As Told To is a recurring segment on xoNecole where real women are given a platform to tell their stories in first-person narrative as told to a writer.
This is India Monae's story, as told to Charmin Michelle.
Leading up to the accident, it was a normal Friday for me.
As an entrepreneur, I was always busy and I had a pop-up shop for my boutique that day. My cousin, who had just graduated from college, was with me; she came to shadow me for the summer. She grabbed her keys, we hopped in the car, and decided to head to lunch at a restaurant located in a pretty busy area. Suddenly, as we were turning left, we heard a loud engine revving—we heard him before we even saw him, speeding well over 80 mph on a residential street.
My cousin veered left in an effort to avoid the impact, and BOOM.
We were struck head-on, more so on my (passenger) side.
What made it even worse, this guy hit us so hard that our car flew backwards and landed in the patio of a restaurant, striking a waitress. She was lucky to only sustain three broken ribs.
As for me, once the car stopped, I immediately marveled at the fact that I was conscious. I checked on my cousin and made an effort to use my remaining strength to get out of the car.
I realized I was trapped.
The car was completely inverted, smashed on my feet. Once emergency responders arrived, chaos ensued. There were paramedics, firefighters, and policemen everywhere, all working together to get me out. It took roughly 40 minutes to cut the car enough to pull me out.
Both of my feet were completely shattered.
I was whisked off the to the hospital to have emergency reconstructive surgery the next morning. On the way, I lost consciousness.
I remember waking up and one of my friends was in the corner nauseous, trying not to throw up. Another was sitting on the floor with her head down. Confused, I quickly realized the bone in my right foot had come completely out.
Time passed on and I spent about a week in the hospital, which was a blur. My meds would put me to sleep left and right, I could never stay awake for long periods of time. I ended up with two metal screws, four pins, and about 11 metal plates laced through both feet, leaving me in a wheelchair for six months.
Then came recovery...
And it. Was. Tough. It was humbling. The pain was so intense, that they were pumping me with meds every two hours.
And it sucked because I was incapable of anything. I couldn't take care of my son, I couldn't work, I couldn't shower. I couldn't use the bathroom on my own, I had to use a handheld urinal. My mind would constantly go a mile a minute. I had been working so hard with work, as a full-time stylist and online boutique owner prior to the accident, so I was stressed, but doing well. After the accident however, all of my income stopped. I didn't have much savings; my whole world shut down. I even had to refund orders, because I couldn't fulfill them.
Being wheelchair-bound made me realize that I needed to work smart if I was going to survive. I had a son to take care of and realized I needed to create stability. I needed streams of income that would flow whether I was walking or not.
So, I began to educate myself and pivot my business.
The vast majority of my recovery time, I spent studying real estate investing. For some strange reason I gravitated towards it, maybe because I knew the revenue potential. And after committing myself to learning, I actually became very fluent in its language. I knew that investing was going to create that financial stability for my family, so I dove in, full throttle. I began watching rehabbing videos, reading books, and cleaning up my credit. After about six months, I transitioned from the chair into a heavy special walking boot. And then to crutches, eventually to a cane.
And sis, guess what? You better believe I would attend real estate seminars in every single one of them too; nothing stopped me, I was adamant.
Six months later, I purchased my first property. And then the second. The third—so on and so on. Within a year, I had six and my mission evolved. My passion developed into helping the black community create generational wealth while securing a legitimate legacy. Now, I mentor some of the most ferocious head hunters in real estate. And most importantly, I own several homes, which will all be left to my son.
I want that for all of us.
Over time, I have adjusted to a new normal and pushing the importance of my agenda. My biggest takeaway from my journey, which I cannot stress this enough, is to know the significance of entrepreneurship—or at least passive income. I've been an entrepreneur for 15 years, but at the time of my accident, I wasn't reveling in my full potential. And ladies, being counterproductive is real.
Just because you're busy, it doesn't mean that you're productive. And I was forced to distinguish the difference between the two.
Learn how to maximize your productivity to relieve yourself of spending too much time within your businesses. Work SMARTER, because we aren't taught this shit in school. Not all entrepreneurs have a retirement to fall back on. So, investing in assets is extremely important.
Credit > Christian Louboutin
As for what's next for me, maintaining and expanding. I'm actually staying afloat during the pandemic purely out of habit.
Many are out of work or furloughed, and in complete survival mode. COVID has taken so many jobs, and turned the world upside down, which is very reminiscent of what I went through, so I feel prepared. I feel I've been in this space before. And although I've had to cancel my business tour and postpone upcoming retreats, and even if I have tenants' situations to consider, I still have multiple streams of income, so, I'm not as affected, which is exactly how I designed it to be.
If you're struggling with where to start, know that your future is now. Invest your money so that it always sees returns. Investing will give you the freedom we all deserve (I wish I had known this years ago, which is why I preach this so heavily now).
Land > Labels.
Accident survivors: it's not easy moving forward, but don't pity yourselves. Admittedly, I'm still very traumatized, as it's hard for me to drive sometimes. But we survived because we still have a purpose to fulfill here. It takes a certain amount of darkness to see the stars. But don't ever stop seeking the light. There is purpose in pain.
So, stay encouraged always.
To attend one of India's classes, you can find more information on her Instagram page, @_indiamonae. You can also find a full list of services by following her Land Over Labels page and/or her website.
Featured image courtesy of India Monae