Unexpected paths…

…there are no wrong turns, only unexpected paths.
-Mark Nepo

An unexpected path…you could say that many experiences from my past may have shaped my path, both good experiences and not so good.  I am now more sympathetic to all people, even people in different walks of life, learning from my mistakes.

One mistake was believing I could still get along with the ones that I had known previously, known so well, and the ones who knew me when I was a carefree peppy cheerleader that bounced about the halls so confidently.  There was no way that I could compete with that image of myself, the former image of myself, immediately following the accident I became more quiet, thoughtful and slow to speak. I was taught in my rehab therapy to think before I spoke, and the conversation just rolled on without waiting for me.  I always feel a step behind everyone.

So I started my new life.

Oh well, that part of my life, class of ’99 is finished.  The former style of life had made me feel uncomfortable- the only way I could see myself going forward was to remove myself from the situation, to move forward with my new life.

In order to remedy this, I moved on to be with and socialize with the new class with whom I would be graduating.  The class of 2000, the embracement of my new class was an unexpected path but in a good way; I had so much fun with them!  Even at the reunion, I loved the 2010 reunion (graduating class- 2000), such a different experience than the one of the previous year.  I attended both reunions, the one with the original class that I started out with, 99 and the one I ended up with, 2000.  The ’99 reunion was nice, seeing the people that I really know, the ones with whom I was so close. Some important people who had shaped my childhood.  Yes, my childhood, until I turned 17.

Looking back on the period right before my accident seems almost like another lifetime, it’s as if I’m Icabod Crane on the TV show ‘Sleepy Hollow’, waking after 250 years into a life that’s totally different than the one with which I’m familiar- only not quite as dramatic.


Captain Frank Irving, Katrina, Icabod Crane, Abbie Mills

What could I have done in the situation of feeling uncomfortable around my own classmates?  I was used to being …  I don’t even know what I was used to being.  My friend that I had apparently gotten into a fight with, (though it was never explained to me why after my car accident) [she even visited me in the hospital in Charlottesville, she said that we could try to get our relationship back to the close state that we were previously] didn’t give me another chance to redeem myself, even as I had turned to another way.  Another way of what…?  Another way of life, another state of mind, another realization of what was important.

Everything returns to that state of mind.

Removing myself from the situation.  That is the proactive thing that I could do.  I’m sure it happens to many of us after we have a life-altering experience happen, we change.  It may be difficult for some friends to accept that, especially if the changes are physical.  Physically, I could no longer walk on my own, my balance required the help of two under-arm crutches, just like the crutches one would use for a sports injury.  It wasn’t only the physical change though, it was the mental change in me that accompanied it; yes, I looked different that everyone else, then I felt different.  I became uncomfortable, that feeling of discomfort led me to hanging out downstairs, on the level that all my LD classes were held and the level of the high school that all of the freshman and sophomores spent their break times.



Every mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied.
Pearl S. Buck


About Danielle!

A young professional Longwood University alum, with a traumatic brain injury having previously worked in the Therapeutic Recreation field with the elderly at nursing homes in Fairfax, VA. Now as a TBI advocate, trying to help others learn more about TBIs is involved in support groups, as well as very involved in my church, child care, and working part-time at a library
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