To shop with a brain injury is a lot like playing basketball with a tennis ball..it’s frustrating..overwhelming..and just plain tiring..but this time of year one can’t let the stresses or stimulation keep them down! So sure enough my mom and I embarked on our mission..on our third stop we popped in and out of target at the speed of light..mom and I had both had enough of the holiday hustle and bustle..as we were driving off..I spotted a woman wandering through the parking lot..she appeared lost..confused and so overwhelmed..without thinking I got out of the moving car..in fact scared my mom so bad she reached to grab me and I sadly slammed the door on her hand (sorry mom..love you) I walked up to this soul..here she was one arm..switching her other arm between her cane and pulling her cart..I said can I help you..she smiled and said yes..we walked all over the parking lot..and then she stopped and said to me while she started to cry..you must think I am so dumb..I lose my car every single day..I was in a bad accident..have a brain injury..had a stroke and some things just never came back..and without thinking I said I get that..she looked at me and said..you too..and then I said yeah me too..then she said but you look so good..in a split second she corrected herself and said but then again you can look good and be sick..can’t see your brain..we shared our stories..had some laughs about us two tbi gals living in this world..we found her car and I loaded it for her..as I was about to say good bye and walk away she said can I ask you a question..I said yes..she said are you an angel..I said no..I’m a mom who happens to just love people..then she asked if she could hug me..and I said of course..while she held me close she whispered into my ear and said don’t ever let anyone make you feel bad for being you and don’t ever let anyone including your momma tell you..you can’t do something..I started to cry ..we said our final good byes..she apologized for my sister having to wait for me( which made mom smile) and then with a tear running down my cool cheek..I realized in fact I was the one who met the angel!!! Life is so amazing..amazing how our paths can cross with some of the world’s most amazing people..crazy two people struggling with one issue can meet in a random parking lot on a Thursday!! Life is good..and once again found what I needed at Target..just not in the physical sense!!!! Peace and love!!! Smile…I am!
This is a look back from my journal, December 21, 2013.
One can find themselves in producing and appreciating art..or more like one can find themselves with who they are producing and appreciating this art with. There is something so calming and healing when painting or sketching.. the outside world stops and you get lost in your masterpiece.
Last night I got lost in my masterpiece..it wasn’t the American girl armoire that Rory and I set out to transform into a jewelry box that would house her shell necklaces and VSCO girl trinkets.. it wasn’t the intricate paintings we whimsically brushed onto our project.. the masterpiece I got lost in was Rory.. my greatest creation. I treasure nights like last night..moments where it’s just us and we are working together to create something beautiful. Moments where our phones are forgotten and Christmas music plays in the background.. moments where Rory once again heals and in her way helps me to see the world through her eyes.
Rory is a very gifted artist..the kind of art she does leaves a lasting impression on ones soul..Rory has a way of taking in every moment..seeing past what most don’t see.. finding beauty in things most wouldn’t consider beautiful or appealing… and embracing and celebrating this unconventional beauty. Rory takes every empty canvas..and fills it with the beauty she interprets..she transforms the dark and dissolute into the most remarkable pieces of art..Last night I was Rory’s empty canvas..Last night I was her project. Last night..she worked her artistry on me and made me take a second look at how I see things.
I have been asked a lot of questions over the years about my health struggles and fights.. I have been asked what is the hardest thing about this life and will it ever get better…do you remember and miss the old you..Rory has never asked me anything like this.. well..until last night. As I found myself getting lost in our DIY Pinterest project.. Rory caught me off guard and asked..Mom if you could take it all back and not have had the accidents happen..would you choose this you or the old you? I was speechless..couldn’t get out the right words..a little panicked for how do I answer this and especially considering who asked the question. In my head the answer rapidly fired off.. I would want to be the mom you had before all of this.. the mom that had it all together.. the mom that was never late and never missed a thing. The mom that for years didn’t have to cart you around to appointments.. testings and therapies. The mom that had a ton of energy and never needed to rest or say I can’t do that today. The mom you deserve and were robbed of. Before those words could hit my lips..Rory said.. I know my answer mom..I would choose this you..I’m glad the accidents happened.. I’m not glad they hurt you and made you sick.. but I am glad for how strong they made you..No one is stronger then you mom..I am glad because your heart is even bigger then it was before..and mom I love when you write.. that never happened until the accidents. I started to tear up and cry.. and then she said something I have never even thought about.. Rory said.. I have had this mom more of my life then the other mom..and this is the mom I will always want…this is the mom I will always choose..Just like that.. Rory took a empty canvas and filled it with the beauty she sees.. her interpretation of dark and dissolute.. is strong..big hearted and perfect just as it is.
Rory made me interpret the artwork of our lives differently. It is no secret Rory is my favorite artist and human on this planet..I have said it countless times before and will until my last breathe..she saves me every single day…she is the reason for every comeback and the fuel for every fight..the strength she speaks of is not mine..it in fact comes from her.. the heart she thinks is bigger.. well that is because I get to be her mom and was blessed enough to be given the chance to have this honor twice. Two people can look at the same piece of art… two people can tell you exactly what they see..sometimes it’s the others interpretation that we need to hear and learn from.. we all don’t see or view things the same..sometimes we choose to focus on one aspect and that focus takes away from a hidden or abstract piece of that artwork..It is always helpful to have another artist point out the things we couldn’t see… things that we may not have have appreciated at our first glance..things we may have misinterpreted in this masterpiece. Thankful for the girl that paints my world and always helps me to see the things at times I can’t. Thankful for my artist.. my Rory! You are the most beautiful piece of art.. you are my masterpiece! There isn’t a picture worth painting.. unless it is painted with you!
Two people can look at the same piece of art… two people can tell you exactly what they see..sometimes it’s the others interpretation that we need to hear and learn from.
It’s invisible disabilities week.. a week focused on making those who feel invisible.. visible. A week to highlight and spread awareness on battles most never face or see. I am a proud member of the invisible disability club..I personally have been diagnosed with multiple invisible disorders or medically deemed disabilities…most of these I didn’t even know existed until they resided inside of my body and brain..most I can’t even pronounce. To be apart of this club.. you have to develop some pretty tough skin..you have to let the phrase..you look fine.. just roll off your back. You have to look past when others question.. are your struggles and health fights truly there or do you just need attention?? Sadly in life.. seeing is believing.. and for our club this makes the fight a little harder. You deal with some backlash.. when one day you can do things and then the next you can’t get out of bed.. you cancel a lot and at times lose friends and family because in their opinion you can’t just let it go and move on..they question why you are stuck on this and can’t move forward.. but the thing is this.. this is our life.. there is no moving past what is dwelling inside.. as much as we would love to not be stuck here..it isn’t our choice..as much as we hate to have our health dictate our lives.. it does..we have to listen to our bodies and accept a life and road we never wanted to travel on. Sometimes when you are stuck in the fog.. you get focused on your personal fights and forget to look around and realize there are others out there living this life just as you are. You may not have the same diagnosis or your club membership card doesn’t look the same.. but none the less.. they are traveling a journey they never thought they would have too.. they are grieving the old them.. they are stuck in between the world that existed and now exists.. trying too navigate just how to make it minute to minute and salvage the old to combine with the new. My dear friend Kara belongs to this club..her life has been forever changed and most will never even realize to what magnitude. Kara has multiple chemical sensitivity.. the world she lived in was turned upside down.. it turned into a world that she couldn’t exist in for that world could lead to numerous setbacks.. hospitalizations and as scary as it sounds take her out of our world. Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is her bodies reaction to all chemicals.. perfumes..products and lotions used on a daily basis by us all. It’s a disability that leads to overwhelming reactions to these products as well as smoke.. exhaust from cars and cleaning products. Being exposed to these items and environmental exposure to them..can compromise her health and immune system on multiple levels. Every outing.. every interaction with any human..any environment..impacts her health and triggers multiple symptoms. I can’t imagine the fear and anxiety attached to this struggle..giving your friend a hug can lead to a hospitalization and long road back to her baseline. Kara has always been the life of the party or any occasion.. her laugh alone sparks a chain reaction of endless smiles and laughter. Kara has always been one friend that is there for you in every single way..always present.. always excited to celebrate her family and friends. Kara has always been the most amazing and influential teacher.. loved by her students and colleagues..always involved and compassionate about those she felt honored to teach and work with .. she has won countless awards and been praised for her amazing role in her students lives. Kara is a hardcore athlete..not many want to face her on the golf course. These things that have defined her and enriched her life.. now have taken a toll on her health and forced her to walk away from a huge part of her heart and being. Kara is still that amazing teacher.. she teaches me daily how to get up and deal with a shitty hand.. how to make the most of each day and to always look on the bright side. Kara is still that hardcore athlete.. she battles.. braves snd beats this disability every single day! At times on my own journey I have felt alone.. misunderstood.. isolated.. but I could always meet up with a friend and work through it. Kara however does not have this luxury..a freshly showered friend or the detergent on their clothes could wipe her out and force her to lose days. Going to the grocery store for Kara is like stepping into a war zone.. I can’t imagine needing a gallon of milk and the fear and anxiety that is attached to something most of us don’t even think twice about. The grocery store.. the gas station.. school events could literally make it unable for her to breathe. I may never understand all she faces or feels.. but I see her..we all are very capable of seeing Kara and seeing others who look great but internally fight a war we never will. For a long time I just saw life through the eyes of my disability.. I couldn’t see past the fog to get another’s walk. So today..this week.. the week to promote invisible disability awareness and education..I find myself looking outside of the fog to try harder to understand and support those that feel alone.. invisible and exhausted from this life long battle. We may not have joined this club for the same reason..but everyone deserves to be supported and encouraged with all they face. Kara is still the beautiful.. strong.. hilarious friend she has always been.. it is my responsibility to take the precautions to bring the party to her. It takes a second to educate ourselves to give those we love a sense of security and stability. It takes a second to see another.. to see the road laid out before them and to make that road a easier road to travel! I will never forget the friend that found her way to my hospital bed.. who filled the room with laughter and light when I didn’t even feel like laughing or opening my eyes. I know we both didn’t choose this.. I know we both wish life didn’t lead us here.. but my friend..I am happy to be in this club with you.. I am happy to get the chance to watch you climb and conquer..and I feel blessed every time you give me a hug.. for I know what that could do to you..true friendship.. one sacrificing themselves just to make sure you know you are loved and not alone. Let’s look past ourselves and our battles to reach out to all those that are trying to just get through the day as best as they can! Invisible… visible.. disabled..not disabled.. recovered.. remission.. actively fighting..we all can take the time and steps to acknowledge.. empathize..include and support those that are trying to accept changes and regain independence and better days! Hey Kara.. you got this..thank you for once again teaching me about your journey and thank you even more for letting me be apart of your beautiful story! And for the record seeing is not believing..believing is seeing! 💚
I never really understood the phrase the end all or be all until now. I have survived countless disasters.. some I couldn’t control and was simply dealt a rough hand. Others were by my poor decision making and choices. Regardless of what struggles I have faced and how they began..I beat them.. I fought past what tried to break me and I survived. I now am not afraid of anything or anyone.. for nothing can break me or be the end all of things for me or the be all for me! One thing can break me and that is the loss of Rory.. that is my end all be all. Anything other then that I can take on and destroy.. nothing will end me or hold me back. I get it now.. in the big picture.. things pass.. loss is felt as well as pain. Time ticks and you heal and learn to grow and adapt.. you have the choice to move past things and let them be and also have the choice to recreate yourself and your life..time and time again.. nothing can keep you in place or stuck.. but yourself. I get it now.. and I remain unbreakable.
My brain is running a mile a minute.. if only those runs burned calories. I guess in many ways my brain runs are shedding dead weight and processing through what needs to be dropped..let go..reformed and configured. Today was a day.. but it was the day.. I realized for too long I gave control to things and people who never even deserved the right to consume my thoughts.. my way of life.. and rob me of my identity. Too often we lose who we are.. whether through trauma.. loss..pain.. hardships or others words or actions. We stop believing that we are without limitations.. for this is our life and we have the choice and power to steer our own ship and sail to wherever our heart desires. We are capable of becoming who we want to be and we are capable of loving who we are on that destination. No one should determine or rob you of this right or power. We deserve to know and recognize our strengths and we alone get to recognize our faults and work on them as we choose. We feed into other’s darkness.. we internalize their hurt and we let them break us down for self gain and control.. but with that being said.. we alone have the power to recognize we have the strength to overcome and fight every evil act put upon us.. every haunting action and soul shattering word that crushed our souls and lead us to believe who and what we are. We alone have the tenacity to dig the deepest we ever have before and make the stance you will not control me with the manipulative seeds you planted that fester in my brain and body.. you don’t have the right to kill who I am.. take away all that makes me.. me! Eleanor Roosevelt said.. no one can make you inferior without your consent… those words.. that ideal is true for us all. When you find yourself lost and broken realize.. you are your hero.. you can break any chain that binds you to any soul and body breaking pain. You no longer have to accept limitations bc others have placed them on you. We must always find freedom in the choice of choosing who we are and what we are capable of.. we find freedom in knowing no one can break you but yourself… we find peace in knowing we don’t have to accept a life we never wanted.. we can rise each day and decide and recreate who we are.. a person strong and unbreakable for they know and always know.. they have themselves for any battle and they are unstoppable bc they said so and believe so. Never let anyone mold..form or compromise who you are..never give into the norm or what is expected of you..make a decision every single day to become who you are proud of. Figure out what you like..fall as many times as possible trying to achieve this.. climb every single day..not for anyone else but for you. Realize your child is watching your example and forming who they are.. realize your journey impacts theirs and the best gift you can give them is you…a strong.. confident.. badass.. who is unwilling to sacrifice themselves or compromise themselves for others expectations and social norms. Be you.. and take any steps required to reach this personal Utopia. Cut out all that hurts you and puts standards and defines you! You get to decide who you are and what you want..so wake every day with eyes that see the best in the world and others.. but also eyes that see the best in you and celebrate and embrace this daily! Love deeply and give out as much love as you can.. but remember to love yourself first.. for that love will grow deeper and be more powerful if it comes from a pure and strong source. And above all.. remember every day.. every minute.. every second is another chance to create the life you deserve and love.