When I was 20, I was a Diva. I worked out in a “man’s gym”, so my body was muscular & trim. I was healthy, cute, vivacious, and pretty much worked so I could party & enjoy life:). My “look” was a big part of who I was. Perfection, on the outside. It worked for me.

I was 2 days into my 21st year when I flipped my car, and changed my life. A big black dog made me swerve, no one else saw it, and my son thinks I saw the mythical black dog that you see right before you die or crash. I crashed, and just about died. I knew I was screwed the moment I opened my eyes and saw the dust of the autobahn swirling around. I was awake to hear the EMT’s, the helicopter, the frantic hospital staff…all the way until I saw my mothers’ panic stricken face and the gas knocked me out.

I woke up to a new Heike.

“Hi, old Heike. Let me introduce myself. I am the new you. This new Heike is now flat on her ass for an undetermined time, or forever. Go ahead, you can wiggle your toes, but you cannot get up. You broke your back this time, Dumbass. Now deal with that.”

I lay there forever. Pain medication brought on crazy dreams, where my dead Opa came to tell me how he feels for me, but that I royally screwed up this time. Now what am I going to do? Yes, I can sit there and cry, but I still can’t walk anywhere.

Really, my dead family members were no help, and had no compassion. I think this is the time the veil lifted for me in many ways, and I became more aware. I considered suicide, since “I” (the old Heike) could not live like “this”. The new Heike told me I was an asshole, and vain. The nurse told me I could not commit suicide, because how was I going to get out of the bed???

The new Heike began to grip me by the neck and whip me in to shape. I began to explore my body, to check out the tubes & bandages. I had no idea what my back looked like, except the taking in of breathe of whoever saw the wound. After my second operation, I stared at a long white bandage that looked like it slashed my body in two diagonally, wondering what was underneath. Wondering, but not really caring.

Yep, old Heike just about died when a pimple appeared, new Heike was looking like Frankenstein and not giving a rats ass.

The next 9 months were a journey for me, both mentally & physically. My mental capacity was put to the test. I now see that all my shortcomings were tested in this time: vanity, impatience, lack of direction, lack of compassion.

When I finally got my body cast removed (see Frida Kahlo for a model, I had the same one), I felt free. But…I was not allowed to sit up without a brace. My brace, a large plastic corset, became my best friend. My friends, or those who stayed with me through this odyssey, where my saviours.

I would go to the public pool, sit on the edge, then slowly slide into the water as a friend slide off my brace at the same time. I would wear a bikini, and my large red scars would shock people. I wore them with pride. Over 30 inches, and over 20 inches of pure mangled conquering. These scars showed that I overcame. Not only physically, but mentally….The new Heike did not care how others saw her.

My wonderful doctors often offered to remove the scars for me. They used to joke that they made them “pretty” incase I wanted to ever wear a bikini :). I will be grateful to them forever for caring, and for getting everything back in its’ place!! My scars were my portal to becoming my authentic me. I look back at this horrific accident, the long healing, the trauma….and I know now it was my path and happened for a specific reason.

My scars are part of who I am now. They are my story, and my future.

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