There are terms to describe my creativity…words like “Synesthesia, Acquired Savantism and Accidental Genius” are all thrown about among experts talking about how I suddenly discovered the ability to paint in 2011 after a Traumatic Brain Injury. But this isn’t just a story of painting; it is my experience of transformation.
I was an award-winning entrepreneur and nationally recognized business strategist in home health and hospice before the “mild” traumatic brain injury that changed my life. I was married at the time, at the pinnacle of my career, with a 2 year old daughter. In between business trips, I went to Costco to get a bag of cat food. While loading groceries, the hatch/tailgate of my SUV suddenly dropped on my head. Although I never lost consciousness, my life changed in an instant. Immediately, my career ended and I began a walk into the unknown. Shortly thereafter, I discovered that I could paint. I was not an artist before the accident; but suddenly, painting was as easy as breathing.
With a new language – that of color – I transformed into an insatiable artist overnight. This is what it means to be an Acquired Savant. I am self-taught, and I have never taken an art class. I simply sat on the floor of the art store and allowed my hands to explore what felt right. That was the Summer of 2011. I am very fortunate that I do not have many of the tradeoffs that go with Acquired Savantism; Dr. Treffert calls this scenario “Accidental Genius.”
My journey through art heals me, even as I continue to discover new health conditions as a result of the injury. I have Dysautonomia (POTS), Pituitary Dysfunction, Adrenal Insufficiency, Migraines, and other issues that impact day to day living. Still, I feel called to help others.
Today, I am the same person that I always was; I have simply deepened in ways I never could have imagined. With my CEO days in the rear view mirror, I now study Theology – I’m getting my Masters of Divinity. I spend time with people that live outside – they are my teachers. I have a little menagerie of animals including goats, bulldog, cats, fish and horse – my horse is my physical therapist. I paint constantly in order to express the inexpressible. And…I am a single parent to a beautiful daughter – she is my greatest gift.