Friday, November 30, 2012

Born to Surf: Just Haven’t Done It Yet

Even late in November, I’ve been eyeing the surfers off the coast of Maine…yes, they’re in wetsuits, but dang it, they’re surfing!

Do you ever feel like you’d be really good at something? Something you just keep Jonesin’ to do? Something you were born to do? My thing is surfing. Last year, I was going to try it with a friend but we just couldn’t coordinate our schedules with the waves then the drop in temps and my lack of a wet suit.

There hasn’t been a day in the last year and then some where I’ve seen big waves and haven’t just dreamed about riding them. I’ve been loving boogie boarding the last several years which I think is close. The bigger the waves, the better. Got the whole reading the ocean and paddling to catch the big ones down. Seems to me that surfing is just an extension of that…just need to stand up while catching that wave. And since I always do a push up off the board when I come in, I know I could get up on a longer board without a problem.

Summer of 2011. That's Ocean Hair, Baby!

It’s hard for me to explain the sheer joy that I feel when I’m in the water riding a wave…even if it has only been on a boogie board. The few times I went out to do that this summer were the only times when I haven’t felt my head pound from my head injury in May. 

Catching my breath between rides on an awesome boogie boarding day.

I know that I have some more healing to do before I can go surfing. There’s that whole balance thing that is kind of an issue. Seems rather necessary on a surf board. I keep walking on the beach. One of my neurologists said that it’s great to help with balance (and I suppose if I was to fall, it’s rather soft). Can’t beat walking on one of my favorite places in the world.

You can't tell me this wouldn't be fun?

Not sure how a girl from Upstate New York (the way upstate, not the just out of NYC upstate) can have such a love of the ocean. Maybe it’s my water sign (Cancer – the crab)? Maybe it was from summers spent playing in the big waves of Lake Ontario? Not sure exactly what it is, but the taste of the salt water on my lips and the way I feel so at home in the water just adds to the feeling I get when I think about surfing.

Yea. I'll be doing that soon.

And for now, it’s a goal for me. Not that I can rush the healing that my brain still needs to do, but it’s something I’m looking forward to. Really looking forward to. Even if I haven’t done it yet, I will. After all, I was born to surf.

Is there something you feel you were born to do? Are you doing it? Please share!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

But, You Look Fine…

One of the hardest parts of having this head injury has been fighting what others say. I wrote about it once and I’m still dealing with it. Since day one, I’ve heard, “But, you look fine.” For the most part, yea, I look in the mirror and see that same person that had been there before (minus a little spark in my eyes). I like to joke and say that I can’t help being so adorable…I was born that way. I guess if I had ended up splitting my head open and having some sort of disfiguring injury, I might elicit a bit more sympathy.

I may look fine on the outside. Inside...not so much.
It’s hard for friends, and even family, to look at me and think that I’ve got something wrong going on. “You look fine,” they say. What no one sees is the extreme thought and energy that I need to use now to accomplish even the simplest of tasks. When I have to focus and concentrate on doing something, I end up absolutely exhausted. Like I ran a marathon. I’ll have to take a nap that may be longer than the amount of time it took to do the task. Seems stupid, I know, especially when I used to be the Queen of Multi-Tasking. The previous me would think it was stupid too. But, to those with post-concussive syndrome, or PCS, this is normal.

Being able to take a short walk a few times a week is a success. I’m trying to work my way up to a mile. For me, that seems crazy. Especially when it’s on relatively flat ground, too. Like the beach. I miss my days of hiking. Doing the 4,000+ footers in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Going out on those trails that say they are only for the most experienced of hikers. The ones where if you fall in a crevice, you’ll need rope to climb out. The ones where if you fall, you have to do everything in your power to grab hold of a root or something to stop your sliding descent. The ones where you bring survival gear just because you never know what situation you’ll run into or what weather may blow in. Now, I walk a hundred feet or so and rest a few moments. You can’t tell me that isn’t frustrating.

This is a goal of be able to stand on top of a mountain again.

Admitting your limitations to yourself is hard. Knowing what you used to be capable of doing and comparing it to what you can do now is hard. I look like I should be able to walk any distance or even go for a run. I look like I should be able to work. I look like I could mow my own lawn. I look like I could go out in a noisy restaurant or bar and meet up with people. I look like I could be in a store for more than 40 minutes. I look like I could ride a bike. I look like I could vacuum my house without earplugs. I look like… I look like I could do a lot of things. But, right now still, I can’t.

A friend of mine, who is also a psychologist, has been a wonderful support in this whole, ‘But, you look fine’ thing. He has Lyme Disease. I’ll call him Jim. To the average person, Jim is a good-looking, normal guy. No spots, no bulls-eyes on his face. He’s smart and funny. He’s a normal Joe. Or, Jim. Because of the Lyme, he has fare-ups where he is absolutely exhausted, where his clothes feel like they’re made out of sandpaper, where he has excruciating headaches. But, he looks fine. People with cancer can also look fine, another friend pointed out. Ask them how fine they feel.

This isn’t a case of mind-over-matter either. It’s just a brain injury. A real, honest-to-goodness invisible injury that is just taking its own sweet time to heal. I know that I’m better off than a lot of people who have had concussions. And, I’m worse off than others. I’m thanking my lucky stars that I can still write and spell (though, I do actually mess that up often these days and as a writer and Boggle and Scrabble psycho, that’s tough). I can function on my own for most daily tasks. Thanks to all my friends who have helped me with the tasks I just can’t do. I can still drive. I can still laugh and smile, though I don’t always understand things like I used to. Especially if I wasn’t fully concentrating on what someone was saying.

So, if you see me, or someone else with a silent illness, give that person a little slack, or maybe a little help. Just because we may look fine, it doesn’t mean we really are.

Do you or someone you know “look fine” but aren’t and are going through a similar situation? Please share below.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

We Are All Pink On the Inside

Close your eyes.
Picture your spouse.

Think of how they make you feel. When you see them first thing in the morning. When you see them at the end of the day. When you see them after you’ve been apart even longer. When you are sharing close couple or family time together.

How do you feel when you see them smile? When you laugh with them? When you talk about your day with them? When you are making plans for the future with them? When you are doing the little day-to-day things together?

Love. Should just be simple.

Think of how they take care of you. How it feels to have them there for you. In sickness and in health. At home or in the hospital. Through all of life’s ups and downs.

Can you picture their hand in yours? How it feels when they hold you close? When your lips meet? When you make love? What does it do to your body? Your mind? Your soul?

Now, with that comfort you feel, the love that you feel, the warmth that rushes through you, those tingles that still excite you…does it really matter what sex they are? You’ve connected with them as a person for who they are on the inside. And for how they treat you. And for how they love you. And how they make you feel.

Why should heterosexual couples be able to have this (and all the legal and tax benefits that go with it) and gay and lesbian couples can’t?

Isn’t love just love?

If gay marriage was the norm, we wouldn't need to parade.
Well, we probably still would. Dang, we have the best parades.

Please support gay marriage during this election and help see that it becomes common place across the country. Everyone has a right to openly love and be loved.

It shouldn’t matter what we look like on the outside to love, we’re all pink on the inside.

Are you in a state where they are voting for gay marriage? Do you already live where gay marriage is legal? How do you feel about this issue? Does your religion affect your view? Please share below.