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English Excerpt

My world was turned on her head in an instant, and her head burst open like a ripe watermelon falling on a hard tarred road. It was all messy and gross. My head. My body. My life. I now know how a fish feels when it suffocates in air. People like me, people who have suffered a TBI and brain damage, are repackaged by Life and emerge somewhat disfigured on the other side. We the “damaged people” are like a population group of our own.

A weird army of scraggly survivors fighting endless battles. The outcasts of society. Not because we have tattoos of skulls on our arms, have weird haircuts or because we wear earrings through our nipples. We are outcasts simply because we can’t do what most other people can, because we’ve found different ways from the perceived norm to continue making our way through life. I like to think of “us” as the “wounded healers of the world”. We have survived what happened to us, and it transformed our lives. The painful ordeals and victories go hand-in- hand with a new insight and wisdom that can now be shared with the rest of the world.

To be able to get up every day, to be able to breathe, speak, think and walk, is not a right. It’s an enormous privilege! Many people take it for granted – until they are confronted with the fragility of their own existence. Appreciate your body for the incredible phenomenon it is. It’s called “The Miracle of Life” for a reason.

Sooner or later, I hate to break it to you, you’re gonna die, so how do you fill in the space between here and there? It’s yours. Seize your space. Margaret Atwood

 

Afrikaans Excerpt

Wanneer ’n eier breek kan jy haar nie weer terugkry in haar dop nie, maar sy bly nog steeds geel, haar “binnegoed” is steeds dieselfde, net bietjie messed-up. Ek bloei nog steeds rooi. Ek is fisies bietjie herverpak, maar ek bly ’n mens – ’n volwaardige mens. My kernwaardes is steeds dieselfde. Ek is steeds Irene.

Ek wil so graag vir almal gil dat ons almal, of jy nou ’n soepel akrobaat of ’n opgefrommelde kaartmannetjie is – ons ALMAL bly steeds human beings. Ons almal se bloed is rooi, ons almal word bang, word honger, lag, huil, word kwaad, maak foute. Ons het almal ’n hart en ’n brein. Ongeag van taal, ras, geloof of ouderdom, ons almal snak soms na asem, hetsy as gevolg van opwinding of uit vrees. Vergeet van al die etikette en die titels soos dokter, dominee, professor, onderwyser, gestremde … Sien die mens raak. Kyk verby my dop en sien my raak.

We all have a disability of some kind; all are lacking in one way or another. Saul has an injury to his leg. What if his personality was deformed? How much worse if his soul was lame? Preachers or teachers look for the good in all of us. (Bless them for doing so.) I haven’t met anyone yet who isn’t handicapped in some way. So what’s the big deal? Don’t hide your deformity. Wear it like a Purple Heart. Georgiann Baldino

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