Once I fully realized–and it took a while before I did–how much I had lost after my brain surgery, holding on to the things I still had a grasp on became almost an obsession.
I had lost the ability to keep time to music, to dance, to run, to balance. I could no longer sing (even with the radio), and for almost a year after my surgery, I couldn’t drive a car. Those things were gone forever; after all, it was only after months of intense therapy that I could walk, feed myself, and hold a pen to write. I felt as if I was no longer myself.
So art became important because it was one of the few things from my life “before” that I could still enjoy “after”–it was a part of me that I could hold onto. At least, I hoped I could. I remember crying for at least an hour the first time I tried to use a pair of scissors with my occupational therapist. (What a disaster that was! I would have gotten a neater edge just by tearing the paper.)
It took a long time before I would create a journal page or collage that I wasn’t too embarrassed to show others. When I finally did, it was my way of saying, ” See, some part of the old me is still alive. Here–look at this–I have proof.”