When I was a kid, I got clunked on the head. A lot. When you’re little, they call them “boo-boos”. Your mother kisses it and makes it better. Or your dad checks to make sure you’re still breathing, then hauls you back on your feet and tells you you’ll be fine.
That was back in the day. 1960s. 1970s. Falls. From heights. Bike accidents. Clumsiness. Playing at recess.
In the 1980s, it was organized sports. High school. Car accidents, too. Two of them within the space of 6 months, if I recall correctly.
It had an effect.
I’m sure of it.
Irritable. No good sense of where I was in the world, relative to other people, or relative to objects around me. Distractable. Easily confused. Angry. I got angry quickly. I was always playing catch-up, and nobody seemed to notice.
They all told me I was so smart… Why wasn’t I as smart as they thought I was? What was wrong with me? What was wrong with me?
I had no idea that any of the concussions had an actual effect on me. I knew I was dizzy and dumb and numb for minutes, hours, days after the biggest hits, but I had no idea that it could last. I had no idea that it did last.
Maybe that dumbness, that numbness blinded me to my own difficulties. I’m sure it must have, because coupled with that fog, was an energy… a furious drive to go-go-go that propelled me through life, like someone on a 6th century battlefield who gets hit in battle and has to keep going, keep fighting, keep running and charging and defending and thrusting and parrying, lest I end up dead like the rest of my comrades.
Like that. Only I wasn’t in any outward battle.
It was an inward battle. And I was attacker and the attacked.
I never knew…
I never knew.