Two days ago, I lost a part of me. Yesterday I said goodbye to one of my safest places, my literal escape when I didn’t feel safe in my apartment or needed a private place away from my family. Kiwi was a 2007 Ford Focus and she was named by my best friend who thought it was amazing that my car’s color was “kiwi green.”
Two days ago, I was driving back to my apartment on my college campus after visiting home for my sister’s birthday when I hit black ice due to a winter storm. I began to slide, into a guardrail that sent me spinning across the highway to the opposite shoulder. I, fortunately, wasn’t hurt physically but in a split second, I felt one of my safest places protect me for the last time.
I have had Kiwi since I started college, but she really became mine in the fall of 2020 when I moved into my own apartment. During the start of the pandemic, when I felt trapped in my house or when I felt like I couldn’t express my anxiety or depression on the outside and had no place where I was “safe” to break down, Kiwi provided an escape, an opportunity to drive to a park for a walk or sit in a lot and feel in solitude. Even when I had my own room, my own space, Kiwi remained one of the few places I felt safe to cry in.
Kiwi was my escape when I was feeling suicidal and didn’t feel safe in my apartment. I would go for a drive, listen to loud music, and find a park to sit in until I either felt that I could go back to my apartment and not act on my urges, or I felt too exhausted to act on my urges and could go home and go to bed. Kiwi was the place I felt safest. Kiwi was how I could get off campus when I desperately wanted to self-harm and didn’t think I could resist the pull.
On April 12, 2021, Kiwi helped save my life. That morning I woke up feeling suicidal. I knew that I would end the day by attempting to take my own life or going to the hospital. Either way, I wasn’t safe in my apartment and I was too scared to tell anyone how I was feeling, even my best friend, so I did what I knew: I got in my car and I drove. Kiwi and I ended up in the parking lot of a nearby emergency room.
When I got out of the hospital a few days later, Kiwi was there right where I had left her, waiting faithfully and ready to go home. It seems like Kiwi has always been there, ready to offer a lifeline or a safe space. That was, until two days ago when I crashed.
And while I am experiencing the impact of the emotions that come from getting into a car accident, what I am feeling more is a sense of loss. Kiwi was a part of me. I lost a safe space when I crashed. Kiwi has saved or protected me so many times when I found myself in a crisis.
Kiwi was more than just a car to me. She was a refuge that I will mourn and miss. So while finding a new safe place will take time, I am realizing it is OK to grieve the loss of a safe place. It is OK to need a safe space. It is OK to have a safe space.
Thank you for being one, Kiwi.
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