What doesn’t kill you makes you broken

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Until a few months ago, I’ve never broken a bone in my body. This year, I’ve not only broken my wrist, I broke the same wrist twice.

You might be thinking, wow, this dude is so unlucky. In some ways, you’d be right. What are the chances of breaking the same bone twice within two months of each accident? A significantly low chance.

You also might be thinking, that would never happen to me. This guy must be stupid or reckless; he must have done something wrong for that to happen. That’s understandable.

When we read terrible news, say, a girl was attacked and raped, this kind of story is out of the norm and quite disturbing, one of the coping mechanism that our brain does is to blame the victim. She must have been a misbehaved girl, she was wearing revealing cloth, and probably was drunk and walking late at night in a dark, empty alley. Her choices in life must have all led to this event. After all, it’d be very uncomfortable to think that as a reader to this shocking news, I could very well be a victim of a horrific accident like that. So, the victim and I must be very different, and that’s why that won’t ever happen to me.

Heck, why go far. We walk past homeless people all the time, and many of us are guilty of arrogantly assuming that they must have screwed up so bad and they deserve it. I won’t ever end up on the streets like them; I’m not them.

Except that not always the case.

The first time I broke my wrist, I was somewhat responsible for it. I was on a Boosted Board when it malfunctioned, and I fell pretty terribly on my left wrist.

Snap. Ouch, that hurts. A few hours later, I’m out of the hospital with a cast on my arm.

Two months later, I was happily riding my bike, going to work and minding my own business, excited to work on that feature I was building at the time. That’s when that girl came out of nowhere cutting through the road without looking and t-boned me in a nearly perfect timing. I instantly hit both brakes, but that didn’t stop me from flying off the handlebars.

Snap, ouch, that fucking hurts. A few hours later, I’m in a cast for the 2nd time.

I called at work and told them what happened. I told them it won’t affect my work and I went back home that day and continued working like nothing happened. I didn’t take any off time off from work. However, I started seeing the reaction I was talking about earlier. Many of my colleagues got mean, throwing ugly comments thinking they were hilariously funny. Many didn’t care to ask what actually happened, they just assumed I’m such an idiot and I deserve what happened. That’s when I knew how people can be real assholes, beyond my imagination. I mean, in those situations you either say something supportive or you shut the fuck up.

Why shit happens?

It’s easy to assume that life is always good when nothing wrong out of our control happens to us. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the bad stuff you read in the news or hear from your friends and colleagues won’t happen to you, that one is immune to shit happening in their life. Hey, I’m in control of my life so shit won’t happen me.

Some of us will say of course that’s not true. On a conceptual level, we may understand that shit can happen, but until we taste some of the sourness of life, we kind of hope and feel that we are exceptionally immune to it.

Shit happens all the time; shit is always happening to someone somewhere. It’s like a rotating wheel that picks and chooses. To avoid bad things happening to us is to avoid living life. We can’t always take the good and avoid the bad.

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We can learn from it

We all get tired of the cliche: Don’t take life for granted. It sounds good, and when we say it, we feel this high. But for many of us, until we experience some real shit, this saying is mostly an abstract concept. It’s kind of like hearing a 19-year-old say life is too short.

In his book The Wisdom of Insecurity, Allan Watts writes that to escape pain is pain. To avoid fear is to be more fearful. He continues:

The very reason we don’t have assurance is that we want so much more than the minimum necessities — food, water and shelter. It must be obvious from the start that there is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity. But the contradiction lies a little deeper than the mere conflict between the desire for security, and the fact for change. If I want to be secure, that is, protected from the flux of life, I’m wanting to be separate from life. Yet it is that very sense of separateness which makes me feel insecure. To be secure means to isolate and fortify the eye. But it is just the feeling of being an isolated eye which makes me feel lonely and afraid. To put it in plain words, the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath.

So, to avoid our negative experiences is to feel more pain for them and learn nothing from those experiences. We can’t grow without experiencing pain. And to avoid pain is never to grow. How about if we build tolerance for pain? How about if we stop giving a fuck about pain? Stop glorifying it and be terrified of it? Maybe this way we accept life as it’s supposed to be. Perhaps this way we become who we want to be.

Don’t fight pain, embrace it and let it take its natural course in life. It will make you give no shits about trivial things and put your energy where it matters most.

I had the surgery a few days ago and I’m in a cast for another 7 weeks for the 3rd time in the same year. Quite a shitty sequence of events.

Life sometimes sucks, and I need to be ok with that.

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Classical Music. https://emad.design

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Emad Abdulrahim

Emad Abdulrahim

Classical Music. https://emad.design

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