BY: MARK KONING
As Valentine’s Day approaches, love is (supposedly) in the air, but what does that mean to a brain injury survivor? Personally, I’m not a Cupid fan favourite. Are my feelings brain injury related? I don’t know.
The thought of recognizing a shared love with close family and friends basically sits well with me. But the celebration of romance? That just gives me a headache. I don’t have anything against the concept of a relationship between two people – whether it’s in a marriage or a ‘going steady’ deal – but the idea of personally entering into a romantic relationship with someone causes an intermittent cranial pain.
I find just the idea of cramming liaisons between two partners into one day overwhelming. I understand that romance is a blossoming thing that is not just about one calendar day, but still…
I’ve experienced a few relationships throughout my life which have resulted in happiness and heartache as tag-alongs. Some of these I’ve written about in my book, Challenging Barriers & Walking the Path.
Nothing I’ve gone through has grown into a long, lasting, relationship. These experiences have, however, lead to feelings of discomfort. I’ve been faced with not knowing what to do or say, and seeing as how I’ve grown up not knowing what to do or say, the feeling scares me. I’ve had, and still have at times, difficulties understanding myself, so trying to understand the opposite sex can result in a spinning effect.
It has taken me some confusion, and heartache, to understand and feel comfortable with who I am. I don’t know if I am ready for anything else.
This ABI has presented so many difficulties, but I think, for me, has also offered so much clarity. I’ve learned to work hard and take things in stride, so perhaps my Valentine is still yet to come.
Mark’s passion to lend a helping hand, offer advice and give back has developed into a moral and social responsibility with the goal of sharing, inspiring and growing – for others as well as himself. His experience as a survivor, caregiver, mentor and writer has led to his credibility as an ABI Advocate and author of his life’s story, Challenging Barriers & Walking the Path. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Koning or go to www.markkoning.com.