If you were to ask me seven years ago what it felt like to be vulnerable I would most likely describe one of those slow motion dreams…
You are standing in front of a room full of your peers about to give a very important speech. It’s silent, you are very aware of your heavy breathing and your sweaty palms. You look down and the paper your speech was written on has become blank; also blank is your body which is now a naked canvas. The room that was once silent explodes into laughter and you’re plastered in judgement. The only safe shelter you could possibly seek would require you to climb inside of your own skin and hide. We all dislike that feeling but we know it too well.
I never would have imagined living out my most vulnerable moment; having it completely tear me down would break me open to a life of gratitude, loving fully, and sitting in the now.
Seven years ago I was driving home from rehearsal when my car collided with another and overturned on the freeway. I only had a moment to react. That was my “now.” The moment planted before me was completely out of my control and I had no choice but to accept it. Everything slowed down. My car flipped multiple times in what felt like an action packed movie sequence, and came to an abrupt stop landing on my window. All I could hear was honking horns and traffic screeching to a halt. Visually all I could make out were head lights beaming through my shattered window, blinding me one car after the next. I sat quietly in that chaos and thought “this is how my story ends.” It was peaceful and quiet in this realization for what seemed like hours then I was jerked back into reality. I was overly aware of everything around me. I knew I had to get out of this car. I quickly lowered myself in my seat to where it was possible for me to kick the window. I gave it my best attempt and still wasn’t successful. I knew I wasn’t getting out of there without help.
Help. That word…up until this point had made me sick to my stomach.
I was always slightly bratty and independent as a child/young adult. Help was not only something I never wanted to ask for under any circumstance but it was also that word my parents told us never to say unless we absolutely needed it. Cut back to my chaos on the highway in that tiny car. I needed help. Ok fine. I dropped my head to rest on the window and up until this point I had not shed a tear. I closed my eyes and whispered a barely audible “help.” I wasn’t sure who my silent cry was for. It felt like a surrender but not a “giving up rolling into a ball” type of a surrender, like an “open arms something bigger please guide me” surrender. In that exact moment a man knocked on my passenger window. “Your car, your car is on fire. Get out. Please!!” He pulled and tugged on the extremely mangled door and it released. I stood on my window reached my arms up and cried. I felt so small. This was that moment my parents spoke of, the moment I really needed help and could ask for it. “Help, oh my God please help me.” To hear myself say those words I felt free, connected, and vulnerable.
He disappeared just as quickly as he appeared. The first responders couldn’t believe someone pulled me out of the pile of metal they saw crunched up before them. It appeared to be a miracle. I walked away from the accident with a shattered rib and some wounds that weren’t visible, and the next two years following were a whirlwind of ups and downs. It seems strange that I enjoy looking back on the incident, but I remember my guardian angel and how one stranger reaching out and frankly saving my life left me seeing so clearly.
The connection between every single thing on this planet astounds me.
I made a promise in the days following my accident to be aware, grateful, and present in every moment. Just like everything else in life it hasn’t been an immediate change but rather a constant practice.
Now is the only moment we truly have and it’s the only moment that doesn’t end. You are always in it. Live it. Feel it. Love it. Own it.
Holly Lee is a native Southern Californian, currently working her magic at the Disneyland Resort. Lover of the arts, nature, animals, people, coffee, and Oprah, Holly plows forward every day with enthusiasm and vigor, ready to live in the now and make the most of every moment. She treasures her friends and family dearly, and couldn't embrace new and scary things without their unyielding support (such as writing a guest blog for example). She hopes you will find the light even in darkness, and free yourself to experience the abundance waiting just around the corner.