One step at a time, but I’ve already worked out how to approach and think about an extended in-patient rehabilitation for my spine.

Summer in Austin; research at UT PRC on Demographic Methods in Minority Demography. It was my first time traveling via airplane alone (relatively speaking–i was joined by the flight crew and other passengers, afterall), and deaf, then via first solo passenger cab ride. It was a leap of faith going to an unfamiliar universityfor the summer. I was housed in The Castillian. Under the impression that bedding and towels were included with boarding, I did not pack any. Upon entering my room, I was faced with two twin beds with bare mattresses, and a bathroom containing only a partial roll of toilet tissue. My roommate was not expected to arrive for another day. This was before I had any mobile device with internet access–or ubiquitous wi-fi for that matter, and I found myself using the phone book to locate a Wal-Mart or Target, and called a cab (my first ever alone at night–one previous cab ride was with Chicago friends leading on a New Year’s Eve) using TTY.

Yada, yada, rich textured story… (Gramsci has his prison notebooks. Przybysz has her Austin notebooks.)

Strategy for dealing with my beautiful neon spine (inspired by the most recent Anania Update and by history and Team Przybysz):
Go to best center with great people, immerse oneself in rounded, yet concentrated experience. Receptive orientation attending to personal and interpersonal growth.

This is an opportunity, an extension of my life’s work.

Continue fulfilling potential, creating, experimenting, improvising, exploring, discovering, flipping “interruptions” into opportunities, locating threads of continuity in discontinuity, applying the totality of cumulative experiences to the unknown and unpredictable.

* Isn’t that what tumors are, when we think about it? A force of life. Sometimes conducive environments are where we least expect. It wasn’t the story I was trying to write, but that’s what keeps me so interested and intrigued. Our university is everywhere, and not necessarily what we anticipatein form or content.

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You influence more people than you realize. Do you notice how impressionable upon you some, even momentary, interactions are with certain people in your life? The same goes for what you put out into the world. I have been thinking about how I always had a tendency to think in terms of, “why not me?” when it came to the stuff that’s happened to me that many would consider undesirable, and “why me?” when viewing the parts that are more conventionally seen as positive. (This is a recurring theme, as I’ve written of it in the past.) Have you honored, through your deeds, the legacy of friends and family members who have passed? I find some solace in how I am mindful of those who came before me, and that I continue to do the best I can with what I have at any particular moment. Perhaps that sort of approach could help comfort and assure you?

This path meanders a lot. When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I realized what an asset my mind was in dealing with physical insults. I often expressed how thankful I was to have my mind–as quirky and weird as I always was and reveled in being. Little did I know that I would acquire substantial cognitive challenges in my late twenties and early thirties–thanks to a perfect storm of sorts–and somehow lose, regain, lose, and keep on building somehow even in the midst of losses. We are not forced to, but sometimes we choose to look at this gig or any state-of-being as definite, permanent, and static, when what we actually grapple with are the transitions and changes. In a single moment, we may feel completely displaced and out of sync, but that does not preclude identifying purpose and meaning, under any circumstance, at some time, and having a profound affect from there. Mattie Stepanek comes to my mind here, among others. You are such an empathic being.

I don’t know if it’s because that veil of “what disability and ‘dependency’ mean” was lifted at such a pivotal and regenerative time for me (late 1990s), or my repeated experiences of grace in being broken down to total dependency (and having to work collectively with all that that entails, but I’m just not buying into the hype that we, as a human race, can actualize communitarian interdependence if we limit ourselves by writing off “those who cannot take care of themselves.” That describes every infant out there, yet we find tons of meaning and inspiration in the percieved and actualized potential of those beings.

You guys can relate to this, I know you can: it is so much different to experience something than to observe it, imagine it, and judge “what it must be like.”