When I first began this blog, my focus was about transitions and “recovery” from brain injuries, primarily traumatic, as I did not know about strokes, lesions, and aneurysms as being acquired brain injuries (ABIs). However, through my travels, I perceive that this post is NOT only about those who have had the same or similar diagnoses but those of us who have had traumatic changes, whether it be a move from a town with only one stoplight to a metropolitan area, a job loss, etc. You see, WE ALL have traumatic experiences of some sort only they are different and have individual challenges. This causes us to isolate ourselves giving the reason “no one understands.” From my perspective that statement is both correct and incorrect. No one can be another person, so no one can totally understand. HOWEVER, WE ALL have troublesome times that may be a cake walk for someone else but for us, not so much.
My personal story is that I never really loved myself before the TBI. I thought loving oneself was narcissistic. I cannot tell you whether I was never taught or I never learned what may have been clearly articulated.
After the TBI, I hated this newer version of whom I involuntarily became. It sickened me that I had no control over it. It disgusted me when I learned I had become disinhibited with “no filters” for a time. So here you have a person who never loved herself who came to HATE herself.
Through time, I learned that I am still the same person; however, I am a different version of the same make and model. As aforementioned, I felt like a 2004 Dodge Ram that altered into a 2014 AMC Pacer. Dodge Rams are lovely trucks, and AMC Pacers, when they existed, were quite a shoddy car. I grasped at every single detail of how I still am “a Dodge Ram” but rather a newer version which has its quirks yet finer details as well. This took A LOT of work.
This leads me closer to the present. Back in 2014, I had brain surgery on the right side of my head, so my head was shaved as part of the surgical process. Following that, my husband shaved the other side so I would have even growth. He took away my “Shirley Temple curl” which draped on the left side of my face even though I asked him to leave it alone. Time passed, and eventually, my hair grew. Dan even commented how my hair had regrown some time later. By that point, I did not care anymore. I stopped caring after about three to four months of looking at the length of my hair. Furthermore, I cared even less because I HATED who I had become.
About two months ago, I decided to not have short hair any longer… or at least not as short as I have had for years. I have been having a “bad hair month.” It has been BEYOND a bad hair DAY! My coiffure has been about as becoming as Albert Einstein mixed with Donald Trump. So, after a hint of my husband saying I needed to cut my hair, I shrugged the idea away and bought a curling iron. The Shirley Temple curls are back!
I had an experience that had me look in the mirror and appreciate my appearance. For someone who has almost always “been allergic to mirrors,” this says a great deal! So I had this wonderful moment with a flattering dress and my latest hairstyle while actually appreciating who and what I visually saw. After this moment, I told a friend, who in turn, responded that I am taking an interest in myself again. And so, I have been absorbing that, and from what I can tell that friend is correct!
I do not believe in narcissism. I do not believe in seeing myself better than everyone else. HOWEVER, it sure is pleasant to be taking an interest in myself again, to the point that I am going to fuss over my hair more than I did… not for compliments but to help continue and improve my own image and self-respect.
I want to thank my family and friends with whom I have communicated about the topics I have shared with them that are encompassed in this post. You have helped my travels progress without taking detours. You have made a difference in this grain of sand on the beach.