New Feature: Traumatic Brain Injury Thursday

In the tradition of #ThrowbackThursday I have decided to start a new blog feature I am calling #TBIthursday. Like the “Throwback Thursday” of social media, I plan to look back/throwback to an aspect of living with or recovering from my brain injury. This is to help jog my memory and get me writing in my memoir more. I have no restrictions or perimeters for myself with this extra post. They may be long or they may be short. I’m sure it will vary.

So fasten your seatbelt (because I’m all about road and creative nonfiction safety)! 😉😆

My TBI-related memory for this week is about a haircut. In the months following my Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and 3-week coma I had an interesting haircut. Before the brain injury I had shoulder length blonde hair with bangs. When they were performing life-saving measures (relieving pressure in my brain) immediately following the car accident I was in, the doctors and nurses shaved part of my head. Gone were the bangs (or fringe) I had since elementary school. Gone was the lighter blonde locks that I had been dying to replicate my hair color when I was younger. However, being that I had my hair “cut” or really shaved as part of a lifesaving effort and not as a form of vanity, the doctors/nurses only shaved the part of my scalp necessary to help with relieving the pressure on my injured brain. So the result was an area of shaved scalp when the rest of my hair was its original length and dyed blonde color.

The question I ask now is this: was this a mullet? I am going to insert a picture here of my hair post-accident and YOU be the judge!

I suppose it’s not a mullet in the traditional sense (think the 1980s or the guy from “Tiger King”). However, even in my early stages of recovery I leaned on humor… so I would say I had a mullet. And I used to make my sister and others laugh (but especially my sister) by saying I liked the mullet because it was “business in the front and party in the back!” Ya know, the traditional joke about mullets. It makes me smile now as I’m writing this. So really that unfortunate look that I had from mid-September 2016 to December 2016 is the gift that keeps on giving! First it showed my life was saved by some smart-thinking medical staff and then it started to help me relate to others with humor. I’m proud I survived that time in my life (!) but even more proud I survived it with a smile!

The reason I am thinking about my hair is because I am waiting to get a haircut soon and I have decided to stop playing around with the color so much (I am now strawberry blonde) and go back to my dishwater blonde roots (literally). When I was still in transitional care before I went home following the accident my Mom tracked down a hairdresser who came to me and cut off the mullet! He was a nice man who had turned a transportable carrying case into a convertible salon chair. I was so happy to have hair all one length that I didn’t fully notice that with all the longer hair cut off I now had pretty dark hair. My parents were surprised (not sure why because they had been looking at my darker roots in all their mulleted glory). My Dad said I looked like a young Jamie Lee Curtis. My hair wasn’t THAT dark but he was shocked! Then a few months later I was able to get into my regular hairdresser and had it dyed strawberry blonde.

Before the accident and before my attempt to grow my hair longish (like it was at the time of the accident), I used to joke (again with humor) that the hairstyle I had much through my life was my signature “Velma” (from Scooby Doo) haircut! After my experience with the TBI mullet I have embraced shorter hair and no bangs. Other than a period in 1980s when my Mom encouraged me to get a perm, I have rarely deviated from the Velma stick straight with bangs haircut. So if I have learned one thing from my TBI (I have learned way more than just one) it’s that if you’re growing you’re changing… hairstyles. 😉

Here’s an image comparing my various hairstyles to people (or cartoons) of pop culture.

My pop culture hair twins.

And to REALLY make this a “throwback” post here are some pictures of lil’ me with varying awkward hairstyles.

Me through the years. Yes I wore an eyepatch one summer. Yes, I dressed as the Statue of Liberty 🗽 one Halloween. Yes… I can hear you laughing!

Thank you for reading my first #TBIthursday


One thought on “New Feature: Traumatic Brain Injury Thursday

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