things that I had deemed trivial. Didn’t they see that I was suffering? Didn’t they know how good they had it in comparison? I was angry but couldn’t express it. I had no perspective at that time, I only saw what was right in front of my nose. I only had the energy and wisdom to look so far. Until I heard it- the rapid acceleration of a vehicle that I knew shouldn’t be going that fast.

I was crossing that one road, and I heard the acceleration of the jeep that was turning left. Into the lane I was standing in. Into me.

I knew without thinking that I needed to get on top of the car. Getting under it would mean getting crushed by the wheels and probably dying. I knew the driver either didn’t see me or thought I was walking faster than I was.

 

We Locked Eyes As His Jeep Hit Me

I rammed my left elbow into the hood of the car as I jumped to avoid being crushed. I later learned that my elbow left a four-inch dent in his hood, which I am still pretty proud of. After the jump, I rolled into the windshield and bounced off of it as the car braked hard. My long coat was lifted over my body and I skidded for six to eight feet along the asphalt. I didn’t pass out- I remember what the world looked like as it spun around me. I remember not knowing where gravity was, and only re-gaining my understanding of up and down a second or two after I landed. I sat up and immediately started screaming.

The screams were not the quiet, raspy screams of someone who had been sick and unable to speak recently. They were full body, loud, and piercing. I didn’t choose to scream, I just couldn’t not scream. I was so angry! Didn’t this idiot who paid no attention to the road know that I had a show in just three hours?

Fast forwarding through all of the good people who helped me, the efforts of my parents to reach my school, the fear of not knowing in what ways I was actually hurt, and me missing my big show, I was finally able to tally up all the ways I had been injured.

I had a cut on my head that had bled profusely, leading many at the scene to fear that I had brain damage. Thankfully it was just a small cut! I had road rash all over my back. I have scars in three places along my spine from where most of the skin was ripped off. The big one was my right knee: it had a small fracture, a small piece of bone that was separated from the rest, but that meant that I couldn’t move my leg more than a little and couldn’t put much weight on it.

The fracture meant I was not able to participate in my show at all. It opened and closed without me. But being suddenly largely immobilised forced me to change a few things.

 

A Few Changes

For one, my perspective was forever shifted. The things I had been angry about a few days before seemed almost laughably trivial. The school gossip and hierarchies were so unimportant to me all of a sudden it shocked even me. I learned to get my priorities straight.

I also learned patience. I had to lift my own leg into the shower to be able to bathe. I had to plan several minutes to walk on my crutches to the bathrooms in my school. I couldn’t run anywhere. I had to slow down the pace of everything I did. I was forced to wait for my body to catch up with my mind a lot of the time.

Most importantly I learned the art, and I mean, it is an art, of acceptance. I had to accept my body was not able to dance for a long while. I had to accept that I wouldn’t get to do what I had been preparing to do for weeks. I had to accept the help of my parents and friends, which is hard for me because I am extremely independent.

After six months of physiotherapy twice a week, I graduated from the physio. About a year later I finally felt completely healed. I had learned how to walk and how to run all over again. I had started to dance and wear fancy shoes again. I had to make so many changes and adjustments all the time through my healing process, but the biggest change was overall.

I became a more patient, accepting, understanding, and kind person. And that is a change I am absolutely thrilled about!

 

Lauren Allen is a social media marketer from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. She now lives in Paris, France and works for companies across the globe.

Third person blurbs always sound so phoney, right? But that's how I was taught to write them! I have two careers: one as a social media marketer and the other as a theatre artist. In the theatre, we write all our bios in the third person to make sure we get to say our names as many times as possible!

I've been working in social media for five years, starting by launching the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles of a theatre company I was working for at the time. Little did I know that this was going to change my life!