Real World Problems

I have been attempting to put my personal issues into perspective, recognizing that my impairment is not the end of the world. In the meantime, the world ended.

I was once a fairly sharp analyst, at least two sets of memories indicate this to be true. One of the main reasons I had wanted to emigrate to Belgium was to miss the presidential election in America. As it worked out, the woman who left me behind returned in time to vote with her fresh citizenship. Had I been with her perhaps she would have stayed in Belgium, the equation is too difficult to approach.

So here I am, unable to endorse either major party candidate. I would like to make a change in our lexicon, changing the word “vote” to “endorse.” I suspect people would have an easier time accepting their role in the process if they realized the position was not solely their decision. My personal choice was Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, largely because I overestimated the American voters, and thought all the folks who were upset about Bernie Sanders being cheated out of the Democratic nomination would actually vote for a third party candidate like they said they would. All that would have been required would have been for a third party to receive 5% of the vote, but that did not happen. They were all demanding honesty but couldn’t come up with any of their own.

Wednesday morning I woke to the news Trump had won, I had pretty much figured it out before I googled for the results, there was no “We Won!” fanfare from the liberals. I also had some messages from Belgium, one right wing politician was rather snippy about me and “my kind,” had I been in Belgium she might have figured out who me and my kind are. I was called a racist and a homophobe before I left for therapy, and couldn’t bear the wailing and gnashing of teeth on the radio so I put on something more comforting. I found that the bass tones on Courtney Love’s album “Live Through This” match my hearing disturbance and were quite soothing at high volume. “Asking For It” almost put me to sleep.

So there I am, at the Brain Trauma unit, and of course the elephant in the room was unavoidable. We work on mindfulness and cognitive therapies, ignoring reality is frowned upon. As I spoke with my therapists and other patients, I heard the phrase “You’re the most sensible person I’ve heard from all day” a couple of times. I have come to expect it from the other patients, coming from a therapist it was a bit unusual. Me, the guy with a brain injury, was the most sensible person she had heard from all day.

I remain impaired, plagued with neural fatigue after something as simple as a Lumosity session, as well as losses in processing speed and memory. I have regained my sense of humor, and the bloodwork indicates my hormones are once again balanced, but there has been no physical or emotional confirmation. I consider myself “better” because I can recognize I am unemployable. My neuro-psychologist says that high functioning brain injury survivors take the most therapy, because we have so much difficulty accepting our limitations. I understand, that is to say I know what is holding me back, and for the first time in my life I can’t conquer it. The astrategies which worked in the past, denial, working through pain, only make the problems worse and slows any actual recovery. Punching my way out only leaves me with bloody knuckles.

I can’t really ponder my future, fortunately I don’t care. I know I can’t sustain my lifestyle, I can’t even manage to make it to my friend’s gigs; last week I couldn’t accomplish a day trip to see the “Monkeemobile” at a local shop. I feel more isolated, but the physical isolation doesn’t trouble me. The mental isolation does, if you will excuse the comment I feel like the smartest kid on the short bus. It is all perspective. I do not expect to be taken seriously, I expect that anything controversial I say will be responded to with “Well you know, he has brain damage.”

In a society which so easily dismisses complaints as “first world problems” I try to point out the human element, the issues we all face. The turbulence following the election shows us pervasive arrogance and violence, which are real world problems, reaching across all social and economic barriers. The people claiming to be intellectually superior were suddenly made aware of the electoral college, one person standing on her degree in history claiming it had only been used five times previously (she did not realize it has been the method of election in all of the sixty previous elections, yet considers herself politically informed). I live in the Northeast, every year people forget how to deal with snow, I suspect some forget what snow is. After a lifetime of ambiguous sexuality and taunts of “faggot,” I was called a homophobe because I didn’t vote for Hillary. The problem is a failure of perspective, people who protest in the name of tolerance acting with no tolerance. It would be easy to blame this on a lack of education, but most of these people will tell you how educated they are, largely because they never bothered with the definition of education. To them it means they attended a particular institution, not that they learned anything useful. Someone told them they were educated, they never realized that the truly educated never stop learning.  They feel they are compassionate because they have seen compassionate people and it made them feel good, as they drove past. I cannot argue with such arrogance, it would be the equivalent of trying to convince a crazy person they were not sane.

I recognize I am probably not completely sane. Which in a counter intuitive way validates my sanity. I listen to people who do not listen to themselves. I guess I’m asking for it.

 

 

 

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3 comments on “Real World Problems

  1. Blake, anyone that is able to write as you do means you have more brain power than most people waling this earth. If it makes you feel better, I have angered many of the Facebook people (some I do not even know) by saying the protesters are just proving the Trump voters right. Their behavior is deplorable. The fact that I would say this about anyone burning and pillaging in America means nothing to them. They feel they are somehow justified because they are loving and non-racist. If not understanding that makes one brain impaired, that would be me. You have come a long way. The battle you are in mimics that of old age.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mike R says:

    Your comments are healing. First, I see the old Blake more and more–that keen ability to perceive the inconsistencies in culture, and to point them out. Secondly, you discuss things that I have been struggling to define in my own life. As you point out, you have been able to overcome physical limits in the past because of exceptional cognitive/analytical skills. Now you find that very resource to be not dependable. And you’ve helped me see the source of so much of my current and similar frustration. Prior to the onset of my current physical limits, I had been going through the drying up of my prior career–one that heavily depended on cognitive abilities and knowledge. But I found myself able to call up the gift of physical health. The hands that had debrided and dressed people’s wounds and fabricated orthotics to help them regain the use of their bodies found themselves able to pick up a wrench or a chain saw in a new career. Older than most, but able to adapt! And there was a sense of triumph in that. Then, almost overnight, God was pleased to take away my physical health. I know what to do with the wrench or the chainsaw, but all I can do is look at them and wish. Now just going to the grocery store is a challenge, and I watch my country property go to weed and buildings start to leak and deteriorate.

    To some degree it feels as thought we’ve entered Dr. Who’s blue police box and arrived in a new universe. One in which the gravity is much heavier. One in which every task requires great effort. And while I hate to see you suffering, your words bring great comfort. I’m not alone. Somebody knows what I am going through. And if it makes you feel like part of a team, were the Monkeemobile in my area, I know that I wouldn’t have the energy to go and see it (and that’s a sad thing–what an awesome vehicle.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. markrhunter says:

    I can’t help thinking the whole thing could be covered under the term “sore losers”.

    But in all the outcry about homophobia and racism, people on the left are unable to admit one standout fact: A large number of the people who voted for Trump did so not because they like Trump, but because they hate Hillary Clinton. We’ve had over twenty years to study Clinton. It progressively–pardon the pun–became more and more difficult for her to hide who she truly is.

    But if I say that, as an observation rather than an endorsement of anyone, I’ll be called homophobic and racist.

    Liked by 1 person

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