For those of you who follow Freedom Reeves regularly, you may have noticed an irregularity in the number and schedule of updates I put on my page. I started the blog as a hub for my musings on my passions in life: Media, social justice and relationships. When I started this blog, I was fresh out of a Masters program in College Student Personnel, and starting my first full-time job at a private university in Philadelphia. I believe that although my current path looks very different from how it got started, the start is directly related to the middle and what I feel, will be the finish, at least for this point in my life.
Moving to Philadelphia fueled my desire to pursue film and media making as more than a passing interest, or a hobby. I was introduced to people who worked in media, both in education and production. Their lives were what I had thought I could only fit into small moments between the pressures of a â€œrealâ€ job, or the fantasies that I had during the times I zoned out at work, which had become more frequent. I met writers, directors, poets, DJ, musicians, people that balanced between convention and uncertainty, or gave up convention entirely.
At this time of incredible inspiration, my performance at my job plummeted. But this is what I wanted to do, I thought. I went to school for two years in order to become a higher education professional. It was a noble profession, and it allowed me to 1) Be in a community of thinkers and doers, 2) Have access to knowledge and information (I love libraries) and 3) Be in an environment where the inherent worth and value of each person was assumed, and not something that had to be proven.Â Besides, I had always associated education with having summers off, as my mom, a teacher for 35+ years had always had.
My first job provided few of these things. There was no â€œsummerâ€ break to recharge and re-focus. The support I crave was not given to me by default, but was something that I had to gain by using strategy. Working at the institution did allow me to take a screenwriting class, as well as fund a lifestyle that did little to soothe the growing emptiness I felt. It also brought me to Philadelphia, a place now dear to my heart, but with whom the beginnings of my relationship started out rocky.
About 10 months into my position, I left work on a sunny Friday afternoon. My only plans for that evening were to go to the ATM, get back my house, get under my bed sheets and watch movies on Netflix Instant Streaming until my eyes shut themselves. At a busy intersection downtown, I looked both ways and took the green light to cross the street. Before I could react, the front of a taxicab careened into the side of my right hip. Amazingly, the slow motion effect that filmmakers use to highlight a disorienting experience is not that far-fetched. In the slow flight that I took vertically in the air, luckily I had the wherewithal to fold my arms across my face on my way down to the ground, keeping my head from hitting the pavement.
My body, however, was not so lucky.
My first emotion was embarrassment.Â I was lying in the middle of the street with people staring at me. I heard voices, asking if I was okay, and shouting for me to not get up. My bag was three feet away from my head, and my right shoe, a slipper, was knocked off my foot, leaving it bare against the ground. Like someone who tripped in front of a room full of people, my first instinct was to get up. I lifted my head and the voices that were yelling for me to stay on the ground got louder. So I relented. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the feet of the driver next to the car. My face towards the ground, I could hear him freaking out in West African-tinged English. Before I could lift my head to see him, it hit: The pain. Up until then, I was in shock and felt nothing. Mild soreness at first, pain thumped across my body as the adrenaline drained away.
A woman bended down next to me, and asked me if thereâ€™s anyone she could call. The first name I said was â€œLisa,â€ a friend. Between waves of pain and more pain, I hear her say that she just got voicemail. I thought of another name: â€œThabo.â€
I heard sirens. By the time the ambulance came, I couldnâ€™t have gotten up if I tried. â€œ1, 2, 3â€ they counted off as two EMT workers rolled me onto the stretcher in unison. The woman who called my friend said that she would meet me at the hospital.
As I was lifted in the back of the ambulance, I realized a few things: 1) I was not going to make it to the bank that day, 2) I may not be at work on Monday and 3) This could have been my last day on earth. And it would have sucked.
Iâ€™ll probably write more about that experience, the recovery, and how my life changed after that, but it was transforming, to say the least. Being hit by a car changed me in permanent and profound ways, the most important being that sitting for long periods of time was no longer possible for me to do. With my attention already waning at my desk job, I now had a cervical spine compression that made my current job incompatible for me.
I believe that all things, even the bad, are ultimately for the good. That is what I am dedicating this blog to for now. There will be posts about relationships, media, social justice and identity politics, and anything remarkable and/or ignorance on the Internet that I feel must be shared, but it will also track this journey that Iâ€™m on. So welcome, and feel free to comment or email me if you have words you would like to share.