The year 1997 is arguably the single year so far that has made the most profound impact on my life for two main reasons:
The 10 year anniversary of the first reason is tomorrow - Martin Luther King Jr. Day. At the age of 19, I was in a brutal car accident (my fault), that caved in the left side of my face - luckily, no one else was hurt. My cheekbone was crushed and I was missing a quarter-size piece of skin. I now am the proud possessor of a titanium cheekbone (no, it doesn't set off airport security). Because the plastic surgeon had to stretch the skin to compensate for the missing chunk, my face is not very symmetrical: the left side is considerably less fleshy than the right. He offered to do a skin transplant from my neck, but I declined, since that would have involved growing a bubble on my neck, and I was scarred enough as it was. The stitches were pretty impressive! Interestingly, most people don't even notice my scar (at least they SAY they don't!), but whenever I see photos of myself, I can't believe they don't see it. Maybe the flash brings out the shadows more. Anyway, I did a self-portrait for my year in pictures and, partially due to my glasses, it looks like I have a huge dent on the left side of my head:
That car accident was a definite wake up call for me - it made me analyze many of the relationships I had and decisions I had made. I realized it was time to grow up...and I did.
That led to the second life-changing event - that summer, I started dating the man who is now my husband. We had been friends that whole year, but it wasn't until after the maturing effect of my accident that I fell in love with him, and I know he was not attracted to me at all until I figured a few things out.
I really believe that those events ten years ago put me on the path to becoming the person I am today. Even though the accident was one of the most traumatic events of my life, I wouldn't change it for the world. Sometimes, you need a good knock on the head to realize that you need to make some changes. And I'm really happy with the way it turned out - scarred face and all.