Honoring My Brain and My Heart
All the parts of us, beautiful and messy, add up to our true selves
As is often the case for me, I sat down today to write about one thing (daily intentions) and when I started brainstorming, what came out (intentions and goals) was much different than the plan. I’m going to go with it and put that other idea in the idea garden for another day.
And me taking a moment for a mini fit, cuz I really wanna write about that other thing today, but I love and honor my muse. Deep breath.
[So, this sentence/paragraph got added after the first draft, after I read my first paragraph above and thought… oh, I sound like I’m good to go in the first two sentences, and then I share what’s really happening in my head and that’s where it all, ummmmm... (be gentle and kind with yourself, Angela)... starts to sound a bit… different.]
[In my brainstorming/note scribbling… (which let’s be honest, is really just a free flow of the randomness of my brain caught on paper/screen. So scary!!! LOL!)... No, really, where do these ideas come from?! I love my brain so much! And, it also worked a bit more linearly (is that a word?) before the TBIs (traumatic brain injuries) in my 30s…]
[See, now that I’m on that train of thought, I feel called to share something completely different than the two ideas that were battling above (if you’ve gotten lost already, which really, how could you not? I will redirect you to paragraph 1…) Remember, I was going to write about daily intentions, which then became intentions and goals, and now... ]
Hello, topic #3, welcome to the party! It’s a bit crowded, but, sure, why not?
Ugh, OK, I sense where this is going, and I can already feel a vulnerability hangover headed (no pun intended) my way. Here goes...
Traumas and Challenges and Changes
In different written pieces over time, Charlie and I have shared a bit about some of the challenges I overcame earlier in my life. Specifically, in my 30s, there were many unexpected and unfortunate events that led to traumas that changed my life.
I don’t want to recount them in detail here, as it doesn’t seem the place for that, and would make this much longer than a regular Daily Anchor (DA).
However, because I don’t expect you to know all about me, I will just briefly share that I almost passed away in my early 30s from complications due to a medication I was taking for an ongoing autoimmune disorder. I came away from that experience with PTSD.
A little over a year later, Charlie and I were in a car accident (hit from behind by a teenager who was not paying attention), which caused a lot of physical issues, but also a TBI for me.
And, last year I sustained two concussions. Between the first TBI, about 8 years ago, and the two concussions I sustained last year, I have also experienced a couple of other more minor hits to the head.
Where I Was Before
I mentioned earlier that my brain used to work differently than it does now... and that is quite literally true. Prior to the PTSD and the TBIs, I was in academia and used my brain in very different ways than I do currently.
Throughout my early years: I LOVED puzzles, logic problems were so much fun for me, I could do a lot of quick math in my head, reading was THE BEST THING EVER, science (especially all things anatomy and biology) was the ultimate in cool, and I could remember so many random facts. And, while I hope I can share this with you without it sounding braggy, my IQ scores were above 160.
Where I Am Now
Please know that I share the above with you to give context and comparison to where I am now in my life.
Shit, and, as I am sharing this now I am aware that many, if not most, people in my life don’t know those things in the above paragraph about me. I hid them. I was embarrassed about being smart? Or, in truth, being smart didn’t fit. It didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel like me. I could always point to someone a lot smarter than me. (Note to self: you’ve got some exploring to do. OK, a lot of exploration.)
[Tightness in my gut. Stinging in my eyes. I’m having a moment. OMG. In writing this I just found a truth that I never knew? Or, didn’t want to know? Or… damn, OK, just added that to the list to talk through with my counselor. Yikes.]
[I’m going to continue on. Thank you for sticking with me. Dang, this DA has gone all over the place!]
I didn’t realize how much I took my brain for granted until it didn’t work the way it used to.
As I’m sharing this now I am beginning to understand in a different way that perhaps my brain didn’t fit me. Because at the same time that all of that above was true (about “normal and recognized intelligence”), I also didn’t know how to cope with how empathic and intuitive I was.
And, because I was so fearful most of the time, and I didn’t know or see people around me that were shining with “smarts” and heart, I just hid. I didn’t feel OK. I didn’t know that what was happening in my head, body, heart, and soul was just me. It was just who I was and that was OK. I never honored that person and now that I realize that fact, I’m sad for younger Angela.
I didn’t know how to align my brain and my heart, so I never allowed either to fully be. I showed glimpses.
I was “smart enough” to get scholarships and grants, but I never wanted to show more than that. I was “kind enough and loving enough” to be there for people and hold space and be a good friend, but I never wanted to fully engage my “EQ” or empath-ness or intuition because I didn’t think it would be safe.
And, also, I just remember hearing messages about how you could either be smart or be kind, use your head or your heart, believe in evidence and science and logic, or believe woo and feelings and spirit (and be un-intelligent and lesser).
Where This Leaves Me
So, where does all of this leave me now? Not sure about a lot of things. Feeling tender and raw. Thankful to have a brain that is still working, even though it is so different now. Also, ready to end this damn thing and get to a point. ;-)
And, why am I actually still planning to share this? Who knows? Maybe I actually won’t share it. It may just be another of many musings I think I might share but keep to myself. But, if I do share it, it’s because I want to do more things that are in service to my soul, to my true self, all parts of me that are beautiful and messy AF. And, I really do want to be of service, even if it isn’t pretty, so if there is just one tiny takeaway in all this mess, maybe that will be enough?
Every one of us has our own path, our own history, our own stories. My brain. Your brain. My heart. Your heart. All the same, but also beautifully different.
We were born amazing!!! And our lives shape our brains and our hearts, all parts of us, for better or for worse. But, is it possible that the “worse” may lead to some of the biggest insights of all?
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While I still get incredibly frustrated and at times sad about the way my brain works now, when I take a step back and look at the bigger picture of it all… I see that without some of those traumas I may never have honored my brain and my heart for what they are able to give me.
I’m generally not as quick on my feet as I was before the PTSD and TBIs. I can’t spew out random science factoids like I may have before (but really didn’t, because I didn’t love my brain and how it worked). Or do math as quickly in my head. And I have to write things down that I once didn’t need to and maybe also forget some things in the short term. But I am learning to honor all of the amazing things my brain still can do and actually learning to love the different ways it allows me to see and process the world. Because, while it is indeed very different, it is no less amazing.
I am a work in progress and you’ve seen some of that oh-so-messy process today.
[And if you’re actually still reading at this point…my GAWD, a gold star for you! And, for me, for not quitting!]
Me and My Brain: A Healthier Relationship
My brain and my relationship with it is quite different than it used to be. It could be argued that my brain isn’t as healthy as it used to be. I would like to believe, though, that I have a healthier relationship with my brain than I ever have before.
And, that healthier relationship with my brain has been a part of me living more authentically from my heart and day by day becoming more comfortable with other parts of myself.
I still have a long way to go, especially around my growth and comfort with my empath-ness and most especially my intuition, but I know it’s a path I want to follow and learn, even if I am still quite skittish in some ways. What is possible? What might I find? What might I see?
And What About You?
Is there something about yourself that you have been hiding? Something that might be a beautiful gift but just hasn’t been seen that way yet? Maybe the gift still needs time to be found. That’s OK.
I hope you can be more kind and patient and gentle with yourself than I have found I am with myself at times. Again, work in progress here. I’m getting better and doing better by/for myself. And, since I have many decades of hiding that I am working to unravel, I’m going to keep taking it day by day, and trying to remain in gratitude for all the beautiful gifts that are sometimes wrapped in the strangest of ways and with some weird-ass gift wrap.
I’m working to honor and align my brain and heart, all parts of me, for exactly how they are and the gifts they bring. Will you join me?