Though physical scars are permanent, self-belief changed. From hospitals to mountains, I am healing, rediscovering, not fixing, myself.

I felt desolate. My spirit did not want modern technology, artificial nutrition, medication or reliance on others to keep my fire burning. If I were meant to survive, I alone would have stoke enough to keep it burning. I resisted treatment. There was no trail ahead. I was dangerously lost amidst the storm. No vision for a future and little left in my eyes, no appetite, no hope, I withered.

Worthiness is a birthright, not something to be earned or taken away by a traumatic brain injury (TBI), anything or anyone else yet as I wilted so did my self-worth. Like every human being, I was born into this world with no fear of judgement, no sense of what I was or was not capable of, what trail I should or should not follow. Along with perhaps a collection of subtle influences along this trail of life, my TBI electrified voices that shout limits. These ‘rocky’ voices pierce messages telling me I am not enough, less deserving than others, less human because of brain trauma, less worthy because I look different, because I veer off the railroad tracks of societal norms. My choir rarely sings to the tune of worthiness and acceptance.

Open-minded and accepting of all walks of life yet prevailing winds of self- judgement stir. With deep inner strength, I know that regardless of who I am according to the confining labels of society, the choices I make, or what I look like, I am enough yet struggle to provide kindness to myself. Holding myself to an expectation that I always need to be fixing is a message to myself that I am permanently broken.

On this trail of connection with myself exploring the mountains of my mind, I am learning about self-love, not in a narcissistic way rather in a compassionate way; stretching my comfort zone to learn and authentically believe that becoming self-aware is not self-centered. It is my responsibility to be gentle with myself, to forgive myself for mistakes and failures, be content with lessons learned and the work in progress that I am. Building relationships with others cannot be authentic if I am not in a healthy relationship with myself.  I am slowly and cautiously learning to nurture, not fix, this relationship following the TBI turbulence.

Though my physical scars are permanent, self-belief is alterable, it can change. That silent inner voice needs to strengthen its volume tuning louder than the self-critical voice masqueraded as my own. The truth is that I am complete, good enough as I am at this very moment. As my trail carries on, I aim to leave the self-critical passenger behind and carry on the kind one who knows and strives to live this truth.

With inner strength, taking my recovery from hospitals to mountains, I am healing, rediscovering, not fixing, myself.  There is no endpoint, no finish line tape championing ‘healed’. In times of insecurity, I remind myself of  the storm I have weathered. As my story unfolds, the best version of me will see the plot through. Mountains are the backdrop for this chapter of resilience where voices of doubt will slowly continue to be cast out. Pages ahead will develop with a sense of equanimity; calm amidst any weather.

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  1. Tom Stevens says:

    The mountains you have climbed and descended are proof of self worth. There should never be a question. Your friendship with the many people that support you and your ability as a writer and athelete are evidence in the case. Once again I head out on my trail inspired.

    • mountainsofmymind says:

      I sincerely appreciate your affirmations Tom. Should the chimes of the choir start to fade, I will pause, regroup, tapping into your reminders, and mindfully work restore the healing sense of equanimity.