A cabbage. Just a simple cabbage. Yet it means so very many things to me. "Cabbage" is one of those words I constantly struggle with since my brain injury. I can’t help it…every time I see one I want to call it a "Cauliflower"….and every time I see a "Cauliflower" I want to call it a "Cabbage". It is frustrating to have to always pause…look at the item I want to label…and choose to use the correct word to name it.
But this cabbage isn’t about frustration. This cabbage/cauliflower/whatever-my-brain-wants-to-name-it…..this beautiful thing is a gift. A gift from a new friends who took the time to create space for me in their lives. A gesture that I am incredibly grateful for.
When you are what the band Frightened Rabbits term a “Modern Leper”, you exist in a world that is consciously or unconsciously blind to your struggles. Though you appear whole, you are missing “vital parts from your system”.
When I was normal and not a modern leper, it was easy for others to “make space” for me in their lives…I imagine it was because we shared the same space so there was no inherent effort involved. But now, with my new limitations and changed abilities, it takes an understanding, patient and empathetic person to work with me to create and find a space that can hold us both.
The kindness it takes to understand what constitutes a safe environment for me…to say, come over to my place…I’ll make us treats….it will be quiet….we can visit and talk…I will not unfairly ask you to function beyond your limitations to maintain this relationship….and I’ll make our interaction stop well before you hit the limit of your abilities…..this…this is a very rare kindness in my world. One that is extended to me by a few people whom I dearly love and appreciate. And now I get to add two more people to that group.
All of us modern lepers deserve to hold space in this world. To exist without barriers to our lives. And I sincerely appreciate every single friend who makes the effort to understand how they can do that…and help give new beautiful meaning to old things. #GiveACabbage