I need to do a bit of backtracking to get this story straight and from the beginning. When I was four years old, I was involved in an accident. I was outside playing with my sister on our sleds when my father started reversing out of the driveway. The snow was really high, and there was lots of ice on the sidewalk. I slipped on the ice and landed face first beneath the back wheel of the car.
Long story, shortened, my parents were told that I needed surgery because a piece of shattered bone was protruding into my brain, creating a blood clot. They were told that I had about a fifty percent chance of surviving the surgery, and odds were that there would be some form of brain damage akin to Cerebral Palsy. Although I came through the surgery fine, my doctor called me his “little miracle girl”, I do believe there are members of the family who are still waiting for that “brain damage” to appear.
And, if I’m honest, I have to admit that I might be the most questioning person of all when it comes to just how this brain of mine works. I know that I often both see and hear things differently than others around me. It has been said that when you come close to death, even for only a few moments, you might bring back gifts from that side journey. I have to believe that because my entire life is just this side of a miracle.
All of my beautiful natural brown curly hair was shaved off. My mother was told that it might be a good idea for me to wear a football helmet for the first year. She nixed that and found a very tightly woven knit hat for me to wear. Something I constantly managed to lose or misplace more often than not. And even now, after all these years, I still don’t like wearing head gear of any sort, and seldom do.
But perhaps the deepest wound that resulted from all of that was my own doubts about my mental abilities. Was I doing the right thing, was a constant background song playing through my thoughts. How could I trust me to know which was which. Could I ever be sure that any part of my behavior was the “right” sort of thing to be doing? Was I even capable of knowing right from wrong? Not an easy way to exist from day to day.
I had a very difficult time accepting anything, because I so doubted my own perceptions. And I was forever asking questions. It never, back then, occurred to me that my deeply embedded curiosity was actually a sign of a very healthy and active mental state. My need to understand wasn’t a matter of self-doubt, it was simply me being a healthy individual. Learning to trust one’s own person, takes time and lots of reinforcement. And that again, started with my Dad.
I had to wait a long time to get those answers. Almost half of a life time passed me by before I knew that my mind works just fine. Even better than many of those around me. But that is another piece of my own Creation Story, some of which will be addressed next time.
Elizabeth Crawford 5/15/2021