Sunday, March 8, 2009

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

As a child, I had a concussion. At 23, while pregnant with my daughter I was in a head collision. The fact that I was not wearing a seatbelt probably saved her life, but my face flew into the seat in front of me. My glasses cut into my nose and cheeks and I had two black eyes. I was clumsy and impulsive as a kid (well as an adult, too). I fell a lot (on the tennis court - staples in the back of the head, on my face going back to bed - ten stiches in my chin, running for a train - bruised face, bloody knee). Two years ago, I had a stroke:

During the angiogram and news that I had a brain tumor, all I could think of was Turks and Caicos. This is an oil pastel/collage of my experience.

I read a few regular blogs. My Google Reader collects them for me and I wait until I have at least 45 minutes to look through my favorites. One is Broken Brain, Brilliant Mind and in this recent post, I saw my life. It was so bizarre because until I hear the words for some experiences, I am not even sure how to articulate it. A year ago, I stayed up all night to pack for spring break and got there with so much strange stuff and some very obvious items lacking.

My new resolution is to be positive! If people want to remain ignorant, they can go suck it. I am not going to make it my job to educate them. I have enough of my own work to do and my own obfuscation to clear up.

Eschew obfuscation and make choices that make me happier! From now on when I get a compliment on my work from the parents of my students, I am going to ask them to put their words in writing and send them to my boss.

I love my students! My favorite part of teaching is the Aha! that follows confusion.


Anonymous said...

Have you checked out the Angioma Alliance? You can find others that understand what you're going through. They're a wonderful group!


David Quiles said...


Children known when someone is for real. Don’t change for anyone or let them discourage you !


David Quiles said...


I sat to the right of the big SGI hall behind Prof. Lopez Adorno listening as one person after another described your father. I was there to pay respects to your father who I met once 12 years before but who had great influence in my writing. My heart felt heavy when your sister and then you came to the podium shared these carefully worded stories about him.

I became a father when I was 25 and have two daughters and a son. From the beginning I knew that I needed to educate my children. They were not going to fall pray to these outside sources. So every moment became a lesson. I am the kind of father that will show his daughter how to organize her wallet. Just this grading period, my daughter earned a 94 average and I told her that she earned a 94 in public school but her grammar sucked ass. And sadly, I am the kind of father that would storm out of the bedroom to ask my children why they are saying "fuck you" to me because they’ve disrupted my thought process.

I grew up being told that I would amount to nothing. This came from the teacher who told me to pick another profession because Puerto Ricans aren’t writers, to the children who picked on me because I looked and acted differently, to my mother who thought I was wasting my time cooped up in my room reading or escaping in my own stories. The strange thing is that I was too busy educating myself. It became a passion to prove people wrong and by the time I was married my head could be a float in the Thanksgiving Day parade.

I am writing to you because the parallels are just plain freaky. How many egotistical Puerto Rican SGI members that grew up in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx can there be? Ed Vega awakened me to different levels of literary excellence. But you helped me realize that my efforts to ‘save’ my children can affect them in adulthood. I can not speak for your father but I can tell you that my drive to ‘educate’ my children came from a desperate need to save them from the pains I experienced as a child. I wanted them to ignore all negative external and internal sources. I didn’t care when I was cruel because the world is a cruel place. It doesn’t make it right but I love my children and thought I was doing the right thing.

I hope you make a recovery from your operation and I thank you for your blog entries that have taught me so much.