Have you ever met an angel or alien and didn’t know it at the time?
When I was 21 I was badly assaulted by a group of (men? women?) on the street. They shattered my arm, and I needed multiple reconstructive surgeries for it. The incident was devastating; I lost my first large public art commission from the city I lived in because I couldn’t finish it in time, I couldn’t work, drive, dress myself, and was on heavy amounts of medication that made me very nauseous due to excruciating pain. To this day I have never felt anything like it, screamingly bad. If I didn’t heal, I was in danger of losing my place at a school in NY for the fall. In addition, my dad whom I was living with at the time was incredibly angry that I had been in the wrong place at the wrong time, couldn’t deal with the stress of me being maimed and kicked me out of the house.
They kept me in the hospital for a quite a bit after the first surgery. While everyone went out to discuss things and my parents weren’t there, 3 Indian women in white coats came into my room. I thought they were the psychiatrists I was supposed to be seeing. The oldest and tallest one asked me why I was crying, and I told her the above reasons. All three smiled calmly, and she took my hand and said “Calm yourself down. You need to help yourself. It is not so bad, everything will be fine. You are going to be fine. Don’t be angry.” I was stunned out of tears, they left the room.
My surgeon came in later with my parents, a giant man with a red nose. He examined my chart, “You were supposed to see the psychologist and therapists today, did anyone come see you?” Yes I said, three female doctors did. He frowned, “What? It says nobody came to see you yet, and I don’t know who they were.”
That summer was about resilience, about having everything taken and the only way to fix it was to dig within, be calm, and help myself. I don’t know if they just forgot to write down that they were there, but I still think about them from time to time- who were they?