I got hit by a van. It was really bloody scary. I’m ok. But I wasn’t.

 

Everyone’s blaming the guy, but it might partly have been my fault. I don’t think I can walk away from what happened with zero responsibility.

I was tired. I wasn’t paying attention. I’m usually so much more careful – and maybe if I had been that day, I’d have noticed him pulling up so close beside me.

It’s Thursday afternoon and I’m on my bike. Waiting at a stoplight, I’m five minutes from home and on total auto-pilot. The light changes and I start to pull away.

Suddenly – WHACK! I feel a sharp pain in the back of my left arm. A van is right next to me and his wing-mirror hit me. Just as I’m figuring this out, I feel a tug. The rubber from my left handlebar has caught on the side of the van and I’m being dragged forwards.

I get that feeling.

 

1 van flmaes del

In honesty, most of the time I feel pretty indestructible.

Since I was a kid, I’ve had a creeping suspicion that life is rigged in my favour. I’ve got away with a lot.

But there are times when that feeling descends on you. Sickness in the pit of your stomach, blood draining downwards as you realise, “Oh. Shit. This now really isn’t ok”. Not just a suspicion – but a fact: you’re in danger.

It’s the feeling that’s fabricated when your rollercoaster tiiiiiips over the top before you all race towards the ground; or in a horror movie, when you see the bloodied axeman quietly appear behind the teenage girl.

The real life times I’ve felt That Feeling have mostly been around family death. When my Russian Granny called me at 7am on a Tuesday morning, bluntly saying, “Musha. I have bad news. Your papa is dead”. I knew he had terminal cancer, but I was only 15 and hadn’t expected him to actually die. Or ten years later, when my mum called me about that same Granny – now 97 and still alive in spite of so many close calls – to say, “You better come home. The doctors say it’s finally time.” Oh. Shit. This now really isn’t ok.


Back to Thursday. The van hooks my handlebars. I feel my bike get wrenched forward.

Oh. Shit. And just as I start falling back, immediately – thank GODS – the van stops. My bike was dragged forward enough to have been pulled out from under me, but not enough to have thrown me to the ground under the vehicle. I land hard on both feet, the bike clattering down in front.

Behind, a lady jumps off her bike and runs to me. “Oh my god! Are you OK?”
A little dazed, I nod “…I’m fine.”
“That was totally his fault! He was too close. He was way too close.”

The driver gets out – white-haired guy in his 50s or 60s – and limps round to my side. I realise I’m still gripping the rubber that had been on my right handlebar. It must have come off as the bike got yanked forward.

I look up at him, “I’m ok, but you were too close, man!”
“YOU were too close! I couldn’t see you!”
“It’s a bike lane. You have to look out for bikes! You’ve got to be more careful.”

I turn and thank the lady behind me. I get back on my bike, the guy gets in his van, and we all drive off.

“Huh,” I think. “So, that happened.”


A few minutes later, I stop at a crosswalk and reach to press the button. 
1 streetcar 2

I leap off my bike and start pushing it to the other side of the road, just as a streetcar screeches to a halt next to me and beeps.
The driver opens his window and yells,
“It would help if you actually pressed the button!”
“Sorry!” I yell back. “I thought I had!”

And I burst into tears.

Now, I hate (HATE!) being told off at the best of times. But the amount I had started crying, was disproportionate even to this. Oh, I think. Maybe I’m in shock.

I have to go and meet a storyteller I’m coaching in three minutes. So, as I walk up the street pushing my bike with one hand, I call my friend Daniel with the other.

“Hey! What’s up?”
“Hi,” I sniff. “I’m ok – but I just got side-swiped by a van. I’m fine, honestly, but I’m freaking out.”

He comforts me – he’s a cyclist too, and we all get how terrifying it can be even when not much happens. I feel better, hang up, and get to my appointment.

I arrive at the cafe and the lady I’m coaching smiles and says hi. We’ve only met briefly once before, and I was relieved that she’d recognised me.

“How’s it going?” she asks.

“Um, ok…” I say. “I just got–”

But as I’m saying, “side-swiped by a truck” I – to my great surprise – burst into floods of tears. 1 tear del

She’s lovely. Not only is she a cool, sensitive lady, she’s also a cyclist and totally gets it.

As she stands up and hugs me, I sob, “I never cry in front of people!” and laugh. “This is… this is quite a way to arrive,” and she laughs too.

I step back, taking a deep breath. “I’m just going to…go to the washroom and sort myself out.”

She smiles and squeezes my arm. I go downstairs, sit down on the loo and have a BIG sob. Part of my brain is scrabbling to figure out EXACTLY WHY I’m crying so much, but these days I’m working on just allowing myself to feel my feelings without always attaching some reason for them.

(I have a LOT of feelings, and I find this tack helps)

I come back up, composed, and we begin an AWESOME session. Doing story coaching is a place I feel 100% in flow, and is the perfect activity to land into after all that.

That night, I post about the incident to my friends on Facebook, just before I switch off the internet for the night (old Tin-Foil-Hat-Marsh here is spooked out that my wifi router sits so close to where my sleeping head lies).

The next morning, before I’ve turned on my computer (as you might remember, I have a flip-phone instead of an smartphone), I go and see Daniel at his work.

We’re chatting, and he wants to show me something his friend put on Facebook. As he logs in, I see my post from the night before pop up.

52 comments.

Oh. No.


Quick aside in case this response doesn’t make sense:

One of many gifts that Brené Brown has given us, is the term “Vulnerability Hangover” .

Usually, I EXCEL at making everyone think I’m Fine and Have It All Together (hence not much crying in front of anyone). Yet here was this very public declaration that, at one point very recently, I was not okay.

“Oh god,” I said to Daniel. “Look how many people have commented”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“Well – nothing happened! I’m fine! Isn’t everyone else who’s a cyclist going to think I’m just on here, being hysterical, attention-seeking for something that didn’t even happen??”

“Dude,” he threw me a stern, kind look. “They’re cyclists. They get it. Even when nothing happens, it’s fucking scary.”

In the end there were 87 comments, 152 likes, and a flurry of texts and emails.

 

Here’s why I’m telling you all this:

 

People like to help.

 

People like to help people they like – the Facebook commenters ranged from beloveds to vague online acquaintances. So it’s worth building those relationships in your career and business. Remember, it’s not “networking”, it’s Making Industry Friends. Nobody has wild success in a vacuum – and having industry friends to empathise, advise and give you the occasional leg up, will fast-track yours.

But also, people like to help people they don’t know well – like that lady who leapt off her bike, and my storyteller. They didn’t have to be nice to me. They didn’t do it to make themselves look good. On both occasions, it was a compulsive act.

When it comes to your career and business, it’s worth asking people for help – strangers, acquaintances and big-shots alike. They want to help you. Just make sure you ask in a classy way.

If you need a little assistance figuring out how to do either of these things, I’d love to help – find out more here: yesyesmarsha.com/workwithme

 

In the meantime:

Stay safe. Look out for other people – friends and strangers. Drivers: look out for bikes (please!).

And remember:

People LIKE to help.
So it’s ok to ask for it and it’s ok to accept.

(TWEET THIS HERE!)

Thanks so much for reading. I’d love to know your thoughts about any of this in the comments below. And if you know someone who’s had a similar experience – or maybe who needs to learn that it is ok to ask for or accept help – then you can share the post with them using one of the round buttons below.

You rule,

xx (Yes Yes) Marsha

 

 

PS want to know my best-ever client secret – and get even more advice, tips, plus stories that I won’t put on the internet? Come and join the Yes Yes Family – it’s free! Just pop your details in below:

 

Photo credits: Matt Wieve via Unsplash.com, and torbakhopper, davidwilson1949 and Marko Milošević all via Compfight cc

8 Comments

  • Sam

    Reply Reply June 24, 2015

    So glad you’re ok lovely one!
    And you’re so right. People love to help, but we still expect that’s not true!
    Well done fighting through your vulnerability hangover and sharing your story with love, as always.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply June 25, 2015

      Thanks, buddy. It’s a lesson I think we can never stop learning!

  • Serena

    Reply Reply June 24, 2015

    That sounds really scary, glad you’re ok! Impressive also that despite the scare, you were able to extract and share a lesson out of it re: people wanting to help.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply June 25, 2015

      Thanks, Serena! It wasn’t that hard because everyone was SO LOVELY about it x

  • Ads

    Reply Reply June 26, 2015

    Hey Marsha! Very glad you’re ok! Nothing about that incident was your fault. Great that you could find such positivity from the bad. True strength. Love ads

  • Becky

    Reply Reply July 3, 2015

    Dearest Yes, Yes Marsha:
    #1. I am VERY glad you are ok
    #2. VERY GLAD.
    #3. VERY
    #4. When you’re on a bike and BAD THINGS are that close to happening, it can terrify parts of your brain you’re not aware of. Those parts might wet their pants. Think of mystery tears and pants wetting from the control center of your brain
    #5. I, too won’t allow electronics near my head while I sleep.
    #6. VERY

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply July 3, 2015

      You are the sweetest. Thanks so much for the “Think of mystery tears and pants wetting from the control center of your brain”. I think you’re absolutely right. It definitely was one of those things where I felt silly for being freaked out, because in real world it wasn’t anything, but i DID have that (mystery tears/pants wetting) moment of not knowing that.

      Glad to hear you’re with me on the electronics! I employ a strict “No Technology In The Bedroom” rule, partly because of this, and partly so I don’t get lost on it instead of reading some nice analogue book and/or sleeping.

      Thrilled to have you around, Becky!

      xxyyM

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