Now How ‘Bout That

Meditations on Consciousness

Sara Brinkac (she/they) // Columns Editor


A concussion can put one in a very vulnerable state. Early in recovery, tasks like driving, cooking, completing work on a screen and reading can be extremely tiring. Once you are capable of those tasks however, you can still deal with anxieties of going to loud places, partying and doing activities where your head is at risk of getting hit (which is more than you think). You may walk slower, not feel like going out and be very susceptible to emotional turbulence over unexpected circumstances. All in all, the practical reality of concussion recovery isn’t necessarily the party fiesta zone other people would want to be around. But, to get through it you need help from others, you need their patience and above all you need their love. 

Coming into Valentine’s Day, thinking of love, I am rushed by visions of my friends and family: My sister and mum typing assignments on my computer while I dictated, ice pack over my eyes, my nana showing up nearly everyday for two weeks to drive me to school and appointments, waiting hours in her car for me, my partner holding me in kindness while I let out every horrible, fearful thought that came across my mind, my friends extending every ounce of understanding when I cancel abruptly and every bit of care to get me out safely when I just wanted to hide away. 

There are so many ways love presents itself, we expect it to be this grand presence that bangs us over the head saying “Hey! It’s me! Love! Here to solve all your problems!!!” And, in some cases, love can be exactly that—the romanticist vision of overwhelming harmony and safety. But, what I am learning in my recovery is that sometimes love is slow, unexpected and one day you wake up realizing how much love is there that you never even noticed. 

2023 was a challenging year for me. There was a lot of change in my life, and with that change instability. In 2018, I had an intense realization of love and since then held that concept as the core foundation to my life. I went through a lot of growth and flourishing because of this relationship with love, it was, and still is, quite a beautiful time in my life. But, slowly in 2022 as I traveled, graduated and life became more uncertain, so did my belief in a grand, baroque love. I sensed I was becoming jaded, thinking love and inspiration to be something reserved for 18 to 21-year-olds discovering life on their own. By 2023, my connection to that beautiful love had substantially diminished. I was becoming disillusioned with my dream of a career in film, got ghosted by someone I felt a deep loving connection with, had a traumatic event, suffered recurring strep due to burn out, started a new relationship I was unsure of and received two back to back concussions. I wasn’t feeling a lot of love, to say the least. 

Although I didn’t find myself soaking in nature’s beauty, rejoicing in all my experiences or trusting that everything would work out in 2023, I’m starting to realize I found something else.

I liken this realization to an experience I had with a friend of mine. We worked on a project for about three months, we knew each other, not deeply, and to be honest a lot of my time during the project was spent stressing over how they would judge me for my incompetence. However, one day during my concussion they came over to see my roommate. While she was getting ready we sat on the couch and he asked me how I was doing. I began to give the standard response, but each question he had went deeper, allowing me reflection and deep catharsis. We had an honest conversation where I felt safe being vulnerable because, I realized, he knew me so intimately as a creative. As we sat and talked I looked at him and a loving mist poured over me. Softly, I realized I had a friend. I had a true, loving, caring friend, who was comfortable with me, who I could trust to be my most vulnerable self in front of and who accepted me as I was. 

Like it did with this friend, I look back on all my experiences during my recovery and suddenly a soft wind floats over me. I’m not about to scream from the rooftops over it, but this loving kindness feels like a mother’s embrace I can relax in. I can finally stop running, trying to do it all on my own. The air embraces me saying, “Here I am, love, I was always here, it’s okay now.” I want to cry with relief, I’m not alone. I had so many people there for me, caring for me, waiting for me with empathy, understanding I was in pain and helping me through it. The love contained in these memories washes over me whispering “you may not see me all the time, you may not have recognized me back there, but it was me, I’ve been watching, you were safe then, you’re safe now, you always will return to safety. I love you.” 

I have moved very fast for a very long time. I haven’t always seen love in all of its forms and I haven’t always slowed down long enough to brave life’s uncertainties. But being forced into a slow recovery I have reconciled with many fearful things. Things I could not do quickly and have big gigantic loving answers for, instead they were things that took time that consumed me and scarred me but gave me great wisdom in return. I am grateful for my chaotic year and its myriad of experiences. It showed me the many ways of life, like a flower in spring I have braved the winter and although I may be just a tiny bud at the moment, I am beginning to see the great potential of what could bloom. In my bud I am embraced by the belief that life, although a journey of chaos, remains held together by the sinews of Love. Huh. Now how ‘bout that.


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