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  • erinschrode

I Am Committed

2019 changed everything. And if you read nothing more, know that I am ever grateful for my life and for you, for this body and mind, for our community and world — and that the sun has now set on the absolute worst year of my life, I can only pray. So bring on that new era, new decade, new year, new day, new hour even. ♥️✨🙏🏾💥

I began 2019 living a life of meaning and purpose that I had worked hard to design and realize, of which I was immensely proud. Every element of that came crashing to a violent halt when my face slammed into the asphalt on September 6th in a faraway land. The subsequent four months have been the most harrowing, bar none. Never before have I wanted to rewind or fast-forward, but without the gift of time, perspective or distance to discern any lessons from this horrific period since my accident, I either want to erase the occurrence altogether (an unfortunate scientific impossibility) or magically be able to look back upon the present from a place of stability, safety and peace.

Change is indeed the sole constant. But opening oneself to the inevitable opportunities, reflection and growth requires presence, courage and hope. While highly trepidatious and feeling continually pummeled by this devastatingly complex recovery journey, I am working tirelessly to maintain that audacity of hope. I desperately need it to nourish my soul, not only sustain but also propel me forward, and seek critical healing, understanding and common ground. While I try to trust that some greater meaning may later arise, my acute injuries compounded with ongoing proximity to intense suffering, physical pain and psychological agony have already markedly changed both my body and brain in measurable, troubling, lasting ways.

Even the minor wins, the apparent victories, the highest highs from this period since my accident are lower than anything I experienced prior. Perhaps I thought I’d faced hardship, but would gladly relive anything rather than exist amid these horrors of late. When compared to the life I once knew, not one single moment of the past four months has crossed the plateau into relative positivity. The threshold remains daunting, often a seemingly impassable barrier, but I have to believe I am edging closer, albeit on an infuriatingly non-linear path — and more committed than ever to fight on towards a worthy purpose in 2020, maintaining an openness to goodness in any form.

We are all broken, both by choice and through no doing of our own. We are all vulnerable. We are all human. I cannot deny, question, hide or walk away from those fundamental truths — and thus, am learning to embrace its essence, not only in myself, but also in others. I now recognize what I did not see, never heard, could not sense, didn’t even know to look for — and for that power of newfound awareness, empathy and human connection, I am grateful.

Gratitude is my everything. And never before have I been more cognizant of the gifts of my very life, precious time, beloved community (of whom I stand in awe), physical health and the freedoms it affords me — than when I was suddenly stripped of all. Prior to my accident, eight months of tremendous professional growth and achievement took me from Puerto Rico to Kenya to Israel and dozens of cities across the US for work, for projects, for speeches. Personally, I had the unbelievable good fortune to explore Zion, the Amalfi Coast, Papua New Guinea, Black Rock City and beyond, prioritizing and devoting energy to creating rich memories and deepening bonds with phenomenal souls. And then everything stopped. Everything disappeared. Everything changed.

While I know in my rational mind that these past four months are but one piece of one year of one chapter of my life, the trauma has proven all-consuming for painful, obvious, inescapable reasons. I am a different human walking into 2020 — and in all honesty, I am not really sure who she is or will become, nor wish to pressure myself with additional burdens, resolutions or expectations, when daily stresses prove debilitating and uncertainties yield constant disappointments. Sure, I have dreams and aspirations, but much of my life is on hold right now out of necessity, hopefully to resume again in the not too distant future (so please do stay the course!). I have more thinking, processing and perhaps intention-setting to do, as I sit at home on the mellowest of New Year’s Eve, the sole type I could possibly imagine or desire right now, after watching the sun quite literally set on 2019 before my very eyes. I know not whether next year will be better nor what I even want or if I will ever be ready for the unknown journey, but I do know this: it will be. And I will be. And you will be. And we will be.


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