Saturday, January 25, 2014

16 Months and counting... ...

This is a period of milestones, or at least understanding of recovery milestones. Fifteen (15) months is a significant milestone in brain injury recovery.

The first three (3) months after brain injury there is, apparently, no recovery taking place. The brain is stabilizing after receiving such a shock. The different parts of the brain have to figure out how to work together... Again. Re-learning basic life functions is of the order. Recovery happens after that time and last for one (1) year.

This, to me, makes great sense. I think about the issues and troubles I went through this past year and I can only see how insufficient I was during them. And, I have to admit this, I am such a well practiced liar. That is being honest about how skilled I was, and still am, at being dishonest.

Now, I am not nefarious in any way shape or form. I never withhold vital or critical information. In fact, my lying has nothing to do with information that belongs to anyone else. However, it is directed inward at myself personally.

I have not had a good life. Some of the disasters of my life were partially self inflicted but, truth be told, I have never sought out my disaster. I've just weathered them as good as I can.

These disasters started very young, in fact.

When I was a toddler I, through opportunity and exploration, totaled a car that was parked on a hill. Now, that should be a lesson to the adult don't leave a toddler in a parked car on a hill. A parked car without a working parking brake at the least!

So accident away! Of course being of toddler age and growth I think I may have brain recovered sooner than three (3) months but, tbh, my memory of that time is very vague. What I do remember, to my mother's horror, is the punishment I received. I was abused, physically & sexually, in retaliatory manner for my "oops". This is troubling for me as I lived up to what happens to abused toddlers: they grow up and cause abuse around them if not prevented and dealt with!

As a teener I caused abuse in some around me however my mentality and philosophy shifted away from evil towards good from the efforts of two wonderful men. Wayne B. Fields, my stepfather, look of disappointment shattered my world. I love him so much, then & now, that having him look at me that way destroyed my psyche. Sherwood Nichols, a psychologist at University of Pennsylvania, spent many an afternoon after school exploring my thoughts and helping me to explore them as well.

And while this was going on, ghetto public school life for a white mensan was going on at the same time. As an added complication: My mother was dealing with her undiagnosed bi-polarism. Imagine, if you will, a little mensan toddler being raised at the knee of a raging bi-polar individual. The lasting impact of my step-father is here. His stabilizing personality, his enduring nature, gave me comfort so that I could weather the changes.

In fact, I have learned to be my father (step-father). Nothing shocks me, nothing upsets me, nothing affects me unless I choose to react to it. I react to nothing without a moment's thought BEFORE reaction. This aspect of me has saved my life many times over. Many more times than my parents will ever be aware of and I have striven to make it that way.

So what or where do I lie?

Body Language.

I lie with my body language. Quite well I might add. Mostly I exude confidence (self) and an air of respect. Like a cloak or jacket, I put respect on every times I get out of bed. (Like my father.)

Why? Initially it formed as a defensive measure to avoid my mother's insights and responses. Later, it was developed by Wayne B. Fields (through imitation) and Sherwood Nichols (through psychology). Life just reinforced the value of such practices until eventually it is simply, who I am.

What does this mean? I, at times, really don't know what the hell I am talking about. Yes, I am quite full of BS though you won't feel that as I talk through a situation.

Am I phony? Heck no, however I never want you to see any side of me for you to start wondering about what might be there. I am "apparently" open to the eyes, gregarious to a fare the well, a man without a hidden though of any kind. A well meaning and likable buffoon most of the time.

That is the impression I develop to avoid having to deal with  insightful others. Mensans make this extremely hard however there are many just plain "Joes" out there that are painfully swift of mind. It is not easy avoiding inspection especially in today's hyper-sensitive world. Do something out of the ordinary... "What's wrong with him"?

"You cannot strengthen one by weakening another; and you cannot add to the stature of a dwarf by cutting off the leg of a giant"

My life has been surrounded by zero-sum game players. My mother, her side of the family, my schools, my military units, my jobs. Every time I have risen up from the crowd... I have been hurt be those around me. That is why I have developed such a good technique of lying. That is what makes my marriage so special: I turn it off when I am with her. Actually, my time with her made me realize how much I was doing it and lead me on the introspection to identify and assess it.

However, the recovery process of this Tall Poppy's brain has been roughened up by parts of our society. The list goes on of the abuse I have received from organizations. Heck, just even mentioning brain injury excludes me from rational conversation apparently. The talk goes on around me but never at me unless someone demands an answer for something their poor minds can not wrap around. I.e. Explaining why I did what&what at such&such time 6 months before my accident(!?!). Apparently my brain injury has, in many minds, created a doorway that any fool can just barge on through with enough verbal force. Sadly people tend to forget several things about me that a smart person would never, ever, forget:

I grew up in the Ghetto of North Philadelphia,
I was trained in their public school how to survive ... And fight.
I was further trained how to survive, and fight, by the 101st Airborne in Ft. Campbell, K.Y. (red neck heaven for the black man's kid).
I was tested by fire in Iraq during Desert Shield/Storm/Scram.
I have outlived three daughters and I don't walk around with a wet face from tears.
I worked in Silicon Valley as a highly sought after consultant.

What in the Good Lord's name can any of you bring into my life other than more of God's wondrous variety? Not fear, not trouble, not discord. Not of any kind that I have not seen before and survived. That is, in the end of it all, what I am:

The truest Survivor of any kind.

My nick name is "Q" however one that was thrown at me that should have stuck: Bounce Back Kid.

PS: My wife was listening to the radio the other day and she heard a song and said that song clicked for her. In her words, that song is me. I am right now practicing the song through a wave a tears. Some day I will sing it myself however I can only share it with you via youtube with performers far beyond my skill.

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