Filling Out

Discussing life with a friend the other day, he commented on how much I have changed. This was particularly encouraging because he wasn’t referring to me pre- and post-accident, he was observing the growth he’s seen in the roughly four years that we’ve known each other. In the past few months especially, I feel like I’ve been coming into my own or, as I refer to it, I’ve been “filling out nicely”.

The idea of filling out is perhaps a little more apt, for it implies that things weren’t full at one point, that there was something lacking. As things settle once again, I have felt major pieces falling into place and filling out the person I am. It’s counterintuitive that a separation, a process admittedly saturated with loss and sadness, can still evoke a sense of completion and even hope. This puzzling dynamic, I think, speaks to the immense needs I alluded to in the previous post, and it is something both Anya and I have felt.

My car accident happened almost nine years ago, when I was a junior in university. I had finally decided on a major (Communications/Film) and looked forward to putting my talents and abilities to the test (my hunch was that I would do pretty well). With clear goals now in sight, new values and priorities were going to determine how I spent my time, who I would connect with, and ultimately what my life would look like. I alone would be responsible for these things, and I alone would have to (get to?) live with the consequences.

There is a comforting sense of independence that comes with choosing the path you want to follow and successfully arranging your values and priorities to do so. It is affirmation and confirmation of the individual you’ve become, a testament to your dedication, and, I believe, an integral part of one’s self-image and, therefore, self esteem. Unfortunately, I missed out on this opportunity, and a significant part of my personal development was cut short as a result. Instead, all my energy was focused on putting a life back together for myself, one with the best shot at joy and fulfillment. And the fact of the matter is that this was also true of Anya – her efforts joining, inspiring, and amplifying my own, at the cost of delaying her own personal pursuits and development.

Today, the stress and trauma of my accident have faded, the cognitive deficits have long been accepted and accounted for, and my energy is no longer spent managing the minutiae of daily life. Today I can focus on finding that path I want my life to follow, I can make up lost ground, and I can start filling out.

We both can.


About jaybrandsma

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6 Responses to Filling Out

  1. Jane says:

    I feel a positive energy emanating from this post, and find myself inspired. : )

  2. aureol says:

    Whooooot. So encouraging. I recently (3 years ago) separated from a husband of MANY years, and find what you have written to be so true. Now it is MY turn to find out who I am and what I want. And get to the point of using/fulfilling MY God given-talents and skills. Now I teach dance. And dance. And dance and dance.

    • jaybrandsma says:

      Thanks for the comment and support, Aureol, I am excited for you and the new opportunities before you. Just so others don’t get the wrong impression, I want to emphasize it was the car accident that denied me that process of individualization, and my relationship with Anya that ultimately put me in position to reclaim it now. Thanks again for adding to the conversation :)

  3. A great attitude in a hard time…keep this post noted somewhere so you can revisit it if you need to!

    • jaybrandsma says:

      Good idea, Cheryl! Now if only there were some kind of virtual cyber storage, on a network of sorts, that could be accessed from anywhere via some kind of convenient gadget I already carry with me… ;)

  4. Lana says:

    I think I know what you mean, Jay. The idea that something is done, even when sad, helps us move ahead. Thanks for sharing!

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