Trigger warning: mention of road traffic accident & psychological trauma
This guest feature has been written by Antriana Maltezeanu, another wonderful person I met whilst running an Erasmus+ project last year. Her bouncy energy was contagious, and you could always rely on her to wake everyone up during morning sessions! She shared her story with me on one of the days of the project, and I was so excited when she agreed to write about her journey towards positivity for Free to Spiel; over to you, Antriana:
The lifechanging incident
My name is Antriana and I am now 20 years old. My teenage years are gone, but they will be by my side for the rest of my life. Let me tell you a story, my story – well, a part of it.
Once upon a time, in early 2017 I was a happy teenager, surrounded by many people who I used to call friends. I also used to play basketball and it was around then that I started to “upgrade” myself in that field. What I’m about to tell you has made me realise that “used to” is such a minor phrase, yet so powerful.
It was a Saturday night, and I was going to a live rap concert with my Day 1 childhood friend. Right before arriving, my life changed in an instant. How and why?
Well, a motorbike took its chance and crossed me, instead of the road.
Recovering and moving on
Physically, I was okay. I never thought that it could be a major accident in my life, since I was still able to walk, talk and live. However, I couldn’t have imaged the psychological hurt that I would go through because of this incident.
The future that I had been imagining was now a no–go.
After some time of having almost no willingness to continue, my cousins who were part of a theater group invited me to join, or at least try. It was the first time that I had ever said yes to something without knowing what could happen afterwards because of it.
When I first joined the group I was hesitant to do anything; I was shy and sitting in a corner for the most part. Then my theatre teacher started to demolish the walls I had been building over time, helping me think about and destroy them, so that I could let myself free and start enjoying every moment of it. For me, acting was the key that allowed me to express my feelings and overcome the difficulties of my past.
A year later, I had the chance to participate in my very first Erasmus+ youth exchange (an international project funded by the EU) – who would have known that I’m now living in Germany because of it, pursuing my dreams day by day! It was during these travels that I met people from all around the world and started sharing my story, making people smile with my so-called “craziness” that I’d acquired.
Even though things started to feel good again, I had to have surgery to try and “repair” the past. This didn’t work very well, and I started feeling down and wanting to give up again. My friends and family were beside me throughout and always supporting me in any way possible, which I am so thankful for.
Grateful for my past, positive about the future
I realised a while ago that I have to accept the fact that my accident will affect my daily life, for the rest of my life. I have to mention that the reason behind this is all thanks to a special person, who I met during my Erasmus+ travels; an almost “stranger” who had not even known me for a year, yet was beside me, even from miles away, helping me learn to love myself. Of course, it sounds easy to “love yourself”, but the emotional hell that myself and that person went through was the biggest adventure that I wouldn’t change – even if I had the chance to.
As I mentioned before, acquiring that craziness of mine (which is mostly my real and true self) made me realize that sh*t may happen, but you shouldn’t let it keep you down. Enjoying every minute of life, being your true self and overcoming difficulties whilst singing and dancing is more than enough to live in this mad world.
I’ve also learned that people come and go, but you must keep the memories and lessons acquired through these adventures and move on. Say “yes” to opportunities, try new things and who knows – you might find the meaning behind your life and the inspiration and willingness to continue.
Today, I am happy and grateful for everything I have achieved. I appreciate the people who are and have been a part of my life. I’m thankful for the moments that have shaped the way I live today, for making me more open-minded and able to accept situations and circumstances. Most of all, I’m grateful for my craziness, which helps me put a smile on people’s faces and stops me from giving up, even when reminders of my past pop up from time to time (YOLO).
“Do not dare not to dare” – C.S Lewis
Antriana is happy for people to reach out and talk more about her story via Instagram (@antriana.mi). She has also created a video titled “Life” – a reflective piece about her experiences over the past few years: