I never knew how much I had actually changed & grown as a person until I arrived back home…
I thought arriving back home would be the easiest next step to take however it would prove to be the hardest. The hardest realisation of just how much I still need to deal with… Trauma, change, growth & the realisation that I am not the same person who left here 4 months before that…
When I say I am not the same person, I am still me in so many ways, it was more in terms of how I viewed things, how I wanted to live my life moving forward, who I wanted to surround myself with, where did I fit in again… I had come back to a place where so much hadn’t changed and so much did as well, I genuinely didn’t know how and where I wanted to fit in again… I always lived a very positive happy life, but now I wanted more depth to my life, more depth to the people that surround me on a daily basis. I wanted more real conversations, more happy genuine moments. I started seeing right through the fake and fickle, I wanted my soul to be lit up with magic from good people and good environments.
When you are in a very fragile state, emotionally, its incredible how much more you can pick up on certain vibes & energy from people. To the point where you have to take a step back & look after yourself and do you, focus on you, and protect yourself.
I had a whole new sense of energy that had taken over me. (Yes I know I can be quite a hippy at times) I was way more calm then ever before…. I was at peace with so much…. For the first time in my life, I was not scared of death, I woke up every morning being so grateful to be alive and I wanted to make sure that for the rest of my life I lived a fulfilled, happy and meaningful life. You can be taken from this earth any second so why settle? Why live in a safe zone and a comfort zone… You can literally die tomorrow, so stop saving and saying you will do it one day …. DO IT NOW!!! If you are unhappy change it, if someone makes you feel horrible, walk away, if you want more out of life, go find it!
I am SO grateful for what had happened – in some very twisted way it changed my life for the better and just made me question what kind of life I actually wanted to live…
The rat race of work, slave driving yourself for retirement, chasing a pretentious lifestyle where labels mean more then being a genuine good person. Perfectly posed pictures, nothing is actually natural, people forgetting to smile in pictures and care more about what other people will think of their instagram and their wardrobe… Where people stop living in the moments just to capture them. Where there are so many filters that what is actually real. Where everyones life looks so happy & perfect yet behind the filters and their social media pages, people are dealing with real things! Real problems in their relationships, struggling with health or mental issues, pretending to be ok when actually they are not and being too scared to voice how they feeling or what they going through because its a sign of weakness when its actually a strength…
So with all this change in my life, I wanted to walk away from that… I wanted to share real things on my blog, and talk about the reality of how things have affected me.
A space where there is no filter, just saying it exactly how it is… The unfiltered reality of what is actually happening in our lives… To show that we are all fighting our own battles in this world and its ok…
Dont get me wrong, I have been there, I lived a part in a lifestyle just like the above… Im definitely no hypocrite… Ive just gone on a different path and I’m excited about that.
For me, Instagram will always be the highlights of your life, the happy moments and special captures and thats what I love about it. Its the modern day photo album that we get to keep our memories. But let it not mistake us that behind those pics are real people and real issues. No one will post about their down days, or them doing there general boring day to day things. We share the highlights of our life. And now with my blog platform I can share the reality of life without the filter, a diary of how things have affected me over the years and hopefully be relatable to some of you reading this…
I would love to read about more real experiences, see girls smiling in their pictures again and letting someone capture the actual essence and moment of wherever you might be.
When I got back from my trip, I was so happy and positive. I was literally on cloud 9! BUT somehow that all changed, I felt myself overwhelmed with emotion, I would just break down in tears at any given point of the day, when I would chat to someone about my trip and experience, I would break down. I couldn’t control my emotions at all, it was pouring out of me at a rapid pace and I didn’t know how to take control.
My strength was sliding away, my positivity was hitting an all time low and for the first time I was frustrated. I had anger towards the cyclist that hit me and WHY did he have to do this to me and my life….
I got told over and over again that I’m now only dealing with the emotional side of my accident and the heavy effects of PTSD. I was back home, in a safe environment and surrounded by my best friends and family so to any normal person, you would understand why this is all coming out of me now. I was in a safe environment with the people closest to me. I was safe.
On top of the PTSD, I had picked up about 10kg over my trip, I had lost a lot of weight after my accident and then living my best life casually picked that all up. I never once felt like I had picked up that much weight on my travels, to be fair everyone around me was always so body positive wether you were curvy or skinny. No matter your size everyone just complemented you and not one person ever body shamed themselves or worried about everything they put past their lips. So when I got back home, the reality hit, I can’t get myself into 90% of my pants, shorts or skirts…. People around me had mentioned my serious weight gain… I couldn’t just go for a run or exercise like I used, I was struggling with my back & neck from the injury and was getting treatment with my chiro to sort it all out. I tried doing yoga for the first time in my apartment and remember falling flat on my face as I had zero strength in my arms, shoulder and back. I could run 100m and then my back would get sore where I could run 5km with ease before. It was brutal. It was demotivating. It just sucked!
I realised how hard we are on ourselves as South African woman. I was sitting with a bunch of my girlfriends when I got back, they are all gorgeous and have the most insane bodies and I remember them all body shaming themselves, how they shouldn’t have eaten that chocolate and how much weight they had picked up and body shame this and body shame that. I eventually had to ban them from talking about it, I was like you guys have the most insane bodies, you are all healthy and gorgeous! I know I am one to body shame myself but having picked up weight and actually having had a genuine weight situation to deal with, it made me mad that they couldn’t see how amazing they were and it made me mad because I actually had weight to loose. I know we are all blessed with our own versions of healthy bodies and I dont know how people who are overweight and are trying to loose weight deal with skinny people saying they are fat or need to loose weight, when they dont. Its fucking hard!!!!
I didn’t want to leave the house or go be social because I didn’t want people to talk about my weight gain and my scars and my accident… I actually cared about what people would say… I slowly realised after dealing with counselling and my own versions of healing that seriously…. FUCK THAT SHIT! If people want to talk, talk and if people have soooo much to say about so many things, then good for you. Yes I picked up weight, yes I am missing half my eyebrow, yes I am dealing with a lot, but I’m ok, I am actually more than ok, I’m alive and I can walk and see and I get to live this crazy life! So IM GOOD and I’m doing the best I can as I try figure all this stuff out. I am happy to talk about what happened and share my experience because that actually helps my healing. So listen, don’t listen. Motivate or hate. Its all my motivation in the end.
It was honestly like a vicious cycle though, I can’t loose weight because I can’t exercise excessively, I am getting depressed because I can’t fit into all my clothes and I’ve never been more conscious about how I look or how I feel within my own skin. I am frustrated because all I want is my health back to scratch so I can get my whole life back… But that was not happening and is still not happening anytime soon…
Walks on the prom will have to do and when it feels good again I can push myself to jogging. I have started yoga again and they have been incredible with me. Its actually been my saving grace and something I look forward to every single day. Letting me push myself as far and as hard as I can and leaving my ego at the door. Its been about a month since I started yoga and I can’t believe the improvements my body has made. Looking back and writing about my whole experience actually helps show me that I am making progress every single day, baby steps, but I’m getting stronger and better. So that is motivation on its own.
With the physical and mental strain that took its toll on me, ON TOP of everything else came the financial strain… Travel insurance only covered hospital bills, flights and accommodation that was booked for my holiday which I couldn’t use and scripted medical bills. They refused to cover any uber trips to and from the hospital and to doctors rooms (I couldn’t catch public transport as I could barely get myself from the door to the car) There was no compensation for food or accommodation over the month I stayed in London, no financial assistance to getting a family member to me. They would put me in a single bed hotel, by myself and thats it. Which was out of the question as I needed support and assistance all the time. I had lost a few weeks of work, my sister had to take unpaid leave. In all I was supposed to be in a very different financial situation coming back from this trip… Not for one second did my mom or sister mention one financial burden from the accident, they would’ve done that again in a heartbeat, but it affected me and played on my mind consistently (They truly are the most selfless amazing humans!!!)
We sat and worked out briefly the loss of money that fell on us as a family over this period and it came to roughly R130 000.00 and then on top of that my friends taking me in and putting me in their Airbnb rooms lost more money on that as my travel insurance wouldn’t contribute to even £1 to their rates. (Even though they were cheaper than any hotel they wanted to put me in) Neither of them expected any money however it was a loss of income across the board… Costs that billed up quickly were things like….
- Ubers for the month in London
- Food, drinks and general living & medical supplies for the month in London
- Flights for my sister (over the busiest time in London such as the Cricket World Cup , Wimbledon and it just being summer)
- Accommodation while my sister was in town for the week.
KEEPING IN MIND // The rand to pound exchange was close to R20 to the pound, I remember paying R40 for a bottle of water on one of our hospital missions. so that tallies up pretty darn quick.
- Loss of work for me for 3 weeks
- A week of unpaid leave for my sister
- Chiro treatments weekly on my return to SA
HOWEVER my mom had 4 guardian angels looking after her over this period and they gave my mom close to R20k to help her get my sister to me very last minute. Which I am forever grateful for such a generous selfless contribution. You will never know how much that meant to us – you are all incredible humans!
I am not one to harp on the financial strain it caused, because money is money and you can always make it back. It is just the reality of something like this, travel insurance covers the basic and thank god I had because dealing with the amount of hospital bills that were sent my way, would’ve pushed me over the edge. I got told to push for compensation from the cyclist, but something in me always prevented going that route, I didn’t want to relive what had happened again, fight a battle which I could potentially loose in the end and take away money he might not have. Its not fair, it really isn’t, but it could’ve been worse. It sucks & its frustrating, but I know after the storm there can only be sunshine coming my way! So I just believe!
SIDE NOTE : ALWAYS GET TRAVEL INSURANCE – even though they take you for everything at times, and I am still trying to get money back for flights and accommodation missed. They do make a huge difference AND when it comes to medical bills that is a whole different league. Imagine I was stuck with all those bills and coming at us in pounds…. Just do it…
Its been 1.5 months since I’ve been back and every day is getting easier and I’m getting happier again. I am honestly taking it day by day and baby steps in the right direction.
Ah its Dani and her accident again… is what I imagine runs through everyones head, but the realistic side of this is that something that seemed so pathetic to some turned by world upside down. Its the reality of a life changing situation.
I go to Yoga everyday which helps my mind so much, helps me push myself and my body every single session and I get to sweat it out – which feels amazing haha! Chiro weekly to work on the trauma that has effected my neck and back and although its a slow progression, there is progress. The weight thing is in progress and its extremely difficult but once a week there is no better satisfaction then trying on a pair of your “small” shorts and watching the gap getting closer to closing. Going for walks on the promenade and taking in the beauty around you and having the time to just think and clear your head… Hoping by December running 1km will be something I can tick off. Surrounding myself with family and friends that understand what I’m going through, that are supportive, that listen when I need to chat and hug me when I need to cry AND that laugh and dance with me when its time to have fun! I am a lot more reserved then what I used to be, but that is just while I figure this all out again. Writing though and sharing this with some of you, has helped me like you have no idea. Reliving detailed situations and realising how much has changed since, is what heals everything!
Time lapse of a month from right to left / 4kgs down officially
I honestly could not of done this without the love and support from all of you! What blew me away the most is the people who you didn’t even consider close in your life that step up and step in to assist whenever they can… you guys are incredible!!!
So heres to many more REAL conversations and living a life with no filter, honesty & whole hearted happiness x