Thursday, June 3, 2010

How Falling Down A Hill Has Rocked My World & Hopefully Will Change My Life

Do you believe in signs? I never did. But when I look back on the past several years, I can't believe how big and obvious some are, like a huge thunder clap warning me of impending doom.

Like, several years ago, I was experiencing this thing where my heart was beating, literally, 240 beats a minute when it should normally beat at 90. This would go on until I had to be hospitalized and they would have to stop my heart and then restart it. That is some bull shit when you are in your 20s.

I knew it was because I was in a high stress job that I deeply hated. It took me years to get up the courage to quit and take a job with a 75% pay cut to be a writer's assistant. I had to hear that my job was killing me before I quit.

When my cousin was murdered a few years ago, I had some of the most honest thoughts come to me. I'm not happy. I don't like where I live. I have my dream job but I can't help wondering if this is all there is to life?

You would think that would be the perfect time to make some big life changes but I couldn't. If my dreams can reveal anything about my state of mind, I will tell you, I would often dream that a huge wave was coming after me, I would turn to run but another wave was coming in the other direction. Sometimes, the waves were make of rocks. I would not only be knocked down but pushed and buried into the earth.

The fear and immobility in my dreams came to life by day, where I did nothing. Literally spending, 100 days (and really many more) in bed.

You guys know the story from there.

But here I am again with this big huge NEON LIGHT blinking at me, saying "It's time for a change, it's time to stop ignoring your gut, it's time for some action. You are not happy. What are you going to do to get there?"

It all started when I fell down a hill a year ago.

And fell and fell and fell and fell. Until the only thing to break my fall was a huge retaining wall. My head hit that and I was gone. Unconscious.

I am now 70 feet down a steep hill - no one can see me from the street. But a woman is walking her baby and she literally heard the fall and dialed 911.

She told them she thought I was dead.

There was blood everywhere. There was pain everywhere. I had dislocated my shoulder. The screaming started in the ambulance, the pain was so unbelieveable. Every bump on the road made me scream louder. I lost the ability to be polite or a good girl.

At the hospital, I was cut out of my shirt, I was told I could get a pain shot before they put my shoulder back in (which was going to hurt like a mother fucker) but it would take 5 - 7 minutes to kick it. "No," I cried, "Just do it." Just do it with no pain meds. I couldn't wait, I was dying.

More screaming. Then stitching, then head shaving, then staples in the head with no pain meds, then CTs, CAT scans, every scan you can imagine, IVs, pills, blood. Disaster.

I spent weeks in bed, in a giant brace unable to cook, wash myself, my hair (had a friend do that), or in any other way care for myself.

It was a really dark time. But in darkness, in stillness, that's when our guts are screaming to us out loud. All the little intuitive moments about what I should do with my life to make it better - you know what I used to do with those? Play the music louder, call friends, waste time on the internet, have a margarita and make it go away.

When you are unable to even get yourself out of a hospital gown... when you can't physically run from your situation, you can bet you can't escape it any other way either.

Which is why I am so frickin' grateful for that fall. I feel like it's going to change my life. It's a year later and I am several months out from surgery on my shoulder. More time in bed, more thinking, writing, weighing my life choices.

So now it's time to act.

I want to move to New York and start a whole new life.

But am I being rash? Am I, having always made no decisions because of fear, now going the opposite end of the spectrum? A reader, A Living Diary, commented: "I've discovered that moving doesn't help you escape yourself. You can't run from who you are. You need to first learn to love yourself the way you are right now and then figure out how to grow or change."

That was like a punch in the stomach, a shake by the shoulders into reality. What am I really doing? Running to a new life or just trying to run away from an old one?

That's why I am doing these adventures. When I did them last time, I was my happiest and I had so much clarity that I know if I do them again, I will find my best decision making self.

Can pool hopping or gay wedding crashing help me make a decision to uproot my life and move to New York to start anew?

Well, we'll just have to see now, won't we?

If you like this post, feel free to share it with others. A shoutout on Facebook or Twitter would make me so happy :)


Carolyn said...

Wow. I can't imagine having to go through all that!! You are so strong to be able to come out of that and have such a positive outlook on your future! I do agree that you need to figure your stuff out before moving away. Unless you change yourself, you won't be happy anywhere.

Good luck, I know it won't be easy. I've been trying to love me for me forever it seems. Haven't gotten there yet, but will keep on trying.

NoPlasticBags said...

This is so moving, I kind of feel like you are reading my diary - I have so much fear about making change. Look forward to reading and being inspired even more.

tw!nkleTw!nkle said...

In the end, AG, things will fall together. In the past few years I've had to make some difficult choices, but I believe in signs (changing from a pre-med college major to a history major and then walking out of the office after changing it and seeing a bright red cardinal, which are rare in this area) and I believe that no matter how much you fuss and how much you sit and brood and worry about something, in the end it will work out exactly as planned. I say move to New York, decisions can be undone if you don't like it, but you are right that you def. need to figure out what it is exactly that you want out of life and find out what is going to help you get there.

I'm always here for you,

Yours from the beginning,

A Living Diary said...

The funny thing is I'm wanting change in my life too and considered (still considering) moving out of state. But then I thought about why I wanted to move and couldn't come up with an answer.

You're a strong person and I couldn't imagine going through half the stuff you went through.

I hope you find the light your looking for so your dark days will no long be.

DownByTheSea said...

I love your honesty and outlook on life. Excited and inspired by all the changes you are trying to make.

jane said...

I love your blog and I am so excited that you are back. I say, life is short and you should just go for it, go after everything you want in life.

fd said...

wow, you are one strong brave soul!

having moved countries several times in the last few years for a whole variety of reasons and considered it a brilliant learning and growing experience every single time, I just wanted to balance your commenter's view with the following:
-Yes, of course we all have work to do in terms of loving ourselves and not running away from ourselves, but you can go to New York and work on loving yourself. The two are not mutually exclusive.
- from what you've said I understand that you know you are unhappy with your life in LA. Not your whole life. Not with who what you do but with where you are. LA is a notoriously difficult city to live in. I don't see why you should be unusual in that respect and why you should force yourself to stay.
- you seem to feel stuck in a rut, hence the adventure bowl. Why not go on the ultimate cross-country adventure?

Life is too short not to move to New York when you know that's what you want to do, (and as someone unlikely to get a US visa, I would add: when you know that's what you can do).

debbiedoesraw aka grass fed momma said...

Hey girl,
WOW, that hill really kicked your ass.. sounds pretty horrific what you went through.. and to even survive it.
Cliche' or not, when death comes close, we start to think about changing it up a bit.
I do agree, love you as you are, then see where that takes you.
But adventures sound really good right now!
Summer swimming in the Griffith Park fountain! well, splashing around...
love you

Lisa @sacred circle said...

What a daring and courageous and honest post... I'm so delighted to have discovered you through twitter.... I look forward to hearing more about your adventures and getting to know you!

PartyOfTwo said...

So glad I found your blog on twitter. Change is so hard. It is so much easier to just keep ourselves busy and never think about what we truly want. I really love your honesty and the way you write, I can't wait to see what happens.

Petals435 said...

Found your blog through Twitter. This post is so moving... I'm kind of going through a lot of the same things, maybe not as extreme but def. feeling like I'm not as happy as I could be. So I'm psyched to follow along.

100DaysFan said...

Change is not easy -- I have so many things I want to change and it seems easier to just have things be the status quo. I'm going to continue to follow and hope I can see if you can do it, so can I.

RadoMom said...

Powerful words for the crisis in my life....I needed that.

alilstrange said...

Awesome post - very brave.

Sometimes moving away isn't running away - it's really moving to a new environment where you know in our gut you need to go. Why? could be so many reasons, but you sound strong - you will figure it out, just as you will figure out how to make things work in a new city because you have strong survival skills.

Trust Yourself.

Sandy said...

I love this entry, it makes me so excited to go for all the things I want to change. Thx for the nudge and I love your writing.

Ellie634 said...

I just heard you are back and I'm can't wait to read all the new entries. I missed you so much!

Linda said...

You are a doll and an inspiring one at that. Please write more, it's like the shot in the arm I need in the morning. Better than coffee. Excited to follow your adventures and gain lots of wisdom (or a kick in the ass) from them.

SSP said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SSP said...

been there, done that AG...I have moved 37 times in my life and can honestly tell you, THINGS don't change. YOU change, and your reaction to THINGS, and to the actions of others is ALL that changes. In my experience, falling down is sometimes the best way to realize that perhaps stillness is the best choice...(but that said, NYC is the best place to reinvent yourself, as long as you have the financial resources available - it ain't cheap to live there)

Quix said...

Eeek, I'm very glad you are not dead! Among other way more important things, I would miss your blog. :)

I've done 2 very drastic moves and the first got me into an industry I had no idea was an option to, like, make a living at (video games) and the second drastic move helped me recover from being a complete workaholic and lose about 100 lbs. So I'm a big fan of drastic life changing moves. If you hate it, you can move back, right?

Jen said...

I'm so sorry, first off, for the pain. I can't even begin to imagine, and I'm so sorry that you had to go through with that.

I want to say too though, that no matter what you choose to do, if it makes you happy, F*CK everyone else. There will always be people that want to tell you to not do something because it's "Unsafe". Here's the thing. Make sure that you're moving because YOU WANT TO MOVE. Make sure that it's something that makes you HAPPY and that it's putting you in a place where YOU WANT TO BE. I do agree that you should not move to try to run away from problems. It's the worst reason to go anywhere. BUT, if you're doing it for the right reasons, a huge move could be the best decision of your life. Keep a diary of where you want to go. Why you want to go there, why you don't want to be where you are any longer, and make sure that all of the reasons are healthy and make sense.

And then start packing. <3