I am an introvert. I like my space. I live with a brain injury, which means invisible problems like crowd anxiety and getting overwhelmed easily. My favorite sound is silence. Seriously y'all. This right here is NOT my idea of community.
Who has seen the movie that just came out, "Wonder"? Has anyone read the book? I just finished the book, and boy was I disgusted.
"Wonder", by R.J. Palacio, is a wonderful story about a ten year old boy with a facial abnormality who goes to a traditional school for the first time as a fifth grader, and the book is divided into 8 sections, each section told in first person by a different character of the story. It was not too difficult to follow throughout the pages, remembering which voice I was reading. (Although I had to really force myself to read the section in all lower case with no punctuation except periods.) I get that this book was (apparently) written for children, but because the author switched perspectives so often, I don't think it would be a stretch to ask to have a peek into one of the adults' minds.
So much has happened in the last year. We moved, which is like, five blog posts in and of itself. And I found a second brain support group on facebook. Obviously, other things happened, also...but these were the two major things. I did write about our move, or rather the feelings of change, here. But the purpose of this post, 11 years post-rupture, is to expound on the wonderful things that have happened to me since finding that support group. (Read about my rupture here, and how I found out what caused it here.)
--I have learned that I will never be the same as I was before.
--I have learned that that is okay!
--Some people will never understand, but others genuinely want to, so I should never stop trying to share my story.
--I am SO much healthier than others who have had the same thing--and I need to remember that when I feel like hosting a pity party.
--Sometimes, I have to ask for help.
--And that's okay, too!
--Sometimes, when I ask for help, people will not want to give it. But I have to let it just roll off my back, because it just means they are closed-minded and selfish.
I've been a Christian for quite a while. Let's just say over twenty years. (Wow. That's a long time, and now I feel old!) So I'm no dummy when it comes to God's ways being higher than mine, and how I'm not supposed to question, just obediently go along with His plans. But being a sinner, that is really hard. You know what I mean?! Maybe in twenty more years...but I am NOT there yet.
Which brings me to last week. Technically, this story starts four weeks ago, so let's go back that far. I'm sitting in my recliner, with the windows open. It's the beginning of April. It's been 90 degrees every day for the past three days, and the weather forecast says it will stay in the 90s for the foreseeable future. We have a friend who has a daughter who shares friends with EJ, and in the past we have accidentally scheduled birthday parties on the same day, which turned out quite disappointing for the kid whose mom was a little slow on the invitations. (Me. That would be me.) So this year, I thought I would get ahead of the curve and invite said mutual friends early. Like, a month early. The only problem being...I can't see the weather that far ahead. But I thought, better make plans now than not. Brilliant reasoning, I know.
Twice this week, we visited the botanical gardens. The first time, we "hiked" through the Alabama woodlands and the Japanese gardens.
We had just been to the Botanical Gardens two days ago, but the Japan and America Society of Alabama put on a concert, so we headed back over there today. An Albanian man played a Japanese flute called shakuhachi, and a Japanese lady played a keyboard with synthesizer. So many awesome things happened that, even if this event hadn't been free, I would have still gone. First up, would you look at where Choko San is from!!! It's where I grew up!!! (I secretly wondered if she was "Ko Chan" we would see every day walking to work, but I had no idea how to phrase that to ask.)
I wore this dress twenty years ago. Yes, you read that correctly. Two-zero years ago. I found it in a box I unpacked earlier this week. (Yes, we are still unpacking. I think we will still be unpacking this time next year! The boxes just don't ever seem to end!)
Someone in my AVM support group shared a link, and I wanted to share it with my circle, but what I wanted to say got too long for a facebook status. So here's some thoughts I had after reading "9 things brain injury supporters should not say to a person with brain injury." It was written by someone who was diagnosed with dementia six years ago, so forgive the bad grammar and spelling.
Personally, only the first 3 can be applied to me. I don't have "supporters," but I think these are good for people in general.
1 “I know exactly how you feel”
Better than telling me you know how I feel, you could always just empathize. Most of the time, I don't need or want a solution, I just need to know I'm heard.
2 “I am your friend”
It can be confusing for me when someone tells me they are my friend, and then when I struggle or they move away, they just aren't there anymore. I only have a limited amount of brain cells to devote to things. I don't want to waste them on people who will flake out. (I understand that people have their own issues. I'm not demanding 24/7 attention. I just like to know, if I put in time and energy, I'll get a little back. And I also know friendship is a two-way street, but sometimes I feel like I'm the only one ever making any sort of effort. And that's not okay, for "normal" people OR for brain-injured people.)
3 “Come on what’s my name, you should remember I have been with you a year now”
Like I just said, I only have a limited amount of brain cells. Sometimes I will not remember your name. Or your kid's name, or your job, or anything else I know you've told me before! It's NOT that I don't care about you. It's that after you told me, I learned something else that I needed those brain cells for. Sometimes I forget less important things, and sometimes I forget that I need to prioritize so I don't forget the important things. Quietly remind me, and please don't take it personally. I DO care about you, but sometimes my brain just can't handle everything.
The house where we lived for the past 7 years had a TINY kitchen. With a TINY silverware drawer. It was about half as wide as this one. Way too small to organize the forks and spoons and knives at all. So we just lived like this for 7 years. But now, I have a silverware drawer that is big enough to organize! Only I don't have an organizer-thingy. So I decided to make one, so it wouldn't look like this for the rest of my life.
Who am I, you ask?
In 2006 I had a stroke, and every day my husband encourages me to use my remaining brain cells to the best of my ability. I love to organize, make crafts, and go on adventures (safe ones). I hope that through my blog posts, you will be encouraged to accept and make the best of challenges God throws at your life.