Last night I placed second in a Long Beach storytellers contest. I was so happy to come in next to Angela Marsden who is a three-time gold Olympic rower. I told the story of how I learned everything in my life all over again – to walk, to tie my shoe, to tell time, to count, and to speak again. Formerly, I was an award-winning college professor, whose specialty was Speech Communication. I had to relearn everything because so much of my brain was burned out in the earthquake, a.k.a the stroke.
After my brain was burned, I felt like a two- year-old. I knew almost nothing about life. Everything was so confusing, like my brain was on drugs. I had to do some fast learning, even though my brain felt like it was in slow motion. I thank God that I love learning. I formerly identified as a lifetime learner; little did I know that I would literally be learning everything in my life all over again. What most people learn over a lifetime, I had to relearn in a year.
My stroke killed off a lot of neurons. It killed off a lot of dendrites. Fortunately, those neurons and dendrites grow back. Because I never would have won that storytelling contest if they had not made a comeback. Last night I finally felt like myself again. That I was a true winner. And that I was a true speaker, who used their voice to inspire someone, in spite of the right side of my throat being numb. I said to myself, “I am healing.”
What is it that makes you feel like a real winner, like you are truly alive? Consider making it a priority to do the thing you love to do.