Saturday, July 11, 2020

Challenges of Learning


As someone who has lived with a learning disability for years, an after effect from an acquired brain injury, I’ve come to accept certain challenges along the pathway to learning. Pacing myself and being patient are key contributors to any of my successes; however, in many ways, I know that there is still more for me to realize and gain.

The other day when I rolled out of bed, I threw on a t-shirt I have without much thought about it until I went to the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror. A brain injury awareness shirt that states “Making invisible visible”. Staring at those words it hit me as to how much that saying can mean, how many things it can apply to.

The world around me is in a state of unease, a lot going on to wrap my head around; for me, and I think maybe for anyone. Not only is there this devastating global pandemic, but the disturbing anger and gun violence that we continue to see, the horrors of anti-black racism, the increasing mental health issues from being semi-isolated, and worrying over sickness and death.

It is all invisible until it is visible in the after math, and I think we all hope to find a way to move forward to something better. These things of unease, unfortunately and sadly, are not entirely new. It makes me question, can we learn? Can we relearn? Can I? If so, what can I do?

I’m the calm and quiet guy type; the guy who tries to see the positive light at the end of the dark tunnel; a guy who thinks of himself as open minded and accepting to others and the changes that come. But to continue being that guy I have to be honest with my mistakes; I have to admit to what I don’t know or forget or cannot see; I have to learn how to re-learn the things I thought I already knew;… and these things may be the most challenging part of the entire learning process.

I love the world that I live in, despite the problems that raise concern and cause stress. Maybe I’m na├»ve.  I don’t know if the anxious moments that hit the pit of my stomach can ever truly be erased, but I have to believe improvement and best quality can be achieved. A better tomorrow is waiting to be discovered, I know it is there. Hard work, communication, listening, education, (the list can be endless really) is the way to find it. This is the path and it is continuous.

It is not just one thing, it is everything. We cannot just train ourselves out of an issue, we need to engage in meaningful dialogue and make sure that good communication is happening in everything we do. Being that calm and quiet guy type can make it difficult for me at times, but I need to try; I don’t really see another choice. 


Sunday, April 12, 2020

Dancing in the Rain


I close my eyes, it is one of those great memories that brings a smile to my face and allows a peaceful feeling to settle over me.

When I was younger my dad would take my mom, my sister and me on a two week summer vacation. We’d all climb into the old station wagon for a two-day road trip, stopping a nights rest at a hotel along the way. The car would fill with music from the tape machine that belted out tunes from Kenny Rogers, The Bee Gees, Crystal Gayle, Barbara Streisand and ABBA.

Sarasota Florida. We rented a condo. Walking the sandy beach. Playing in the pool. Laughing over a family night game of UNO out on the balcony. The food… oh the food.

And the rain.

Those sunny warm rain showers.

Under the watchful eye of my dad, my sister and I were allowed to venture out and down to the empty tennis courts. Laughing and dancing in the puddles. Me and the only person I ever wanted to hang with... my closest friend.

In today’s difficult times, it is memories like this that I need to draw upon; to help get me through.

I have lived through a viral brain infection and the challenges it has brought into my life including a learning disability; the loss of my dad and soon after both grandparents, one to emphysema complications and the other, cancer. Financial stresses; health woes; my mother’s fall and acquired brain injury, a car accident that I managed to stumble away from but my car did not, and now, this pandemic. 

As I write this I know that the worry and stress and anxiety from it are not over, but I will survive. I will get through resting on the memory of dancing in the rain.
And just as we all have great memories like this to fall upon, together we will survive.