As I look back over all the essays I’ve written, both before and after the accident, slowly but surely I begin to see vague glimpses to my all-consuming question, “God, what on earth am I good for now?” I mean, every time I try to talk about this to my family, my friends, my counselor, or basically anyone else they just quickly jump in and say “You’re LOTS of good! Look at all the things you can do!” Or there’s the tack of “It’s not what you DO that matters, it’s how you make people FEEL.” Well, all too often, despite my best intentions, I make the people around me feel like total crap. How do I justify that?”
I decided this spring that if I couldn’t do much stuff, at least I could make the people that come to me feel good. Most of the time that works. Much of the time. And then……..I suddenly get into a terrible terrible terrible funk and just want to tear everything and everyone down for no reason. And now I am verbal and clever enough again to get it done with extreme efficiency.
I am NOT a passive person. I’ve made great strides at waiting, not pushing, in these past 3 years. Oh yes. I’ll freely admit that I was pretty sucky at waiting before. But I really need, for my family’s sake and myself, to find something productive and creative to do with my time.
I keep trying different things and striking out out at all of them so far except for one: telling my story. And wow, do I have a tale to tell now! I suppose it’s just like a good fairy tale, or an adventure story, where something interesting has to happen to the hero/heroine. Some great cataclysm. Maybe that’s why He allowed me to live, so that I could testify. Writing is something I have always loved. In college I was so freaky passionate about my writing and English classes that I ended up with a minor in English.
But that’s in the past, and a little bit of remembering goes a long way. No, the very sticky bit is to not get “stuck.” Stuck in only being able to see things through one lens, from one angle. That’s why cars have a huge windshield but also are equipped with small side and rear view mirrors. You’re supposed to spend most of your time looking where you’re going, but sometimes glance back where you’ve been and see what’s coming up from behind. I just made that up, so possibly it’s the stupidest thing ever.
It’s just how I have to live now, though. I can’t go back to how I was. That boat has sailed. I have to imagine a new way of being now.
If piano or singing or teaching or choral conducting are not possible right at this time, writing seems to be something that I can do, and from my home. Goodness knows that I have enough peace and quiet and time to get it done now! There’s the niggling problem of no income, but I just need to finish my book right now and who knows?
My oldest daughter and my husband bought me this computer which was identical to the one I used to have at school, so I could understand how to use it. Things weren’t going at all smoothly with our home laptop….so I was really grateful for this computer! Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks, but very possibly not a brain-damaged dog. At least not for a good long while.
All my family spent so much time with me, in evenings when they were already tired, editing my feeble beginnings, because I simply couldn’t see much of anything. I would misspell, use run-on sentences which I probably never would have before, and I just couldn’t see punctuation marks at all. It’s much better now but still a problem. If you read my blog from the beginning, you’ll see that my entries are getting longer and more complex, although my family kept me from publicly humiliating myself. They edited out most of the big glaring mistakes. They are all great writers and I owe them all a huge debt of gratitude.
At first I had to learn the basics of typing and computer keyboarding again, and try to remember how the darned thing even worked. I told my speech therapist that I was working on a book, and I was struggling with typing. She showed me a wonderful voice recognition software program that we could buy very cheaply, and it all seemed great! Luckily my husband had me try out the free one that came with my computer first….I sat down to start in great excitement. I hadn’t reckoned with my newfound autism. I could not manage somehow to get my thoughts out of my brain and into my mouth in any sort of a fluent fashion. The minute I would start sitting in front of the microphone I would just freeze up. So I realized there was no other solution to getting it done than relearning how to type.
This is so unbelievably meta—writing a blog post about me learning to write again, and how this may be my new path towards life. It’s just like some of my staff developments in the past, where we went “meta” into what learning really is. But I secretly used to sort of dig that stuff, even though I would always have to make the obligatory “this is such a drag!” groans so the other music staff wouldn’t think I was too much of a geek. Feels really good to be thinking that deeply into things again. I don’t consider myself “creative” in the sense of coming up with original ideas: my head has just never been filled with plots, ideas, characters, or situations. But IDEAS! Come to me with the germ of an idea, and I can, as my husband has often regretted, build it in a matter of hours into a full-blown skyscraper of a concept, which may or may not ever happen.
I know you’re already poking holes in this idea. “But whatever happened to your supposed need to bounce ideas off other people? Aren’t you forgetting about that?” No, I am not. That is a problem. A kind of huge one, right now. But I can always change: people can. And as the song goes, “there will be an answer….let it be.” Come on, let’s all sing it. I can hear you out there humming right now. Louder. Take a bigger breath….you’re dealing with a choir teacher here.