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My Junior year of high school, I suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury. I was training a horse when he flipped over and dragged me (he was okay). My dad found me in the opposite end of the arena where I remember falling. I flat lined at the hospital and came back. We didn’t have insurance so they sent me home.

I was in and out of consciousness for at least a week. I didn’t know my parents. I knew my brother and the horse. I couldn’t walk, talk, or eat on my own. My brain was so swollen it touched the sides of my skull. It was three months before doctors were able to scan it. They told my parents make her comfortable–this is how she’s going to be now.

That wasn’t on my schedule. I was not going to be in a vegetative state the rest of my life. I taught myself how to walk, talk, and eat on my own again. It was hard. It was scary, confusing. I went from high honors to special ed with a special study hall I could pass out if need be.

I want to honor what happened and celebrate my recovery,but  I sometimes I find it hard sharing this story. I’m not sure what verb to use. “Had a TBI,” like they found a tumor and removed it, doesn’t work.”Received a TBI” like it was present with a bow.  “Suffered a TBI”–it was very hard and challenging, but also a blessing with all I learned.

Not everyone gets it. It wasn’t just falling off a horse. It wasn’t just a concussion. Because of my nonchalant delivery at times and because I recovered, some don’t think it was a big deal. There is no medical or scientific explanation or reason I recovered. I should be in a vegetative state by what they saw and knew. I know I shouldn’t care what people think, but it was a major incident in my life that shaped me, influenced who I became.

I found a strength and determination I’d like to call upon again. It was effortless and unwavering. There was no doubt in my mind I was walking, much less dancing, again. There was no doubt in my mind I was graduating on time.

I learned everything happens for a reason. I learned how evil some people can be, but also how incredibly kind and loving others can be.

I am very grateful for my life and my abilities because there is no reason I should be as good as I am.I feel like I don’t show it. I sometimes need to pause and remember, but everyday I am very grateful. It’s also why I get so frustrated. I’ve always been a perfectionist and impatient with myself, but I was given this second chance. I wasn’t done. I’m still not done.

I have this incredible blessing of a great day job and I’m working on my creative win. My TBI makes me good at my day job because I know first hand what it’s like to try and communicate and not be understood. Every time I’m not working towards something bigger, I feel like I’m being ungrateful and the clock is ticking.

Life may not look like what we thought it would, but we don’t really know what life is supposed to look like. We make plans, God laughs. Everything happens for a reason.

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