It is Election Week. It may as well have been Election Month or Election Year. The last three days have felt like one unending news cycle. We are exhausted.
Never before, in my lifetime, has a Presidential Election swept our country up into such an overwhelming, frenzied storm. All of our best traits that come with living in a free society that gifts hope through each election cycle. And, too, all of our worst traits when both sides allow competition, fear, anxiety and disappointment to show their darker symptoms.
For those of us with brain injury, it was likely a difficult stretch. I know it was for me. Long nights watching from pre to post-election coverage. Lots of stress. Lots of opinions and information and crowds and noise. I know that Wednesday, after so little sleep and all the cognitive wasting, I was twirling around in the parking lot with no bra on and different colored socks.
With each election, the United States is basically split down the middle. Each cycle, one half of our country is euphoric while the other is wrought with dismay. It has always been.
I thought about my fellow survivors a lot these last couple of weeks. Too often, when we are disabled, there seems to be a shadow upon us and we are often cast into the back of the picture. But the country could learn from us. These past few weeks, especially, I’ve seen you all just shine.
Like the people who lost the election eight years ago and like the people who lost Tuesday night, each side has gone on and felt left behind by the opposition party. Too many lament and blame their way through an entire administration, content to cast their disappointments upon whatever party they didn’t vote for. They don’t change to improve. They just bitch.
For us, we don’t get to see our fortunes rise and fall with each election cycle when it comes to our injuries. They survive through each party and each change in power.
But so do we.
We have long-learned how important it is to adapt. To look at the situation and what has been lost and to start figuring out ways around and over it. In order to be successful, we have to go on with less than we had every single day and we can’t just wait it out for another election to bring us justice or relief or promise or good fortune.
If we are to enjoy those things, we know we have to make them for ourselves. Regardless of politicians. Regardless of policy. Regardless of fair or unjust.
We have to go get them. Us. We.
I have listened to countless healthy, blessed people bitch and moan and complain for most of my adult life time now. Both sides and both parties.
Makes me respect you guys even more. Makes me admire you and salute you.
There is no waiting to seek happiness. There is no waiting to seek success. Not for another election. Not for another candidate. Not for another day.
Life is short. Let’s promise ourselves to keep pressing on through the haze of today and hold fast to the truth that happiness cannot be dependent on any politician or policy. It is closer than that. It is with people we can actually touch.
We do have the power to make our lives and our homes and our families and our relationships better and more loving and more peaceful. When we all succeed there, we don’t bring near as much hate out into our world each morning.
PS Hey, thanks to so many of you who wrote to me about my new book, “I’ll Carry the Fork! The 20th Anniversary Chapter”. So many of you told me that it is a tool to initiate awkward and difficult conversations between those with TBI and those we live with and love. I cannot tell you how much that moves me and inspires me. Thank you so much. If we can just start those conversations about intimacy and recovery and new goals and new challenges…start them without blame or shame….then we are all headed in a direction that looks more like better and I so wish all of you that. Many many times over. xo Kara