Note: I’ve added to this post thus changed the date of publication.
t seems that my identity with myself began when I was transferred to West Florida Rehabilitation Center. Upon arrival, being that I was coherent, one of the first things I asked from my husband is to bring my laptop. I went through the habit of checkeing on all the utility bills, etc. Afterwards, I played music. Most of it is not pop music but either Latin music, music my parents had on 8-tracks, and all the music to which I love to dance. Not only did I regularly play this, but I’d sing it and bring it to all four therapy sessions per day hoping I could brighten the dull process of jumping through all the hoops that were prescribed. It thrilled me to see the medical staff beaming or maybe even humming to what they heard. Doing this kept me from feeling like just another number or name with more than one medical diagnosis.
While I was transferred to West Florida Rehabilitation Center from USA Hospital in Mobile, I conjured a response to all the medical staff when asked, “How are you?” My response was “feisty, mischievous and…” hummed introductions to the word followed by the main song words, “…Bad to the Bone.” My inclination was to deter all sympathy and ultra-soft intonations in the staff’s voices. Since my hospital release and further awareness of what a brain injury can cause, I have embedded a new label: “quick-witted.”
Upon my arrival home, I felt lost. My self-identity was in shambles, as how I defined myself was based upon what I did: wife, mother, massage therapist, dancer, dance instructor, construction worker, maid, etc. Here I was with a list of restrictions for my spine and ribs to heal. During this lapse of time, I was emotionally and mentally injured due to all that I was not supposed to do. My husband helped define me verbally and how restrictions does not have to change my being. That insight slowly saturated inside me to the point of liking myself for what I could do. Furthermore, returning to running my own massage business was therapeutic to my core being. I finally was… and am a bread winner again.When I started driving again it was further confirmation that others were not worried about me being nut case but rather an average citizen.
What you focus on, you create.” Well,being that was my seeming focus, I wound up cutting up a lot, singing a great deal, and even being feisty when I have my stubborn side screaming, thus bearing truth to “What you focus on, you create.” Since then, my response has now increased to holding one more label, “quick-witted.” After all, I’m a brain injury patient/survivor. This is a hateful twist of the knife on the idea that I am “brain damaged”and gives me a gloating smile instead.
Since my return home, I have learned that postmenopausal women CAN BE euphoric! Even though, I am not postmenopausal, I have now decided when I am asked how I am doing, that is an answer I will utilize. There is one more detail. I LOVE MUSIC! Many times I have a song along with a dance stuck in my head. When one has a song stuck in his head, it is defined as either a brainworm or an earworm. Furthermore, since when is peppy music with positive lyrics a bad thing to have stuck in one’s head? THEREFORE, I will also say I have many brainworms or earworms, whichever holds a bigger pun at the time it’s replied to inquiries about my well-being.
Overall, I have seen this be an improvement to my personal outlook of myself. I have never thought much of myself, but having these labels are better than me trying to figure out something worthwhile that is plausible who I was or who I am. I am feisty with all the restrictions placed on my life due to others wanting me to recover. My little 7-year-old girl within my being has been reawakened and offers laughs and making mischief when possible, annhilating desparate moments.