Twinkle, Twinkle little star
How far did you really fall?
Or was it only expectation
That left you feeling obscure
Malady, malady of contentment
Fleeting as a falling star
Was it there at the stare?
To be a glare, opaque
Brilliance as it were
Yet appearing in despair
Of the air, perfectionism declare
It was complete, now insecure
Greatness, Triumph, Celebration
Minimize, oh there
Because was it really clear
Or only a buoyant mirage unclear
I wrote this poem a little over 11 years ago. I wrote the poem at a time in my life when I could not accept myself. I was still in living in denial. Sure I had been in a car accident at the age of 10, had an open skull fracture, was in a coma for 3 weeks, but that did not matter. Having an acquired brain injury had not stopped me from obtaining my undergraduate and graduate degrees. Much of my identity was connected to my ability to achieve academically. Consequently, I spent much of my time intellectualizing my experiences.
I had a difficult time accepting my deficits and limitations. I lived in the shadows of other people’s expectations. I regularly bought into other people’s denial systems. I shamed myself for my not being more. I had a very difficult time reconciling my ability to achieve academically (read my post, My Journey thus Far for more information) with my inability to maintain employment. This discrepancy also befuddled both my family and my friends. Consequently, I spent a great deal of time and energy in my attempt to overcompensate for my limitations and deficits. Reality nevertheless proved that I was indeed disabled.
Over the past 11 years I have come to terms with being a traumatic brain injury survivor. I have come to accept myself for who I am and what I can give to others. I share from my experience, strength and hope. I no longer seek to be perfect, just excellent. I also believe that my hope comes from my relationship with the God of my understanding. He alone has the big picture.
In the event that you are also a traumatic brain injury survivor please accept your condition. It is as it is. When I stopped trying to be something I was not (someone with out a disability) my life changed for the better. I found that my ability to move beyond perfectionism started when I began living life on life’s terms. When I learned to love and accept myself, just as I am, my ability to create began to flourish. You no longer have to be more than you are. You are enough! Focus on what you do have, not on what you may longer have because of your injury.
The pursuit of excellence involves a journey, not a destination. I had to learn not to judge my efforts. I had to begin living by the principle of progress not perfection. When I stopped trying to prove my worth, I was able to accept the notion of progress. Perfection is a hard taskmaster. Progress is a gentle coach. Don’t give up on yourself. You are worth your best effort. Make excellence your pursuit; to be the best you. That is what I attempt to pursue as a traumatic brain injury survivor. I am not less than, nor am I more than anyone. I am enough, just for today.
I am glad you are part of the family. You are wonderfully you. I am glad we have had this time together. I also look forward to your next visit. Have a great day!
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