Simply Let Go of Too Much Knowledge

I know too many things, like why people get headaches, that infections can be deadly, and brain injuries are more than a bump on the brain. And while I won’t go into details, I know the effects of taking pain medication, and what it can do to your body. I guess it’s the joy of having had many problems.

It’s also the joy of the internet, and a little trauma of a too-curious writer.

Having a recent foot injury, I did a little research. It seems I have an infection, possibly caused by an old fracture. I’m being treated with antibiotics, which is what the internet said would happen. But there’s more to it than that.

The internet went on to tell me that many antibiotics no longer work as well as they used to. Drugs in our society have been so overused that infections are becoming immune. Kind of scary, huh?

I started thinking about this and what it could mean, and I got a little nauseous. What if the infection spread? What if the drugs didn’t work? What would happen then? I read more.

And then I stopped. Maybe I didn’t want to know. They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I can see why. That little bit of knowledge fed my brain, just like the bacteria in my body fed the infection. My imagination went wild, and I pictured all kinds of scenarios.

The internet, with its many facts and figures, can’t tell the whole story. It didn’t know I had a fracture. The doctor discovered that on an x-ray. It also didn’t know I had allergies to medications. I needed a doctor for that. It doesn’t know my health status, or how well I take care of my body. Only another human would know.

It wasn’t only the medical information I received from the doctor that was helpful, it was the reassurance that I would be okay. It was the calm, quiet, comforting help of a human helping another.

There’s nothing on the internet that ever can replace that.

I think I’m done with researching medical issues. It’s too scary. I’m going go of a little dangerous knowledge, and leave it to the experts. It’s simpler that way.

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A Black Friday Challenge

Black Friday will soon be here, the season of cooking and cleaning, decorating and shopping. While I love the holidays, I am not a fan of Black Friday. Black Friday is the day that leads to the holiday season, but to me, Black Friday is the least Christmas-y day of the year.

Years ago, I thought Black Friday was kind of fun, a day of shopping with family, eating out, just being together. But back then, stores didn’t open at three a.m., or on Thanksgiving Day. Back then, it was just a regular shopping day with built-in deals.

Today, it seems Black Friday has turned into more commercialism than I ever could have imagined. People climb over one another to buy the hottest new movie, and fight one another to get the latest toy.

I bet I’m not the only one who feels this way about Black Friday, like the clerks in the stores who have been up all night, the people who missed family time to stock merchandise, and even the shoppers who attend this crazy event – they don’t always appear to be in the best of moods.

Kind of like the men I saw a few years ago.

***

It was four in the morning. I stood in one of two long lines leading into an electronic store, shivering as I held tight to a cup of coffee. At the head of each line was a young man, glaring intently at one another. Finally, one spoke up.

“I was here first.”

“No, I was,” said the other. Like two little kids fighting over a swing, both determined to be the first in the store.

They began to yell and curse, and soon, fists were flying. Even when the large glass doors swung open, the men continued to fight. It was the craziest scene I’d ever seen.

Inside, it wasn’t much better. People pushed, grabbed, and yelled for others to get out of their way. As I stood to the side of one of the quieter aisles, the hand of an elderly woman hit my back, sending me into a large stack of boxes.

It was shocking, and dare I say, disappointing as well. If it hadn’t been for two kind strangers who took time to lend a hand, offer a smile, and say a few kind words, I would have lost my faith in humanity that day.

Those two people changed me, not just my view on Black Friday, but my view on society. I discovered how simple it is to change a life, how easy it is to affect another’s world.

It’s easy to lend a hand, if we dare to take the time. It takes seconds to offer a smile. One kind word can change a life.

I’m not against Black Friday, and who knows, I may still go out this year (though it will be long after the crowds die down). But this year, I’m challenging myself. I’m going to be a better shopper, not just Black Friday, but every day.

I’ll smile, say a few kind words, offer a hand when someone needs it.

I can’t change the world. But maybe, just maybe, I can change the world of one person.

Will you join me in my challenge?

Feel free to share this with others! Let’s change as many worlds as we can.

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How This TBI Victim Journeyed Into Simple Colors

Imagine a world where colors combine like shattered glass of a broken kaleidoscope. Imagine a world that was mine.

*****************************
Everywhere I turned,
I saw a crimson cloud.
Red was an apple hanging from a tree,
A shirt plastered on a clammy figure.
Red were cheeks flushed in noonday’s blistering heat,
A siren flashing on the street,
A bird soaring through the sky,
A finger cut by book’s loose pages.
Red was my brain
Sizzling in the fiery sun.
Every time I think of moving,
I see the color red.

I see green.
Flashing,
Neon,
Bubbling in a store.
Shampoo’s bright bottle,
Nails popping colors.
Green as grass,
And trees against a summer sky,
That highlight doors
With shelves that hang,
And hold lit signs.
A child’s shoes running by,
A candle on a rack.
Every time I see a store,
I see the color green.

Yellow. Blue.
Colors swirl and combine.
Yellow as sun that
Burns my eyes
And blisters my brain
On summer’s hot day.
Yellow is a shirt worn
On vacation
Where blue jeans were
My husband’s choice.
A rose on the seat,
A hat upon our heads.
I think of vacation and
See yellow and blue.

Rose and teal,
Aqua and brick.
Beads and baubles,
Paints and brushes.
Flashing colors
On a child’s toy.
A television glare,
A computer screen,
Everywhere I turn
My colors combine.

Black.
White.
And in the middle
My world is gray.
********************

Now imagine a world void of color, and, according to some, the world of a minimalist. (I don’t know if that’s true or not.)

I only know I can’t imagine my world without reds and greens, purples and pinks. I can’t imagine life with no color. Color enhances our existence, magnifies our experiences. It brings our world life. Unless you’re a TBI victim, then colors can turn everything upside down.

I used to love color, bright teal pillows and blue scarves strewn across a sofa, a pretty picture of a red rose on a wall. Greens and yellows and orange-colored chairs. I loved it all, and still do. Just not at the same time, and not in my home. Not since my brain injury.

Today I live in a world of beige, with hints of nature in the middle. In my dining room, a lone green vase sits on a creamy wooden table, the signature of nature at its finest. My stove holds a teapot highlighted by a tan-colored wall, a splash of sunshine on a dreary day. Red and blues in a Paris setting, pictures that show life in the home, travel, adventure.

I still have colors, but they are simple and few. Well-chosen, with meaning and life. My colors in a world of cream.

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How a Brain Injury Turned Me into a Minimalist

I’ve never been a fan of clutter. At least I didn’t think I was. Looking around our home, one would never have thought I was a collector of anything.

But the truth was, I was the master organizer, the grand arranger, the disguiser of all things collectable. I could hide anything in a cabinet or drawer. I could even hide it in plain sight, making a collection look like a grand array of art.

Strings and old ribbon, cascading like a fountain over an ivory colored lamp. Buttons and gadgets, baubles and beads, in amber colored bottles lined on a shelf. Painted canvases pressed against a wall, brushes stacked in terra cotta pots.

Books upon books, like soldiers on a shelf.

In a closet, in a small corner basket, a pile of material, folded, each color elegantly displayed. On a shelf above, evenly spaced, boxes and packing material, neatly aligned.

Such a beautiful vision of clutter.

Then one day, I was in a car accident. My brain snapped, and within days (or was it weeks?), I changed. My personality became an extreme of who I once was. I no longer just wanted things arranged, I wanted them out of my life. Clutter became my enemy.

Everywhere I turned, I saw clutter. In books and papers I couldn’t read, in jewelry supplies my clumsy fingers could no longer hold. I saw clutter in the canvases I painted, and cards I no longer had the patience to make.

I began to let go, though I don’t remember the first items I threw away. That memory, like many, is gone. But the act of decluttering, the emotion it spun, stuck with me forever.

I think decluttering was my way of releasing my old life, and letting myself become someone new. Over the next couple years, as I changed, so did my home. I slowly let go of more stuff, until two years ago when I did a significant cleanse.

Decluttering, like the brain injury, changed my life. It changed me. But I rather like the person I have become. Like my home, I feel cleansed. I feel like someone new.

To think it all began with a brain injury.

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Perfectionism and Minimalism – The Perfect Marriage

I am a perfectionist. I am an alphabetized-spice-drawer addict, a color-coded-closet control freak. I am a book-lined-by-type, shoe-in-each-place, pens-perpendicular kind of person. Makes you wonder how I make it through the day, doesn’t it?

The truth is, I like my house, and my life, in order. I like to know exactly where each object is when I need it. I don’t want to search for anything.

Which is why I like minimalism.

Minimalism makes my less-than-perfect house seem cleaner. My house gets dirty like everyone’s, but with minimalism, there’s less to clean, organize, and maintain.

And with less to clean and organize, I Have More. I have More Time. More Money. More Freedom. Time for family, and myself. Money to give to others, and to save for retirement. Freedom, from shopping, choices, and searching for things.

Minimalism is the perfect marriage partner for a perfectionist. But I don’t think you need be a Type-A everything-in-control-and-in-its-specified-place perfectionist to be a minimalist, because even if you aren’t, the joy of minimalism, of owning less, and having more, will keep you, and your life, in order.

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