I was 14. Summer 2007 was going pretty well. I just got into Boosters, the “cheerleading” squad in our school. Being a Booster has been a dream of mine since I was in grade school. Training was amazingly hard, but I didn’t mind because it was my dream come true. But somewhere in the middle of that, it became a routine and all of a sudden everything seemed so steady. I began to crave this big adventure.
One night after a volleyball game, my cousin and I and 4 of her friends had a mini drinking session. Around 2-3am, we stared talking about summer getaways, and before I knew it we were on our way to Tagaytay. My cousin’s friend was driving and he was a very fast driver. I was really scared on the way there but I decided to shake it off because I told myself that this was the adventure I was craving. When we got there, we ate, talked, and watched the sunrise. It was beautiful. We had had an epic night that, if everything went as planned, no one would know about except for us. But of course, everything did not go as planned. I really didn’t know what happened because I fell asleep in the car on the way home. From what I heard, we hit a car and we flipped a few times and fell off this cliff, 2-3 feet down. I never felt that. But I remember this vague moment when I heard the tires screeching, and after that, it went black. The next thing I remember was hearing the people helping us out saying that there was too much blood and at that point, I knew 2 of our friends didn’t make it. I was never really close with the both of them, and it breaks my heart that I’ll never get the chance. And then I hear my cousin shouting, telling me to wake up and when I tried to get up, I couldn’t.
When I couldn’t move my legs, my first reaction was, “I’m never going to dance again.” I was in shock. But my family, being the optimists they are, never told me that I wasn’t going to walk again. They never once told me that life ended there. It just simply shifted and we all had to work hard to be able to live our lives normally as possible. The medical term for my condition is called SCI or Spinal Cord Injury. I was initially diagnosed as C4/5 which basically meant that I wouldn’t be functioning from the shoulders down. But as my spine healed through the years, I became a T4 case which meant I had the use of my hands and upper body.
Being in a wheelchair has affected my life in a huge way. Just everyday life is hard. I literally would not survive if I didn’t have other people helping me out. And to them, I am very grateful. I also had to say goodbye to school which was really hard for me because I loved school. I missed graduating with my batch mates. And it wasn’t just those big events, it was also the little ones. It gets depressing sometimes, but what keeps me going is the fact that 2 of my friends never made it, but I did. This accident made me stronger in more ways than one and I can’t wait for all the things life has in store for me.
A lot of good things came out of my accident. Like books. Harry Potter saved me. Yes, I know that sounds really dorky, but living the life I’m living now, it’s probably the thing I needed the most. I needed something to believe in. Something to remind me that there is some kind of magic out there. Friendship and Family. Magic is all around us. We just don’t look hard enough. And through that obsession, I now have a small online shirt business called Dream a Little More (DLM) wherein I sell Harry Potter shirts and other stuff as well. Another thing is Tumblr. It may sound strange, but the support I’ve been getting from my Tumblr / internet friends for the past 2 and a half years has been overwhelming. In fact, it is the same reason why I have had the privilege to write this same article for Candy Magazine last July.
Through all of this, the good and the bad, my family and friends have been my refuge. I am nothing without my family. I may not say it a lot, but everyday I am thankful to have such a great family who supports me in whatever I do.
It’s pretty surreal to think that all of this happened 4 years ago. I’m a different person now, and lot has happened since then. I’m not one to rule out spontaneous trips because some of the best memories are drawn from those, but just be careful. Don’t drink and drive, don’t text and drive, basically don’t do anything else while you’re driving. I sound like a broken record, but these things should never be taken for granted. Never take anything for granted. Especially the little things, because you never know what the future holds. Today you might be living your dream and the next it might be taken away from you. But just in case a certain dream of yours doesn’t work out, it always pays to have a backup. Or better yet, never settle. Keep dreaming. Never lose hope. Nothing is impossible.
** This is actually a re-write of the blog entry post I did 2 and a half years ago. I had to re-write it for Candy Magazine and this is what I came up with. I guess you can say this entry is a happier one. But if you’d like to get into more of the details of my accident and how I truly felt during the early days of coping, you can read this blog post I did on Tumblr.
If you read this entry entirely, or even just half way through, I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. It means a lot to me, really.