On November 8, 2015 when I was 14 years old, I sustained life changing injuries in the last minute of a soccer game. I dislocated 3 right ribs, my left sternoclavicular joint, and my left acromioclavicular joint. However, the worst of my injuries was a concussion. In a state of shock and with disrupted thoughts, I was left disoriented. I could not process or understand my detrimental injuries, so I continued with school and sports. Nine weeks later, I was diagnosed with a concussion, which soon developed into post concussion syndrome.
Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS) is classified as a mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI). It is far from mild. I developed a vast amount of symptoms including, but not limited to: dizziness, insomnia, distorted vision, light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, touch sensitivity, information processing disorder, derealization, depersonalization, fatigue, short and long term memory issues, dysphasia, and celphagia. My symptoms caused my life and mind to unravel. My past, present, and future were in shambles. Unable to remember my past. Unable to live in and handle the present. And without a present, there is no future.
Celphalgia is head pain. I call it brainache. For five and a half years, it is always there. A haunting, debilitating pain that resides within my brain. Living with intense pain makes every breath a struggle to survive. I used to do five things: soccer, basketball, learning, reading, and spending time with my family. I wanted to be a geneticist. Now, I cannot do any of those things. I cannot be any of those things. I could not understand what I had lost. I still cannot. Your brain is everything, and mine is scrambled.
Who are you when your potential is stolen? When you cannot live your life? When you cannot remember your past or present? When you do not have enough words to think quietly and soundly to yourself? I certainly did not know. I did not even know the questions, much less the answers. I never understand the situation with words. However, I feel it with my emotions. Emotions are my only thought process, and they are a stranger to me. Words are crucial. They are how we understand the world and ourselves.
I was never an artistic person. The only art I did was the required courses in school. Despite this, in 2016 I undertook my first attempt to draw. I was unable to decipher my own life and emotions. I was brewing with feelings. Stirring with anguish. It was bubbling out with nowhere to go. No words to leave me. I took my pencil, put it to paper, and the Broken Girl was created. My art book, Broken Emotions, came to be because of this girl. She gave a voice to the agony, hopelessness, and hopefulness that I had no words for. I am still unable to understand what it all means, but through her, the turmoil inside me is now seen. It became known. My battles could be fought with her by my side. The pain I endured, she would understand. She is a reflection of whoever resonates with her emotions. She can be everyone, someone, or no one.
The Broken Girl is never completely whole. She is always missing part of her head and thoughts, although you cannot always tell. She hides it well, but she is broken. With her as my internal translator, I continue to fight to understand my thoughts, to survive the pain, to rebuild my life, and one day recover and heal my brain and body. I plan to steal back my potential and my brain. The Broken Girl is for those in pain — an expression of the shattered fragments of broken emotions.