Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

April 30, 2019

Fig Lips

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 10:29 am

Here in Michigan, per usual, the Springtime comes in fits and starts.  We have enjoyed glorious days of breezy sunshine and blue skies in the seventies.  And then, with rare fail, we shiver and bump along, grumbling at the forecasts for late-April snow.

We wait and we wait, so many of us putting off our plans, our anticipations, our….happiness.

Yesterday the forecast said we would have chilly showers and struggle to reach the high 40s.  Through the early hours it poured a steady blanket of damp, November-like rain.  My headache stormed.  My arthritis bucked and cussed.

I was tired of waiting and so I made my own fresh start.  My own….Spring.

I went to the store and, at first, I began to fill my shopping cart with all my typical normals.  And then I thought, nope.  It’s Spring.  It may not look and feel like Spring and I may be tempted to wait again and longer.

But nope.  Not this time.

I cleared my basket and I started again.  I bought different versions of every staple.  New flavors and scents and versions of every hair product, shampoo, soap and body-fixer-upper I use.

I now have some kind of black coal face towelettes simply because I love the packaging and I am such a sucker for packaging.  I have sugar scrubs and lime mousse made for curls, even though I have poker-straight hair.

I am trying to inspire my hair to over-achieve.

Out of the dozen or more choices of Burt’s Bees tinted lip balms, I chose Fig.  FIG!  LOLOLOL.  I now am going to have soft, luscious fig lips.

And I am delighted to the point of giggling at myself.

We can’t just wait for Spring to come.  Not outside our doors and not inside the windows to our hearts and our souls.

We have to make Spring in any way and in every way we can.

I wish you all Spring, inside and out.  Go treat yourself to lips of watermelon, raisin or hot mocha.   I double-dog dare you to be as sassy as me.   Kiss your winter good-bye, both outside and in, with your sultry fig lips.  :)))))

Rock on, warriors!!!!!!

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April 14, 2019

Where Is The Best Of You?

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 10:55 am

Most of us in the brain-injured community think that, without quibble, the best of us can be found pre-injury.  Back in the day….

We speak with sad fondness and some with sharp anger, still, of better days and better ways we enjoyed before these injuries plucked us from our fabulous and deposited us here, where find ourselves.

I recognize this “yesteryear longing” in my friends and loved ones who, only now, are old enough to recognize the fading and sagging and softening and blurring of aging bodies and minds.

Not to be a fly in the butter here but I think everyone’s wrong.

You were never more important than you are today.  Never more powerful and capable to affect the world around you.  Never more gifted the opportunity to imprint and impart good upon this world and to and through the loved ones in your life.

To be honest, no one much cares who we were back then, anymore than they care to hear yellowed stories from the so many who wish to replay their glory days of high school or college fame on stages and fields and courts and in classrooms.

Anyone who has glory days to recall are fortunate and good for them.  Those memories and stories and faded news clippings will feed egos for a lifetime.

But for us, any of us, brain injury or not, who we used to be isn’t going to help around the house today.  It’s not going to help our kids with their math homework or their confusion about sex or their golf swing or jump shot.  Who we were back then isn’t going to teach a proud son how to tie a tie or how to fill a tire with air.  It’s not going to help a daughter with her Spelling Bee words or her curveball or the confusing ways that boys are acting now.

All that good and better we used to be isn’t going to rub the tired shoulders or draw the warm bath for that partner who is so stressed and weary because he or she is carrying an extra load now.  It’s not going to clean the house or do the laundry or lighten the load in any way.

That’s for the us of today.

The people around us, the ones we love most, don’t care so much anymore of any long-fading glories.  When life is racing by in chaotic, noisy, changing households, the glory we have to give…need to give….is the glory of the day.

The glory of today.

Our loved ones don’t care that we can’t do what we did twenty years ago or ten years ago or two.  They want to know that we are joining today.  That we are battling with them. That we are sharing and reducing their loads, their stresses, their demands.

Our kids, our parents, our partners, our friends….they already know what we must learn as quickly as we can:

The person we left back there can’t help today.

But we can.

We can help today.

Can you spend a little time outside yourself?  Outside of this.  The loss and the anger.  Can you spend some time with them and for them, being NOT the person you loved before.  But, instead, being the person they might want to love again tomorrow?

For most of us, the bar is not set as high as we fear it.  The demands are not as great as we imagine them to be.

It’s simply about asking, “How can I help?”  “What do you need?”  “Is there something I can do?”

Makes all the difference.

If you can choose that…If you can choose now…

Then the best of you is right here.  Today and tomorrow and, God help us, the day after that.

That’s the truth.  That’s our truth.

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