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“At the heart of each of us, whatever our imperfections, there exists a silent pulse of perfect rhythm, which is absolutely individual and unique, and yet which connects us to everything else.”

I love this quote for a number of reasons which I’ll try to explain. When I was younger, I often chose to swim upstream because I wanted to appear unique and not a follower. A lot of times that just left me too exhausted to catch up with those swimming in the right direction. Sometimes I chose to suffer for bruises to my ego because it seemed dramatic while neglecting those in serious pain. I battled needlessly against perceived enemies only to find that they were actually my allies who were trying to protect me. I stopped too often to applaud my accomplishments and forgot to applaud those who fueled my efforts and sometimes had to carry me there.

I’m older now and fresh off a life threatening and life altering injury. I had to relearn reading, math, writing, walking, and even the names of people and things. Not a huge problem because with the proper effort, these skills generally returned. I also had to reconnect with not only who I am and once that process began, people and things around me. In a sense I was a figurative infant who was acutely aware of my surroundings, what was existing around me, and how it started to connect with my own daily existence while I grew up again.

Now when I swim upstream, it’s because I will not succumb to going in the direction that challenges my basic belief structure. When I suffer, it’s usually for those who are seriously in physical and emotional pain. When I first began therapy, I saw young individuals who were recovering from having part of their skulls removed for weeks to relieve pressure from a brain bleed and it was chilling to realize I was not far removed from that happening to me. When I battle, it is generally for something or someone and the only time I’ve battled against anyone has been against doctors or those who said I probably couldn’t do something when they hadn’t even seen me try. I share accomplishments with not only those closest to me but also by trying to stay upbeat thereafter, even to strangers, because why should I make someone else’s day worse while I have been so fortunate.

I’ve also found that even though those closest to me still drive me crazy, they still keep me driven. Also loving your fellow man does not mean feeling the same passion you have for your spouse or partner. It means being aware that we share the same planet and that when our paths cross, we shouldn’t instinctively step aside but acknowledge their presence and that all of humanity is improved with our own human interaction. Sometimes we may feel lonely but we should be comforted that we are never alone. Realizing all this makes me question the diagnosis of brain injury when I’ve learned so much!