j, J, j, J

There are just too many things I love about this song and this video not to include it here, and I’ll find some relevant way to tie it in with this post later. In the meantime, here is Ben Howard with “Keep Your Head Up”.


As I’ve alluded to before, sorting out life with brain damage has me re-living various milestones of life. The process has been fairly organic and uneventful, perhaps an indication of the important but relatively superficial depth of the operational changes taking place thus far. However, I find myself now on the brink of another transition so structurally significant that it requires all I am, and will leave nothing unchanged as a result. This shift in the balance of power is not without opposition, however, and the lines are clearly drawn between two players.

First, there is jquick to act and react, emotionally driven, insecure, more social than his counterpart, but less successful relationally. Secondly, there is Jthoughtful, slow to speak, slightly worrisome though less prone to insecurity, and more aware of the big picture. Big J is about living well. Social standing means little to him – he knows who he is, what he’s about, and spends little time second-guessing himself as a result. Conversely, little j makes it all up as he goes – acting and conversing without forethought – and this is a problem, given his turbulent, emotionally fragile nature.

What’s happening is that as I grow, as I better understand how I function and how to function, and as the overall trauma subsides, I venture from consisting entirely of j to operating more and more as J. Quite expectedly, the two are in opposition, vying for face time. This internal battle is problematic for various reasons, the most significant being that little j is quicker to shoot off his mouth along with his emotions. I’ve come to see that in real-time conversation (especially chatting online), j tends to hog the mic. J recognizes his own tendency to worry too much and, being slower to compute conversation anyway, lets j run rampant, despite his oft inaccurate and immature drivel. As an ambassador, j makes a poor impression, and the result, as was so brilliantly and tactfully pointed out to me this past week, is that I do not always represent myself well.

Recognizing this, much of my frustrations and disappointments with myself begin to make sense, and a solution becomes more clear. Presently, I make use of various compensatory strategies to mitigate the areas I have difficulty in, and these practices have largely become second nature. I’ve changed the way I do things, adopted new routines, and these eventually became my new normal way of operation. The time has come for what could be the final adjustment – to drop j and be J.

This is a bold and formidable endeavour, I know, for the wholesale change I propose here is neither easy nor swift. j is a tenacious little devil, and he’s been running the show for nigh a decade. J is putting together a refreshing and creditable campaign, but it’s a tricky perch to reach, my mental control-room. Working in J’s favour, however, is the fact that I like him better. I like his approach to life, the way he is with my friends, and his disregard for my head-injury. j is selfish, easily scared, and quicker to engage in self-pity. j looks for easy ways out and, while staring inward, will try to justify his victim’s mentality – and I hate that. J, on the other hand, looks for opportunities, challenges, and ways to help others. He doesn’t hang his head in shame or pity, he holds it up because of what he has and will accomplish.

Hey, there’s the tie-in with the song!!


About jaybrandsma

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2 Responses to j, J, j, J

  1. Jane says:

    Excellent post. (By the way, think I have only ever talked to J, but I have a strong feeling I would like j just as much.)
    : )

  2. Liv says:

    I can just say this … I like J so much because of j … sometimes there seems to be a lot of BIG LETTERS out there who never slip and let us ‘know’ the little letter inside! Great song!

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