Sunday, April 15, 2012

Somebody that I used to know

November 29th, 2008, I didn't die, no, but my family and friends did, in fact, lose me. Even more scarring, I lost me. My stroke was only supposed to massacre me physically, but somehow, it also devastated me socially, academically and emotionally. I don't even recognize myself, and I'm not just talking about just a reflection in the mirror. I was an outgoing intellectual (aka nerd) with an infectious smile and an annoyingly happy heart. Now, I'm a shy, insecure cripple, with a "life" that has sad written all over it. The old me is now just..somebody that i used to know. People used to love me and respect me. Now they "love" me, and, pity me. I totally, totally understand feeling bad for me, hell, I even feel bad for me. But I want people to be in my life not because they feel bad for me, but because they want ME.  There are people who aren't in my life, who damn well should be in my life, but it balances out, because there are people in my life who   are dam well incredible. But, I'm not sure if I'm that great company. Let me explain, I've forgotten how to be a friend. Because I was locked inside my head for so long, unable to speak or interact with anyone, I'm, we'll, out of practice. I'm so used to  being by myself, entertained with my own fascinating internal monologue, I often forget to participate in conversations. Im so involved in my own world, it makes me kind of...selfish. My newly discovered insecurities get the best of me sometimes, leaving behind awkward silences. I dont want to sound like a broken record, but people don't necessarily understand me, so that disrupts any kind of rapport and keeps me from sharing my thoughts, deciding what I have to say isn't worth the effort. On top of all of this, I don't know how to let my friends be my friends, how to let them be there for me. I know none of my friends can really relate to most of my problems and worries, they just make them feel guilty and uncomfortable, which leaves me embarrassed, and definitely not comforted. It is weird keeping 99% of your thoughts away from your friends. It makes me feel so distant, so different. My five year college reunion is coming up, and I'm obviously not going. But, not even for a second have I felt like I will be missing out, like I'm not even connected to it all anymore. Maybe it's because I know the alternative, going, would be an unbearably humiliating, painful experience. Great friends, crazy parties, unforgettable memories - that is a little slice of heaven for the old me, not now. I'm just a mere shadow of who I used to be, not even a reflection, just an outline, an echo, a memory. My stroke ripped away from me everything from my dignity to my personality. Someone told me the other day that I had the "best smile." I guess that's the only thing my stroke left me. My smile and my memories are what's keeping me together, getting me through every interaction, pushing forward to tomorrow. Well, one more thing helps me along - the one good thing my stroke gave me... Determination. Drive. Resolve. Ferocity. You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness, or you can find something in it that makes you fly... Watch me fly.

10 comments:

  1. I love you. Thank you for always being harshly candid when others might not have had the courage to write what you do. And, for what it is worth, I know that of anyone who could have gone through what you do, you have come through it staying more your fierce, amazing, wonderful self than anyone. I know I haven't seen you in a long time but I hope I can soon, and I hope that you know that every time I have visited you, although we aren't strangers to the awkwardness that you wrote about, I still cherish every moment and am always so sad to leave. I can't wait to see you soon (so that we can discuss Hunger Games!!!)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Harshada you still seem to me like an "outgoing intellectual (aka nerd) with an infectious smile and an annoyingly happy heart" but it's through your writing, i haven't seen you in person in years. If you're "Now, I'm a shy, insecure cripple, with a "life" that has sad written all over it" then maybe it's only the way you are in person (for now, it could change)...what i'm trying to say is that a part of the old you is still alive through the written word. Not all is lost and keep writing

    ReplyDelete
  3. flops, and i know i'm speaking for some others as well, but you are still the same person to me. you may not do the same things you used to do but you are still the same honest, incredibly smart, thoughtful, trusted best friend that i've always had. yes, things are a little difficult sometimes, but i value your opinion and your advice and look forward to our conversations. i love you, and i don't think i lost you. you are still somebody that i know. <3

    ReplyDelete
  4. Harsh i was really touched by your blog...I know you're yearning so bad to get better & your writing stems from this frustration..but I want to remind you that your MIND, SOUL, & HEART are intact which is very important & it's the physiological shortcomings that's your challenge (not to say they are unimportant) but right now I need you to focus on what you have going for you (the same advice you gave me ;)..YOU'RE A WOMAN OF GREAT BEAUTY & GRACE, MEEKNESS, TRULY COMPASSIONATE, CARING, GENUINE, LOYAL,LOVING, A GREAT LISTENER, HUMOROUS, UNDERSTANDING, RESILIENT, HIGHLY INTELLIGENT, AN OPTIMIST, NOT TO MENTION YOUR TENACITY through this ordeal. In my books you are an HONORABLE person & this is coming from someone that doesn't know your before, So hang in there my friend & keep up the momentum ...& remember we all lose and gain people we love as time goes so you're not alone.xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  5. You came to win, Cougs. And you will. We've never been ones for the sidelines. And for the record, you're one of the few people has always and still always lets me be me. Remember chubby eric's niece when were 17? "I DON'T WANNA HEAR IT!" You got the great pleasure of meeting her because you let me be me. So thanks. And all that about being selfish - she still doesn't wanna hear it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dear Harshada,
    I have only met you once however am getting to know parts of you through your Blog. I was at a conference this weekend and met a lady Anita Moorjani who had a near death experience. She wrote a book "Dying to be me" It is excellent. Please read it if you get a chance. I would like to visit with you soon, please let me know if you are up to it. My email is nsbryska@uncc.edu

    ReplyDelete
  7. My Dear Harshada,

    I had the pleasure of attending high school with you in Charlotte! You probably don't remember me particularly well since I was a year behind you in classes, but I remember you very well as a beautiful, intelligent girl with the most luxurious dark hair that swung behind you when you'd walk through the halls to class. You had an infectious, musical laugh, and a lot of the "dorky-crowd" girls in my grade really looked up to you for your ability to balance being popular and well-liked with being a complete genius! I remember the day we all heard you had gotten into Duke AND Harvard!

    I also remember the day that Timmy D. called me to tell me about the stroke. None of us knew if you would be ok, or if you would ever talk or walk again. It was unfair, to say the least. I joined the Marines and moved away from Charlotte and lost track of many of our acquaintances over the past few years, but whenever I got a class email, or one of those glossy alumni magazines the school sends out, I would always wonder how you were doing.

    Finding this blog made me so happy! You're ok! Obviously not in body, which I know frustrates and angers and saddens you, from reading your writing. But the Harshada I knew comes through your writing so clearly: your love of music and dance and your closeness to your friends and family, and I'm thrilled to read your thoughts on life, the good and the bad.

    (Sorry this is so long...I couldn't find an email address for you!)

    Bottom line: I had some pretty rough experiences in the Marine Corps and Iraq. Why on earth did I decide to join in the first place? Who knows. All I know is that I'm finally at the end of my contract and I'll be flying back to the states next week, for the first time in almost 3 years. I thought I would be happy, to finally be "free," but I've been disillusioned and asking some of the same questions that have been on your mind. Why do terrible things happen to people who try so hard to do the right thing? So few of our contemporaries from Charlotte have any kind of experience like mine, and I felt isolated, depressed, and scared of returning home a different person.

    Finding your blog was a happy accident. Not only do you articulate so many of my own inner struggles, but you show such grace, self-control, and (though you might not always agree) optimism in your writing that you have inspired me to adopt those traits myself. I feel so much better after reading your writing. If Harshada can maintain her grace and sanity through years of the worst struggle of anyone I know, then I can face my own tiny inconveniences with a little more strength.

    Thank you for sharing these notes with the world. I hope you keep writing, you have a natural talent :) I am sending you many thoughts, prayers, and much love, even though we were never close at school. Take care,

    Theresa C.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dear Harshada,
    I am a friend of Simran and Sanjeev's. Luckily, I bumped into Simran and Mickey while taking a walk this morning - and she asked me if I had been on her FB page and read your blog? I hadn't. But I did so as soon as I got back home.
    You are one incredible young lady. I don't know you. I don't know what you are going through. But I know that you will come out ahead, and you will win, and you will fly.
    Look at you - having the courage to write what you do, smile as you do, inspire others as you do - keep it up and know that you touched a stranger today in a lovely way.
    Big Hug.
    Anuja

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi there,


    I'm an MA Magazine Journalism student at the University of Sheffield and I came across your blog whilst researching stroke survivors.
    I'm currently in the process of developing a magazine aimed specifically for stroke survivors! It'd be great to get some feedback from yourself, or other stroke survivours about your thoughts on the idea and whether you would read it?


    I've developed a survey with a couple of questions but any feedback would be much appreciated :)



    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/strokesurvivorsmagazine

    Thanks

    Neeru Sharma

    University of Sheffield

    ReplyDelete