Redefinition, Reinvention, and Stumbling on the “Old Me” Who is Still There

In many ways, there are injuries and events that change who we are. I could write about TBIs and all the changes that occur physically, emotionally, behaviorally, and more. However, I am going to slant this outside of the medical world before formally venturing there.

Twenty-six years ago I was a waitress/server. After I became pregnant with my oldest, I quit work so I could be a stay-at-home mother. After that, her father and I eventually visited the restaurant franchise where I was a server. Even though I was not in uniform, my mind and emotions took on that role, as if I was on shift at that very moment. I heard the orders being called to the cooks, the salad bar’s containers that needed to be refilled and more. I could not relax. Here I was a server and could not be a leisurely patron at this restaurant. I even found that at many restaurants I would still mentally be working. It was void of being able to relax.

After a while, I thought to myself how ridiculous this was and how I should place myself in the role of being a patron/customer. It developed to the point that every once in a while I request the server for something I would prefer, which took some gumption, as I always saw it as making the server be put under more demands and stress. In other words, I had to reinvent how I saw myself along with my actions at a restaurant. I have always been independent and have never reveled in being served. That waitress is still in me.. the older version of me is still there. I stack the plates, etc. when my party and I are preparing to leave and pay the bill.  Actually, it is comforting for me to do this for the server. I have had that sort of job.

So, I have a new me, whether I want her or not. When you have had a brain injury, things change. For some, there can be loss of limbs or ability to move a portion of their bodies in the same way they could. I have that a little but not as much as emotional, psychological and behavioral changes. I used to keep my thoughts and feelings totally to myself. I still do that some; however, I don’t do it all the time. I have come to learn that some of these changes are healthy for me, whereas “stuffing” all thoughts and feelings may be more amiable to everyone else, it is more unhealthy for the person doing this. So, the first step is to see the good sides in the “new hand” that life has given.

My injury took place August 24, 2014. My battle for the “old me” unknowingly began around October 3, 2014, as that was the day I was released from the hospital. I did not know I was fighting until around May 16, 2015. All I saw for so long is everything I am not anymore. It is as if anything I appreciated about myself seemed to be gone. HOWEVER, this is not true. I was a daredevil from the time I was a little girl. I pushed the bar with the restrictions with my return home. Yes, I know that going beyond what is recommended/advised by the medical field is not the wisest choice. I wanted to be free, and felt like all of these rules were caging me. Upon a recent conversation with my husband, I revealed all the different ways I have crept beyond the line or attempted to do so from decades ago. These are all fun moments to remember BUT NOT ONLY THAT! Just speaking about them HAD ME REALIZE SHE’S STILL THERE!!! Sure, I’m more vocal and I see how that can be frustrating. Yes, my daredevil side is there; however, THAT’S PART OF THE OLD ME! What that means is I’m not an alien to myself. Sure, there are facets about me that have changed, but I have loved music and singing since I had a gym set. I have been a daredevil for most all my life at least a little. So, I have changed. The grief is a lot less coming to grips with the facets and characteristics/traits of me that HAVE NOT CHANGED.I am not saying all my “old ways” are the safest or even advisable to maintain; however, there is more inward peace and acceptance of myself between the combination of understanding the good things that have developed and the fun ones that are still there.

The other beauty in this is the ability to dream and not only be redefined by the event itself but also to reinvent oneself. Part of my reinvention is to write about such things to help others.. not for accolades, just to help others in ways I may or may never know. In the past, I only had hats relating to my family (friends are family too) and not others. Now, I have invented the idea of creating a firsthand voice and responding to those I know and do not know. I would not be writing about anosmia or all these changes if it were not for that TBI. However, there is NEW compassion and NEW comraderie along with a NEW zeal to write my positive experiences to help all those others out there fighting their own battles. As aforementioned, no accolades are sought. Giving with no expected results is quite wonderful.

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“The Wanderer” Changed to “The Whirlwind” Lyrics

I’m the kind of gal who whirls all around.
Wherever there is havoc, I surely can be found.
I kick and I scream. I don’t know any names.
I fuss and fight, and I put you ALL to blame.
Cuz I’m the Whirlwind, Yes I’m the Whirlwind.
I whirl around around around around.

 

Oh well, there’s a mess to the left
And a wreck on the right.
If you get near me, I’ll put you afright.
And if you come to me and tell me you’re blessed
I’m sure you’ll want me placed under an arrest

 

Oh well I roam from town to town
I go through life without a care
I’m always happy as a clown
With my wind tunnel, I’m always going everywhere.

 

I’m the kind of gal who whirls all around.
Wherever there is havoc, I surely can be found.
I kick and I scream. I don’t know any names.
I fuss and fight, and I put you ALL to blame.
Cuz I’m the Whirlwind, Yes I’m the Whirlwind.
I whirl around around around around.

 

Written on February 24, 2016

Genesis’s “Throwing It All Away” Rewritten

Need I say I love you
Need I say I care
Need I say that interests,
Something we don’t share
I don’t want to be on the town
Trying to find sanity
Cos you know I know baby
That I don’t wanna go.

I do not game with you.
You don’t sing from your heart
That’s the situation
It’s in all our parts
Every time that I look at you
I can see the future
Cos you know deep inside me
That I don’t wanna go.

Throwing singing away
Throwing dancing away
There is nothing that we can say
To make me change my mind
I watch the world go round and round
And make mine turn so upside down
I’m creating a brand new day.

Now you will light up the darkness
I will hold your hand
We will find all the answers
When we don’t understand
You will not be the one
succeeding in convincing
To sever our time, baby
Cause I don’t wanna go.

No day will I be sorry
I am already free
Memories will remind us
That our love is meant to be
Late at night when you call my name
The only sound you’ll hear
Is the sound of my voice calling
responding to you.

Just throwing it all away.
Creating a brand new day.
There’s nothing we can say.
Yes, I’m throwing my passions away…

Rewritten 5/16/2015

Roxette’s “It Must Have Been Love” Rewritten to “It’s Always Been Love”

We danced our sambas in the ballroom
Then it closed, and I was blue.
I’d wake up lonely, anc call your name
All I wanted was more of you

Touch me now, I close my eyes and dream away.

It’s always been love, and it’s just begun.
It always been good; our web is well-spun
It’s always been love, and it’s just begun.
Since our eyes locked and met, ’til the death of the sun.

I always feel that we’re together
And you’re sheltered in my heart.
I see you daily in every location
Like the paint upon the art.

And it’s a pleasant spring day in the sun’s ray

It’s always been love, and it’s just begun.
It’s more than I wanted; you’ve completed me
It’s always been love and it’s just begun,
It reaches the asteroids, it reaches the galaxy.

It’s always been love, and it’s just begun.
It always been good; our web is well-spun
It’s always been love, and it’s just begun.
Since our eyes locked and met, ’til the death of the sun.

It’s always been love, and it’s just begun.
It’s more than I wanted; you’ve completed me
It’s always been love and it’s just begun,
It reaches the asteroids, it reaches the galaxy.

(always been love, and it’s just begun[2x])

Rewritten on: 7/30//2105

Selena’s “I Could Fall in Love” Rewritten

How I lost my heart that night
When we danced and swayed
And my face shines real bright
I’m thrilled that you have always stayed
Now I have taken you in my arms
And never will let you go

I have fallen in love with you
I have fallen in love with you

I often wondered how
Touching you would make me feel
I’m glad we took that chance somehow and
Tomorrow you will want me still
And I can’t keep this to myself
I’ll never let you go

I have fallen in love with you
I have fallen in love with you

And we know it’s all right
And I know we will always do what we should do
And I have fallen in love, fallen in love with you
I have fallen in love with you

And when you kiss me you send such burning embers
that eminate within me.
I hope somehow I give you the same residual love that you give me.

And I can’t keep this to myself
I’ll never let you go

Rewritten: 7/26/2015

Skyliners’ “Since I Don’t Have You” Rewritten to “If I Didn’t Have You”

I can have plans and schemes,
And I still have hopes and dreams,
I-I-I wouldn’t have anything
If I didn’t have you.

I have deep fond desires,
And I have many happy hours,
I-I-I wouldn’t have anything
If I didn’t have you.
I have ample happiness, and I’m blessed
Time and time again.

When you danced then kissed me,
Out walked old misery,
And he’s been gone since then.
I have much love to share,
And I have someone who cares.
I-I-I have every single thing
Since–I do–have–
You, you, you, you
You, you, you, you
You, you, you, you

Written: 6/12/2015

Extreme’s “More Than Words” Rewritten

Sayin’ I love you
Is less than I could ever convey to you
It’s not that I don’t want to
Say it but I want you to know
How deeply I wish to convey how much I feel

More than words is all I want to do to make it real
Then whenever I say that I love you
Then you’d already know
What would I do if your heart was torn in two?
More than words to show I feel
That my love for you is real
What could I do if you threw my love away?
Then I’d couldn’t  make things new
Just by saying I love you
More than words
(lad di da da di da)

Now that I’ve sang to you and helped you understand
All we have to do is close our eyes
And just reach out our hands and show love
I’ll hold you close and never let you go
More than words is all we ever need and how we show
Then we’d never have to say that I love you
Cause we’d both always know

What would I do if your heart was torn in two?
More than words to show I feel
That my love for you is real
What could I do if you threw my love away?
Then I couldn’t make things new
Just by saying I love you
More than words
(la di da da di da di da da da)
More than words
(la di da da di da di da da da)
More than words
(la di da da di da di da da da)
la di da da da da
More than words
Ooooohhhhhhh ooooohhhhhhh

Written: 6/12/2015

Living Life Like I am Human

Note: Some of this has been written previously;however, I have added new insight to this post.

As aforementioned, I have been living a life according to my own expectations along with the hopes of others. When one does this, it can be quite robotic. I have always resisted feeling much negativity, whether sadness, anger, depression, etc. However, since my accident, my inhibitions have been lightened and freed. The consequence is that I am more connected  to my deeper emotional side and less inclination to hold onto my old or present luggage. Being that my world is far more emotional, the managing of these feelings is at times quite complex. However, focusing on the present aids the ability to feel weighted and loaded with antiquated drama. There are many parts of my life on which that I could visualize, and it would be stifling to experience the memories. Howbeit, fixing my attention on the present allows me to retire these old memories that torpedo my effervescence. Mindfulness helps avoid emotional debilitation.

Another aspect is learning and creating one’s boundaries to oneself. It has been easy for me to create boundaries for the children; however, I have never outlined to myself what is beyond what I should expect myself to do. For instance, when it comes to doing things that are strenuously arduous, BREATHE and take a break in between one goal and the next. Otherwise, I become quite irritated and grumpy. I have rewritten “These Boots are Made for Walkin’.” The content is my old poor habits followed by me creating ones that allow me to live an emotionally healthier life. For instance, instead of pushing my workload when it is stressful and no more productive than me taking a breather, I have begun to understand my weaknesses to the point of “taking breathers.” This does not mean procrastinate for a nonsensical amount of time. However, taking the time to breathe deeply and settle my emotions from intense task to another makes the next job easier with me in a more amiable disposition than pushing myself to the point I am stressed and more cantankerous.

Identity Crisis Begins

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.

Randy Van Warmer’s “Just When I Needed You Most” Rewritten

I upset you again.
You danced with our girl then.
The glow on my face went away.
You stormed out the door.
After saying no more.
I didn’t know that you left.

But I feel bluer than I felt blue before
And now where I’ll find comfort, God knows
‘Cause you left me just when I needed you most
Left me just when I needed you most.
I drove down the street.
The truck bench incomplete.
I was so lost finding you.
You called me and told me that you had left.
I was utterly blue.

Cause I need you more than I needed before
And now where I’ll find comfort, God knows
‘Cause you left me just when I needed you most
Left me just when I needed you most.

I upset you again.
You danced with her then.
The glow on my face went away.
You stormed out the door.
After saying no more.
I didn’t know that you left.

Written 5/16/2015