Surviving and living with a #TBI is not a fun experience. In fact, it down right sucks. The past six years has caused many ups and downs that I would have never thought I'd encounter, but I guess when you think about it, every human being goes through those moments. It is what shapes us. It is what has definitely shaped my art.
See a year ago, I just picked up the paint brushes again, and I haven't stopped, or slowed down. The main reason for creating is for healing. To get all the things I have trouble saying, out. That is mainly why I also started this blog, to force my fingers and brain to become friends again.
A few years back, after my TBI, in the infancy of my recovery, I tried my hardest to be who I once was. Forced it to the point that I made myself worse. Not resting properly, becoming more on edge. This is when my seizures began. Escalating more, becoming more frequent, because I wasn't giving my body or my brain the proper rest or respect it needed.
As I began to withdraw from life, due to personality changes, and my health just deteriorating, I became a target. A target for others to poke fun at, to make assumptions about, because they didn't understand me or what I was going through. See when those things happen, it only causes more stress, more seizures, more personality changes, more... ugh just more.
The worst part of a Traumatic Brain Injury is that it is an injury people can not see. On the outside, you look "normal", perfectly fine (whatever that means). The Invisible Injury, as it is known to be. Yet it comes with so many long term effects, that even the person with it isn't ready for. Since everyone's brain is different, even doctors can't just bandage you up, and send you on your merry way. It is a constant trial and error of finding everyday balance.
One morning, I woke up, and as I tend to do more than I like to admit, began to reflect on those earlier times of my injury. How I still had the stamina to handle more. More responsibilities, more people, more... I don't know... life... And this is what came out of me, Where'd You Go.
It began with just colors being thrown on canvas. To get out the anger, the pain, the disappointment; not just of myself, but of those who were fading away. The Fakes, as I began to call them. Then the layers of texture with my airbrush and almost dried acrylics to mimic the texture of the brain itself. Then the words... the anger... the horrible things others have said. See that is what stings the hardest sometimes, not remembering who I once was, but how I'm now perceived by others. So wrongly misunderstood and overlooked.
It all happened in layers, just like how these years have progressed. The layers of how I have dealt with this injury - the new version of myself. The labels, the misunderstandings, the losses, everything.
But in the end, the silver, gold and copper details. The lining, the glimmer, the bubbles. The linings/glimmer of hope of the great things that have happened in the mess of it all. The bubbles of happiness, the new life I have built for myself.
Cause YES, I am now disabled. YES, I am not the person I was. YES, things are more challenging and the little things do take more time. YES, people do misinterpret me, A LOT.
But I am not alone, no TBI patient/survivor is, that is why this painting doesn't have just ONE handicap placard on it. We are not alone, we have each other, we have our caregivers, our lives now.
Yes, they might not be what we expected but hey, it's something!