“What’s in your wallet?” I chuckle to find jingles and advertising slogans ‘stuck in my head’ as I pack a bag for a weekend of adventure and love. I pack in a fairly structured way, beginning with thinking through what I hope to do, and envisioning getting ready for those sorts of things – what might I miss? I make a list (and yes, sorted by categories of things, it’s part of ‘who I am’). This morning, I take another look at the list and assembled the listed items, group them, pack them, and move on to the next trusting that the planning is adequate to the purpose. If I think of something I overlooked, I add it to the list as well as packing it; the list will be the last thing packed, and a handy resource on the other end of the weekend to ensure that all the things I thought I might need also make their way back with me. 🙂
I don’t make a point of calling this out day-to-day, but for the benefit of those joining me here more recently; having a brain injury definitely affects how I do what I do, and it is also a very… personalized? Customized. It’s a very individual sort of thing in some regards; what works for me to cope with my own gaps, losses, quirks, etc, is very likely to be finger-print-distinctive if compared to what someone else with a TBI does to cope with their own needs. I do well making lists… which is kind of a good thing, since I also feel a certain… compulsion… to do so. 🙂 We are who we are, right? I mention it, because it may be that some readers may come to this blog with the perception that there are ‘one size fits all’ perfect-fit solutions to the chaos and damage they – or a loved one – may be experiencing. It’s not that easy. Perhaps if it were as easy as following some handy steps on a cheat sheet shared by all who suffer a head injury, I wouldn’t still be noodling around blogging about ‘wtf??’, ‘how the hell??’ and ‘oh, hey… that worked’ in this haphazard trial and error sort of way? 🙂 We are each having our own experience.
Anyway… moving on… this morning I am finding myself fairly engaged with the process of preparing for adventure, and packing what I’ll need. I consider everything quite carefully, not wanting to drag around a lot of weight that doesn’t serve a definite need. I find myself wondering how I can shift gears, and look at life itself through the lens of packing for adventure, applying the power of metaphor (and perhaps some linguistic shenanigans) to extract a better understanding of bags and ‘baggage’ on life’s journey… Could I… ‘pack lighter’? Could I drag along fewer things that no longer truly serve a purpose? If I were to consider my needs with greater care, and lighten my emotional load? I learn so much about myself, and about life and living, by contemplating the whole of it within the context of some smaller process or task.
…My poetry notebook! Damn… I almost forgot to pack it. I mean…I can write poetry on napkins in diners, and even in the quiet moments walking along, in my own head (some of my best poetry never finds its way to paper)… but… I do like writing it down neatly in my notebook, and poetry is one style of written communication which I never leave behind. The weight of a notebook, versus the weight of the unspoken word? Yeah. The notebook goes with me. 🙂 (For a moment, the demon chorus in the background gives voice to a bitter and angry hurt woman of long ago, “What are you, fucking 12?” and I am briefly stalled on the hurt I feel, delivered by my own brain. I take a deep breath, and allow myself to recognize the profound struggle to be heard represented, and show myself a moment of real compassion – it has been hard, and there are times when I’ve hurt myself worse than the world ever would think to, and it isn’t at all necessary or helpful. I imagine a softer kinder me giving that bitter angry woman a tender hug and a smile, as I pack the notebook; it’s important to both of us.)
It’s a lovely quiet morning with a good cup of coffee and a packing list. Adventure awaits!