Hungry, hungry brain

My husband recently reminded me of a comment I used to make in the early post-TBI years when I’d get overwhelmed by visual or mental stimulation: “My brain is full.” The cure was usually a nap.

Now, 10 years after the car crash, my brain seems to have quite the hearty appetite. I’ve been taking heaping helpings of anything to do with language, yoga, music, current events–you name it. … Well, not piracy. So I guess I am kind of a picky eater, if we’re going to keep going with this metaphor. Yes, we are. It’s fun!

The problem is I tend to binge on activities that fill my brain with information, know-how and/or joy, rather than sticking with the balanced mental diet I’d be on if I consistently made to-do lists and to-did everything on them, as I keep telling me shrink I’m gonna.

Metaphor all gone. (Burp.)

Just today, I continued a recent obsession I’ve had with learning to sing my favorite song from the musical “Hamilton.” It’s “You’ll Be Back,” sung by King George III to the American colonists. Until recently I thought I had the magical ability to recall every note and lyric of every song I’d ever heard, including commercial jingles from products I don’t remember.*

Turns out that’s only true for songs from before the accident. So I practiced, practiced, practiced–at the piano, on the couch, in the shower. I still don’t have the song memorized, but I’ve loved every minute of trying to make that sucker stick in my head. Even the melody is complex. Also, as part of my online search for the lyrics, I found an app that teaches the chords of the song. So the next step was to learn how to play chords on the piano–F, G, D, etc. Somehow my brief childhood piano training didn’t include learning chords, so I’d just been noodling around, playing what sounded right with the melody.

So that was this afternoon’s delicious candy. (Sorry, the metaphor’s back.)

Earlier in the week, I had gorged on finding ways to make yoga accessible for one of the veterans I teach at the local VA on Thursday nights. His limited mobility meant I needed to come up with alternate poses and use yoga blocks and other equipment, including standing “push-ups” done at the wall to build arm strength. So focused was I on my task that I forgot to eat. (No metaphor, just a growly belly, which I then filled with actual food.)

It seems that my mostly recovered life (10 to 12 hours of sleep a night, plus all the medications I can swallow) has become a sort of banquet, and my plate’s not big enough.

*Last night my husband for some reason mentioned the 1970s doll Baby Alive, and I immediately started singing: “Baby Alive, soft and sweet. She can drink; she can eat.” For more, See “Back To Where I Once Belonged” on this blog.

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