Brace yourself. I am more inspired at this very moment than I have been in a long while. I have NO idea what is going to happen as I sit and reflect tonight. All good things… but I’m like a child who just got the EXACT present they were asking for at Christmas. I’m just EMPOWERED!
First, let me set the scene: (background information may not be THAT important, but just go with it…) 🙂 As I unburied this laptop from a stack of yet-to-be-graded papers, I have also found myself multi-tasking and having a bowl of Lucky Charms at 9:16 at night (I know, it’s not a glass of wine, but it’ll give me the comfort I’m looking for). It’s late at night, but I feel like I could give an inspiration speech! About what? Oh you’ll see. I’m documenting it right in front of you for your reading pleasure. 🙂
So I just spent the last two hours listening to a presentation given by Dr. Kathy Masarie. I’ve never heard of her before today and I may not encounter her again in my life, but she made me want to be a part of the change I believe in. First, if you are reading this, you may know that I am in tune (or try to be) with brain research. Some may think it’s because I’m a teacher (you know.. learning and brain things go together right?) Welp, that’s not what compels me to read and research about brain science. It’s because I am a testimony to how a brain can HEAL. What I was able to overcome (with many helping hands) is what makes me the INSPIRED teacher and person that I am. Sometimes I want to stand on a mountain and proudly announce to every one about it (in the most humble way possible) haha. So here I am, about to proudly give my testimony about the fact that I was able to overcome a traumatic brain injury with perseverance, endurance and loving support!
So let me get scientific for a minute (without putting you to sleep). There’s this amazing new discovery that has shifted brain research and science. Our brains are a muscle (yes more than that too) but our brains can get stronger and can heal from trauma because (again), it’s like a muscle. To be more specific, I’m trying to describe the concept of neuroplasticity. It’s late, so I’m not going to go much deeper than that. Though I genuinely believe that overcoming my traumatic brain injury is PROOF that there is such a thing as neuroplasticity. To know our brains are malleable and able to heal after social, physical, emotional impacts with intentional practices (some just being a slight shift in WHAT we say)– should empower EVERYONE!
Anyhow.. I would like to give my short testimony about my brain injury recovery and I’m not thinking tonight is the best time though I’m gonna go for it. May the risk be worth it. 🙂
When I was almost 20, I thought I knew where my life was going to take me. I was gonna get my two year degree at Olympic College, while living in my parents’ newly built home and then go to college to be a teacher (preferably Northwest College in Kirkland at the time). My parents were greatly supportive to me during these times, and I appreciate them for letting me stay with them while I started my post-high school endeavors.
Well, with my drive, came a little edge of strong-will. I knew what was best for me, right? I made good decisions and respected others. Nothing bad could come of that right?! Well, until I was told that I couldn’t do something that I found there to be no problem doing: driving to the airport at 11:00 pm to say goodbye one more time right? I will never forget how I spoke to my parents when they told me how much they didn’t want me to do that. It came back to bite me hard. They didn’t want me to go because they knew I would be too tired and they wanted me to be safe. I didn’t listen. Sure enough, they were painfully right. Let’s not go into more details of what happened that night/morning after I fell asleep at the wheel when I was almost home. It’s too emotional to write about. It made a profound impact on my family and I can’t imagine what my parents went through.
Yet, with my mom holding my hand, and helping me in and out of the car (when I know I had the “I’m fine” attitude with her), she diligently took me to speech therapy every day for a long time (3 months?) I’ll never forget the first therapy session. Being 20 and unable to do things that a 5 year old could do, devastated me. But by-golly! I stuck with it! As mundane as some of the tasks were- they worked! I was able to rewire my brain so it could access information that was still there!!! The pathways just got a little mixed up and they needed to be rebuilt. To know that my memories were still there and that all the knowledge that I had attained through the years weren’t lost, was a new level of empowerment I can’t explain.
So because of this- I am incredibly empowered and inspired by the growing research and discovery of how we can contribute to the growth and healing of our minds. I want to be a part of that inspirational journey; more than being a testimony. That is why I am so motivated by our presentation tonight. Many great things were taught that were supported by brain research.
Tonight made me also experience what I could do someday. I could use my experience to inspire others by brain research to reach the social-emotional needs of others and to help our brains heal from all different levels of trauma. Hmmmm… Unfortunately- I don’t find myself getting my doctorate degree anytime soon… but I’m choosing to still keep ‘in the know’ and where that takes me… I guess we’ll just have to find out together.
Till then my friends, I should give myself five minutes post-screen time to allow my hormones to switch over to rest mode, and have a sound sleep so I can apply myself tomorrow and be my personal best.
But like always, I end in a song.
Here’s a little Jack Johnson “Upside Down” (shortened for the sake of not repeating the same thing)
Who’s to say
Well they forgot
This world keeps spinning
And with each new day
I can feel a change in everything
And as the surface breaks reflections fade
But in some ways they remain the same
And as my mind begins to spread its wings
There’s no stopping curiosity
I want to turn the whole thing upside down
I’ll find the things they say just can’t be found
I’ll share this love I find with everyone
We’ll sing and dance to Mother Nature’s songs
I don’t want this feeling to go away
Who’s to say
I can’t do everything
Well I can try
And as I roll along I begin to find
Things aren’t always just what they seem