"Dance Anyway" Paperback Book
"Dance Anyway" Paperback Book
Read Briana's story and her courageous insights for living in her book Dance Anyway.
This book will encourage readers to face the music in their own lives, restore relationships today, and dance with destiny!
READ THE FIRST CHAPTER BELOW
Facing the Music
We all have moments when we have to face the music. We don’t get to choose those moments; we can only choose our response.
The body of the black Honda came to an abrupt stop in the ditch. Now twisted and deformed, the damaged panels and deflated wheels all bore evidence of the cement divider and the three hundred and sixty degree spins that had barely missed the oncoming traffic. A shattered driver’s side window was further testimony of the jolt and force of the 75 mile-per-hour collision with the median.
I never saw it coming. Just moments before, I had been heading north on the 55 freeway from Newport Beach to meet Zach. I had been so worried about him. My goal for the day was to introduce him to some great people at church in Mission Viejo. He’d just moved here and was the new kid on the block. “Zach will feel more comfortable in a new town once he gets to know some really cool people,” I thought to myself. “It’ll be a good thing. They can encourage him to make better choices. Once my mission is accomplished, I can come home and rest.” Talking to myself as I pulled on my favorite leather skirt and zipping it up quickly, I threw on a light summer blouse and grabbed my purse. Running late, which seemed always my speed as I tried to fit in a million and one things, I hustled out the front door.
As I rushed past my roommate, Heather, she still seemed uncomfortable. She’d admitted to me earlier that she didn’t have a good feeling about me going. An eternal optimist, I dismissed her comment as pessimistic and gave little more than a wink her direction. Later I would remember how right and foreboding her feelings truly were.
“I know, I know,” muttering crazily to myself, “I need to slow down. My life is way too busy.” I was exhausted, yes, but I was sure this meeting was a good thing, for a good cause. I pushed myself, getting out the door in record time. The night before I’d only given myself four hours of sleep, and in my busy schedule, I’d not eaten in twenty-four hours. My body was simply running on empty.
The music played in the car, and the sunshine streamed in on my face as I tapped the steering wheel to the beat. Twelve-thirty. Almost there. Approaching the toll road, I glanced up to see the sign. That was all she wrote. I fainted. Just blacked out.
What began as a merge onto the toll road became a complete left turn into the center divider at seventy-five miles per hour. My Honda hit the median, pitched up into the air and came slamming back down onto the right-side wheels. Still unconscious, they tell me that I began spinning around and around, doing complete circles back across the freeway, miraculously missing the oncoming traffic on the busy California freeway, ending right side up in the ditch on the side of the road.
Stunned but coming to my senses, the first thing I could make out through my blurred vision was the fabric lining on the roof of my car. The front seat now lay flat in a fully reclined position. Pain seemed to crowd out the questions that were spinning in my mind. An aching in my head throbbed intensely as I flinched at an even more excruciating sting in my lower back.
“Briana, My name is Guy. I’m a paramedic. I’m going to take care of you . . .” his voice trailed as my pain caught up with the words. He leaned over from the passenger seat. “Where does it hurt?” he touched me, although I couldn’t tell where he meant. “Does it hurt here?” again the pain and the words confused me. “You’re not even touching me,” I whispered. “I can’t feel where you’re touching me.” It never occurred to me that I couldn’t feel at all. His face was concerned. He spoke with someone just over his left shoulder. I began to lose consciousness again. As I faded I could hear Guy talking . . .
He’d made me feel safe. I tried to lay still and understand what was happening. Soon a CHP officer peered into the shattered driver’s side window. “We’re going to get you out of there.” Other voices, other hands, other faces, a discussion about my legs being pinned under the steering wheel. Decisions were made, and the paramedics began to lift me up into a sitting position. As they lifted me, my body simply crumpled.
The vertebrae that once held my body in one form now collapsed, and the pain was overwhelming . . . and I blacked out again.
Facing the music in our lives means seeing reality. It means recognizing that what was in the past, remains in the past. What is to come is produced by our perceptions and our attitudes. I didn’t realize before my accident just how pivotal personal attitude is in moments of complete devastation. As many motivational and inspirational talks I’d heard in church, I’d never truly realized that there would be a time in my life that I’d squeeze every bit of courage from my memories of them just to get through gripping pain. I held on to short trite statements that I’d heard in my youth.
“Winners never quit, and quitters never win. Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.” Like a list of magic mantras, I tried to remember phrases that could summon up any amount of tenacity to just hold on. I tried to remember different stories I’d heard of tragedy and personal triumph. Could I do this? Where would my strength come from?
Just like a movie with surreal images, the same sun that streamed in on my face so sweetly just a short time before, now stung my eyes and baked the blood that had seeped down my face from a cut on the left side of my head. With arms strapped to my sides on the gurney, all I could think about was how much my face itched, and how badly I wanted to reach up and scratch it, but couldn’t! That itch became my focus.
Funny that the smallest thing became the biggest bother at that moment!
Once inside the emergency doors, Dr. Annan came over and looked me right in the eyes. “You look like the perfect angel,” he said stroking my hair back. “We’re going to do everything we can to make you as comfortable as possible.” As he walked out of view I could see a nurse coming at me with a pair of scissors. I knew what was about to happen.
She was going to cut my clothes off! Where I’d been quiet and traumatized to this point, I started shouting, “No! Preserve the skirt! Don’t cut my skirt off!” Seeming to understand my legitimate retail concern, the nurse calmly asked me where the zipper was. Relieved that she appreciated my sincere plea, I explained that the zipper was located on the back of the skirt. Easy enough I thought to unzip the leather skirt, and shimmy it down off my legs preserving one of my favorite wardrobe pieces! Doing me a favor, just as I’d requested, the unknowing nurse proceeded to roll me over . . . huge mistake!
Only half of my body rolled, twisting my broken back, and causing a pain that was truly the worst physical pain I have ever experienced. I began screaming and begging her to cut the skirt off! At that point, I didn’t care how she did it. “Whatever you do, I don’t care what it takes, just don’t roll me over like that again! My whole body shivered. Every part of me ached. The nurse carefully wiped the dried blood from my forehead. Lying there on the gurney as they prepped an IV, the doctor asked me one question . . . “Who should we call?” The question stopped time.
In my mind I was back at grandma’s pool. A curious two year-old walking by the pool, I’d fallen in, and my big brother Robert, a very brave three-year-old himself, had yanked me out of the water by my hair. Insulted by his rudeness, I let out a war cry. From inside, mom heard me yelling about the pulled hair, and ran out to find Robert and I, both soaked at the side of the pool.
Hearing young Robert explain that he’d pulled my hair in an attempt to grab me as I was sinking under the water, my mother sobbed. “The voice inside me told me to pull her hair, because if I grabbed her arms she would have drown me too,” the three year-old maturely responded.
Looking at me dripping wet, and still too young to really understand the gravity of what had just happened, mom cried. “Briana, I don’t know whether to love you or spank you!” she said.
Needing to teach me an important lesson, and at the same time, wanting me to know she loved me, mom hugged me hard, and then spanked me.
Coming back to the doctor’s voice, “Who should we call?” he asked again. My emotions went in a hundred directions. I didn’t want mom to be mad that I’d gotten hurt, but I knew there’d be hell to pay if she wasn’t the first to get word that I’d been in an accident. I didn’t want her to get that kind of call. No mother wants to get that kind of a call. What would that do to her? How would she react? Would she be ok?
Wanting her to know where I was, and yet not wanting the hospital to call her, my shoulders shook, and I couldn’t hold back the tears, the pain, the fear, or the need, I said, “Call my mom. Call my mom.”