The Power of Vulnerability
How a sudden catastrophe revealed the barriers I’ve created to protect myself
Accidents happen in seconds, the shock retroactively distorting time and clouding memory. How we reflexively react with stay and play vs fright and flight reveals our souls.
One second I was riding along at my usual brisk pace, feeling exhilarated in the cold air and warm sunlight, and the next I felt weightless, already suspended in midair, bracing myself for the imminent and inevitable impact.
Just like that.
Less than a second.
My immediate reaction after the taxi cut me off, my face flew into Central Park West & 86th Street, my left eyebrow gashed, my right hand and foot lacerated, and my left elbow shattered against the pavement, was to feel ashamed.
“What a dumbass,” I thought to myself as I picked up my broken sunglasses and the intact Citibike, blood pouring down my face and punctured arm.
“Are you alright?” asked the taxi driver who leaped out of his cab and seemed more frazelled than I was.
“Your face is bleeding!” an elderly woman gasped. “Blood is dripping out of your coat.”
A dozen or so people gathered about, pointing and gesturing, some gaping others wanting to assist.
Embarassed for being such a clutz, I winced and shook my head. “I’m fine,” I said.
I sat back onto the bike as the visibly relieved taxi driver smiled, leaped back into his cab, and blissfully roared off, unidentified and unsued… #byebye
“Do you want me to call an ambulance?” asked another woman. “This is a dangerous spot, and that was a really big fall.”
“No,” I said.
“You sure?” she continued. “You don’t look so good.”
“I’m seriously OK,” I said, just wanting her and everyone else to leave.
“I appreciate it,” I added.
Ignoring the pain, blood, and disorientation, I suddenly tried to remember the location of the…