Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

September 4, 2018

Bigger Than We Imagine

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 3:31 pm

Look out your front window.  Just for a moment now….imagine King Kong coming over that row of houses in front of you.  Or above that tree line.  Or across that free way or over that lake.


You look out, tiny you, and you are stopped still in your trax by the site of King Kong coming toward you.  Wowowowowowowoow.   Or more like, What the……….

The other night, I caught a spider outside my window, creepy crawly in against the gold lighting at my condo.

Now, to him (or her), I am that King Kong.   Coming toward that tiny spider, I must have looked like big old King heading over that tree line.

But what did I do?

I sure didn’t act like King Kong.  LOL.

I was freaking and squeaking, barely reaching to hurry and shut the window in case that teeny tiny spider decided to swing on over from the tree branch, find a hole in my screen and proceed to attack me in the night.

King Kong King Kong King Kong…

Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that we are bigger than we feel.

So many things seek to diminish us in our lives.   For some it’s the sagging and receding and paunching and slowing of age.  For others it is the failing measures of status, income, credit or popularity.  As we know so well, for many it is the implications, both real and assumed, that hang upon the differently-abled like a sodden cloak.

How teeny do we become?

We don’t even see all of those who have been diminished.   Compacted.  Shrunk down.  Pushed back.   They are there, all around, though.  See them quiet at the end of the bench, alone at a table in the lunchroom, holding cardboard signs at the intersection, curled up under the overpass.

So tiny we don’t even see?

When we are brain injured, so much of our experience, post-injury, is diminishing.  So much scrapes away and chips away and tears away and melts away.

What is left?  Naked go we, the survivors.  Naked go we, the new.

We don’t even realize how big we still are because we imagine that injury to be King Kong more than we imagine it that teeny spider.

Let’s be big.  Let’s be big for ourselves.  Let’s be big to our kids.  Let’s be big with our partners.  Let’s be big in our communities.

Let’s be big.

Let’s find all the ways that we can love and support and assist our loved ones, despite our injuries.  It’s not about how many of our needs are not met because of injury.  It’s about being able to meet the needs of those we love in spite of it.

We can be big in so many small ways.  Ways that matter.  Ways that count.  Ways we may have overlooked before, back when we knew we were King Kong.

Too many of us become bitter, asking why the world and our people don’t get us, don’t help us, don’t accept us, maybe don’t even love us…

Let’s ask, instead, how can we be big for everyone around us?  How can we quiet what we cannot do any longer by making our abilities shout?  How can we be big in terms of goodness, in terms of kindness?  How can we be big to the smaller people in our lives in terms of mentoring, tutoring, supporting, loving?

That isn’t prohibited by a broken brain.  That is missed by a broken heart.

Let’s be big.  I’ll be smiling when I see you coming over the tree line.  I’ll be smiling when I see you coming across the lake.

Let’s be big.






  1. Thanks for your inspiring words! You have a gift of writing and to inspire. I’ve been telling this to all who would listen for over 25 years. Thanks for the reminder to be big and help others.
    I’LL BE BIG!
    May I share this on facebook?

    Comment by Lisa Holloway — September 5, 2018 @ 8:29 am | Reply

    • Thank you, Lisa. I would be honored. Love you. xo

      Comment by karaswanson — September 5, 2018 @ 11:33 am | Reply

  2. Beautifully said! We always have love to offer.

    Comment by Carol — September 5, 2018 @ 2:35 pm | Reply

    • HI Carol. You said it! We’re not going to be judged, in the end, by anything more important than how we treated people. Our people, any people. We will be remembered by our kids and our partners, our families and communities and co-workers….just by how we were to people. How kind and supportive and hopeful and helpful. I’ll take a hopeful person with a brain injury every day over a negative Nancy who doesn’t have one. 🙂

      Comment by karaswanson — September 6, 2018 @ 11:05 am | Reply

  3. Wow Kara another great inspirational blog and a timely reminder. As we all know it’s not easy at times to BE BIG and “not be a grump” It’s at those times I make every effort possible to “dig in” and to be what I call (to myself) “normal”. And I laugh and say to myself “haha what the heck is normal… I’ve never been normal hahahaha”.

    I am blessed that those that know me know that sometimes the smiles and laughter and even my presence is not how I’m really feeling. They see the signs. So even if we are having a family dinner with our boys, their partners and a 2 year old grandson they will understand if I quietly slip away for a “defrag” or even a sleep. And if I decide to be staunch they tell me to go rest hahaha.

    Yes I am blessed and I understand that not everyone is. So, for anyone reading Kara’s blog above and reading my comment, I know how hard it is to BE BIG. It can feel lonely even impossible. Be encouraged though by the fact you are not alone in this struggle.

    Live, Love, Laugh

    Comment by Kym Taylor — September 16, 2018 @ 8:01 pm | Reply

    • I guess my point was that “being big” doesn’t have to be too big for us. Sometimes just a note, a nod, a small gesture…means the world to someone in need and we can do this. It’s not about struggling through things that we can no longer manage or tolerate. It’s about sharing those awesome pieces of us, to a loved one or a stranger, in ways that count and matter. Maybe we cannot handle a ten hour long day with family at a double-header ball game. But we can share a special text to let that kid know how much we love and support him/her. We possess a unique perspective which allows us to offer a genuine compassion to those who might similarly and invisibly struggle from loss, disappointment, depression, trauma, hidden diseases, etc. Importance and worth doesn’t have to include too long and too much of what we can no longer share. We can still make a great difference in a million special ways. 🙂

      Comment by karaswanson — September 17, 2018 @ 10:40 am | Reply

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