Sorry for the language (but not actually, most of the time, my ability to say foul language is surprisingly intact).
Paul and I have been watching way too much Lost (wait, there is no such thing as too much Lost…). We happened to start the finale of season four this morning, and I caught that little gem.
No matter how you put it, reality can be fickle. It can also be tragic and wonderful and surreal, too. I have always tended to stray from the idea of waiting for “destiny” or whatever that may be. Try as we might, we can’t always make things perfect. Which makes me think about the idea of perfection, which can be a dangerous concept.
First, let me ask you – how many of you used to count down the new year each December 31st with Dick Clark?
But wait, Jenni, what does Dick Clark have to do with anything? Are you SURE all your brain is still (mostly) intact?
Consider this. How many of you guys felt sorry for him after his stroke? How many of your friends (or maybe even you) said, “I just can’t watch him any more. I can’t stand seeing him this way.” Or something to that effect.
I will admit – it was hard. Not only did I feel bad that he was having such a hard time, I also never really had to see anything like that on TV before.
Not surprisingly, working so damn hard every day to regain my speech has given me a different perspective. It’s odd, because for years I have worked with various types of disabilities. So why didn’t I see it this way to begin with?
I should have appreciated the work it must have taken him just to get back on TV and do what he did. No, he wasn’t perfect as compared to the people we usually see on TV or movies. But at least he was trying to do something he was passionate about.
Which brings me to my point – what’s so wrong with being imperfect? With struggling? I think we all know we are (imperfect, that is). But what makes us all SO uncomfortable to see it? Why is our default to turn away? Or feel sorry? Or laugh?
And why is the media SO afraid to show us in our element? At our most vulnerable – making mistakes.
Hey, I can understand why I wouldn’t make a great reporter right now. No one has the hour it would take me to read the teleprompter at this point.
But, why do we perpetuate the idea that people have to be made up and glossed over? If we never see anyone making mistakes, what are we supposed to think? And how do you think that makes us (ME) feel – when I’m nervous to order a hot chocolate at Starbucks because I don’t know whether I can trust the words to come out right…
I don’t think I have unrealistic expectations, here. I don’t expect the media in general to make huge, sweeping changes right this second (though, that would be awesome). And yes, I do appreciate that disabilities and TBIs are getting more coverage now. However, I think that people still want these things in neat little packages.
They want the frightening, tragic tale of an accident. A courageous victim determined to surmount the odds. And a tidy ending that wraps up all the loose ends. It just doesn’t work like that. Recovery is frustrating, messy, difficult, and LONG.
We don’t get do-overs in our daily lives. I can practice the words “hot chocolate” fifty times a day, but I still might walk into that Starbucks counter and get stuck.
I hope that one day, I’ll recover 100 percent of what I lost. But I can say for sure that it won’t come in a gift-wrapped package (while I AM a horrible gift wrapper…it’s shameful, really).
And while I won’t relish the process, I will be grateful to have the chance…and though I can’t control “destiny,” I CAN make this apraxia my bitch.