Whiff of Honeysuckle by Jonathan Cheeseman

For 21 years, 7 months, and 8 days; or  1127 weeks and 2 days, or 7891 days, or  189,384 hours; or 11,363,040 minutes; or 681,782,400 seconds; I have struggled to survive despite the car crash that nearly killed me.

Survive, I have. For the first time in my weird life, I am proud of what is left of me. I am a testament to the miracles of a human woman’s body. I let go of the thin string of remembrance tied to what I once was. It floated away at the end of a balloon filled with all of my remorse for my character; regret for my hesitations, failures as a woman, and shortcomings of my surroundings. A big orange mistake shrinks in the distance until it is lost behind a flat blue sky. Inside of me is the soul of a lady willing to thrive. A tower of accomplishments are emerging from a lifelong journey of resilience.

At the present moment I am at my prime. This is the best version, the ultimate edition,  of me I have ever been. I think I am super fine. I accept this me. I am finally on the right meds. I eat the right food. I don’t have negative relationships with dysfunctional people. I have a solid support network comprised of stellar angels, and formidable warriors. I quit smoking tobacco and I have not been physically sick ever since. I go on vacations. I serve at the church every week. I’m in love with my husband. My kids love me.

I finally became this healthy woman once I finally admitted that I was really sick. Then I prayed on Jesus’ teachings about discerning relationships and behaviors. I learned what I needed to know to empower myself. That’s how the whole prayer thing is supposed to work, and it did.

A person, in general, is not actively fixing a problem they don’t realize they have. One could say, “the car isn’t running properly, even though you don’t hear a clunking noise”. I have a traumatic closed head injury in three sides of my brain. Conversely, my body doesn’t look at all handicapped. In conversation, I am quite intelligent, although I can’t always retain information in my head long enough to process it correctly.

Despite knowing this, I have attempted to work at least 50 different jobs over the past 32 years. It took me 7 years, but I accomplished an Associates degree in writing. After 2 years and 3 different majors at a university; a vocational school certificate, and experience in everything from front desk reception at the University of Michigan, to repairing and reconditioning the Meijer Penny Ponies, I still could not manage to stay employed anywhere. I just could not do it. It was time to apply for the SSI.

So, after 21 years, 7 months, and 8 days; I concede that I can’t do what the other kids do. That’s okay with me because I still do things that are useful to my world.

I validated myself as a mental gimp, and it is the most intelligent thing I have ever done. I can also forget the little things without feeling as guilty now. I still feel incompetent when the big things fit through the gaping chasms that are throughout my mind-brain. I am thriving despite my salad bar of diagnosis. I used to feel inept at adulting compared to how successful my peer group is. Now, I feel accomplished that so many people of high intellect, and accomplished talent, accept me into their tribe. So,  if my weird brain offends you- suck a lemon, I don’t care how anyone feels about my head injury, or my mental health.

Now that I’ve accepted my weaknesses, I can make sensible decisions about what I truly can and can’t do, or will and won’t do. It is no longer a measure of me vs. what anyone else has done. I am off from that measuring scale. I don’t weigh other people’s should and should not’s on the triple beams, either. I will encourage everyone to view one another as just a decent person trying not to die.