Thursday, August 23, 2018

Back to Writing? I Really, Really, Hope So!!

Ocean City, NJ, is my little slice
of beach heaven
We took a week's vacation down the shore this summer (that's Pennsylvania talk for being at the beach). While we were there, I did a lot of writing - journaling, writing down prayers, just jotting down random thoughts. About 4 days in - I'm really slow to catch on to things - I realized that I had been doing a ton of writing, and that I was really enjoying it! I used to write all the time! I mean, you are here - on my blog - where I used to write every week. My brain injury, among other things, got in the way of that writing for a long time. I missed it! I tried vlogging for a while, but let’s be honest - I wasn't very good at it.

There were two major problems with the vlogging situation:
  1. Consistency was an issue - making videos is just more difficult, technically speaking, than writing a few paragraphs. The house has to be empty- otherwise, you can hear my kids yelling at video games in the background. I can't be in my pjs - that look totally undercuts any message I'm trying to send :-) Uploading requires real internet connections and not just my phone in the Target parking lot. See! Issues. So I had a really hard time being a consistent vlogger. I just couldn't put out videos on a regular basis.
  2. Content was also an issue - I was trying too hard to avoid the elephant in the room. I didn't want to be "that girl". You know - that girl who writes/vlogs/whatever about her chronic condition. I so badly want to be more than my brain injury that I was avoiding talking about it. But it is a very real part of my life, so avoiding it was stupid and led to vlogging that was less than authentic. 
So let's try a fresh start -

My ER pic from 2015
Smiling cuz I have no idea
how much our lives were
about to change
My name is Dawn, and I have a traumatic brain injury with chronic migraines. It affects every aspect of my life and the lives of my family. I was injured in March, 2015, and the last 3.5 years have been full of life, lessons, laughter, limitations (whoa! check out that alliteration!), challenges, blessings, and the full gamut of emotions as I have learned how to cope with a new - and ever-changing “normal”.

In case you haven’t made it to my “about me” page (or in case it’s not up to date, which is possible), I’m happily married to Drew - we just celebrated our 20th anniversary in December. We have three sons - two in high school and one in middle school. Our home is loud, usually happy, smells like sweaty boy, chaotic with sports, band and work schedules, and someone is always eating. I love it! But my injury has changed our family. We all had to learn how to adapt to a new “normal”. This isn’t just MY chronic condition. It’s OUR chronic condition.

Oh how I wish my injury story was glamorous! Or noble! Or heroic! But it’s not. It’s so lame. I slipped on wet tile and fell down on my face. I went straight down like a tree. I landed on my chin and rattled my brain. I’m told I made an epic sound when I went splat. I don’t remember that part, but it’s nice to know I made an impression. Brains don’t like to be rattled. A concussion that was supposed to heal in under 6 weeks led to outpatient physical therapy after 6 months and then to daily migraines and confusion after a year. Now, 3.5 years in, I never know which version of me is going to wake up: the semi-capable adult who can make it through a day with some head pain but who can fake “normal” and parent well, the pain-riddled migraine sufferer who is in agony and has to stay in bed and can’t cope, or the dazed and confused fruitcake who looks competent on the outside but gets lost on the way to the grocery store. Once we know how a day is going to go, the whole family can adjust and adapt as needed. We’ve gotten pretty good at it. It’s just tricky not knowing.

But I’m so much more than my brain injury! I’m a woman with hopes and dreams and a huge love of life! I think that’s why I held off writing about it for so long. I don’t want my injury to define me. I don’t want to be “the girl with brain damage”. I’m fun! I love to laugh and make other people laugh. I enjoy baking and travel and talking to people! I love a party! I just have to work the things I enjoy into the limitations of my life. This is my reality.

So where does writing fit in to this? What am I rambling on about? I’m telling you, my very patient friends, that I’m going to come back to blogging. Well, I’m going to try. I always have something to say :-) It may be about parenting, marriage, what God is teaching me from His word, or even (heavy sigh) my brain injury and what it’s like to deal with a chronic condition. I can’t promise consistency. But that is my goal. I can’t promise anything wise or deep. There are many other bloggers doing wise and deep out there. But I can promise authenticity. And laughter. Life is too short to take anything too seriously. Even a brain injury.

((In between blog posts, I'm all about InstaStories! You can find me posting stories on Instagram almost daily as @comeoverforcoffee))


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