Letters to my concussions


Dear #1:

You can into my life unexpectedly. So unexpectedly it made my head spin. I was out on a run and I stumbled — that’s all it took. I was knocked off my feet and suddenly, you were there. In the moment, I didn’t have the clarity of mind to fully see what you were. Probably because I had to walk home 2 miles dripping in blood and tears and then go home to ice most of my body. Then, just like that, you were gone — along with my iPod and much of my dignity.

Dear #2:

You came along to expose my vulnerable side just when I was at my strongest. I had skated for two hours, done 80 burpees, and decided to go for a 4 mile run because I was feeling so great that day. But on mile 3, my body gave out on me. And there you were. I must have been so mortified by the egg-sized knot the fall left on my cheekbone that I didn’t acknowledge you the way I should have. (Apparently vanity was more important at the time, because I just assumed you didn’t exist.) It was as simple as that. Which now I realize is no way to treat you. For that, I’m sorry.

Dear #3:

It seems #2 was barely gone when you appeared in my life. I was blissfully skating on a greenway trail outdoors when I rolled over some debris in the path. I’m sure to anyone who may have been watching, I looked incredible flying through the air, legs up high above my head, my curls bouncing with force as I landed head-first and skidded from concrete into the grass. For some reason, I had opted out of protective gear that day, and I quickly learned that nobody was watching because I was able to lay on the ground for several minutes, collecting my pride and vomit, and wondering if I may actually die on the side of the road before anybody found me. About 10 minutes later, I mustered up the strength to pick myself up off the road and sort of laugh about it. You may remember it — you were definitely there. But then I went home and ignored you. Which was just as foolish as skating without pads.

Dear #4:

You came into my life with some pretty killer whiplash. In fact, that’s really all I remember thinking about you. It was my first roller derby concussion. All I remember is hitting a wall of butts, then I was laying on the floor with a few other people asking, “What happened?” I didn’t know how to answer. I finally did go to my chiropractor, who worked out my whiplash. I guess I didn’t assume it was anything more than that. Silly me.

Dearest #5:

Our relationship was what made me finally acknowledge the others. I finally acknowledged it when I woke up the day after a roller derby scrimmage and couldn’t think clearly. You were honestly just like the rest. Only this time, I didn’t ignore you. Maybe it was the nausea and cloudiness that made me see you for what you were. I finally got my act together and went to see my doctor, who sent me straight to the E.R. for a CT scan. Despite a clear scan, my concussion specialist made me realize that I had indeed suffered from five concussions. My doctor lectured me about topics like “maybe it’s time to hang up the skates” and “do you want to be able to remember your kids’ names or function like a normal human being or continue in your career?”. I accused him of chatting with my mom, but I think he finally got through. Maybe it is time to retire from roller derby after all. I hate you most of all. But thanks for the muscle relaxers, and for finally getting me to wake up and recognize all five of you evil beasts.

Screw you all,


P.S. Apologies for any typos or nonsensical sentence structure, and for me not writing in the past several days. As you may have realized, I am currently concussed.

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