Listen to this post:
I’m inviting everyone to listen to a very candid podcast. So candid that I ended up using very, shall we say, adult language many times without realizing it or remembering it. If you follow the link, please be warned that I use quite a few cuss words because I got very passionate about what I was talking about.
So what was I talking about? I was recently a guest on the new Criptiques Podcast. Guest #2 in fact! The podcast will be featuring the writer-contributors to the anthology called “Criptiques” that Caitlin Wood recently released.
In this podcast, I talked about brain injury a little bit, about how much I dislike awareness campaigns, and about this documentary (and a very strange story about it that doesn’t really relate to anything but is very funny!). I also talk about what’s kind of odd about brain injury culture. What’s odd about it is that I feel like few people even can define what brain injury culture is or might be. I’m super active and engaged with disability culture, but what about brain injury culture? What is it?
As far as I’ve been able to figure, brain injury culture often revolves around telling and retelling stories of brain injury and recovery. This is exceptionally important. It gives us ways to relate to each other, to find out more, to see if we can either support someone else or get support from them. But it kind of gets weird when it’s outside the brain injury community. It kind of makes us into little zoo exhibits where people want to find out how we got hurt and what went wrong and then…that’s about it.
People with brain injury! When is the last time someone asked you how you got hurt? Probably the last time you met someone new. When is the last time someone asked you what your favorite food is or whether you have pets or what your least favorite class was in school? I never get asked those things by new people. I only get asked how I got hurt and whether it was traumatic. (Um, side note: that’s sometimes kinda traumatizing. Please stop asking!)
But there is also so very much more to brain injury culture. There is also hope, immeasurable amounts of unflagging dedication to one another’s well-being, mentorship, love, gorgeous artworks, storytelling, creative adaptations to life, curiosity, perseverance, humor and a desire to help make the world a much safer place. These ARE parts of brain injury culture. And while I never got around to mentioning them in the Criptiques podcast (because apparently, I was more interested in yelling about watermelons), let us never forget these valuable pieces of our culture. Ok, we are allowed to forget them because we’re also very forgetful. But let’s team up–as we always reliably do–and help each other remember them.
Please check out the podcast. It’s funny, irreverent, off the cuff and weird to hear myself speak without any filters or a script.