I sent out a tweet not long ago asking “If you had to handwrite your blog, would you still blog?”

I was surprised by how many people said that having to write out their posts would shut them down faster than a fat kid runs to cake.

I’ve journaled since I was a child and my words only formed in pictures.  Sharing my emotions on paper served to help me cope with painful experiences and to hold the memories of greatest happiness.

I always loved to write.

The crappy thing is?

I know that if I ever lost my ability to pound it out on a keyboard and have my words magically appear on a screen I’d stop.

Not because I’m lazy.  Which I am.

And not because keeping stacks of notebooks and binders of pages is a space-eater.  Which it is.

But because I just couldn’t.

That stupid stroke.

I’ve written about overcoming mental hangups of the long-term effects of my stroke.  Not all of them are capable of being overcome. Yet.

I’m not embarrassed to have to tell people I had a stroke, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.  But I hate some of the lingering effects it had on me…things that would be unnoticeable or unextraordinary to the casual observer…but they hurt me to know that it’s not how I used to be.

I have to nap….not fun sneaky little sleep intervals…but I HAVE.TO.NAP.

I can’t walk long distances before noticing that my right leg is tired.

Let’s not even get into the memory issues.  I’m not sure I’ve gotten past that enough to talk about it right now.

I sometimes have to stop mid-sentence because the word I’m searching for disappears….especially irritating when it’s something I should absolutely know…like my kids’ names.

But, the worst for me, is my writing.  My handwriting that went from decent to painfully childlike to legible.

My right hand no longer does what I want it to when I put a pen to paper.  I write a check and, even four years later, it still looks like a stranger’s signature.

I struggle to sign out our 100 Christmas cards each year, and the addresses? Don’t even talk to me. Some have come back returned and I throw them in the trash because I can’t stand to look at them.  (Sorry if you didn’t get a card last year!! There was also a stamp issue last Christmas, but let’s not talk about it)

It’s a constant reminder of my body’s weakness and how there are things that will never be right again.  It feels like a betrayal of all the work I put into physical and occupational therapy so I could be normal and not-broken at 30 years old.

It ticks me off that I can’t get over it.  That I look at a stack of forms for the kids’ schoolwork and dread it. That I will type out a note to the teacher and print it so that I don’t have to struggle with making it look nice and neat. That I take the time to make copies of anything I have to fill out so that if it’s a mess when I’m done I have a backup.

I am WELL aware that it could be so much worse than it is.

Most days? That’s enough to make me not care.

Other days it still matters. It matters a lot.

It’s MY hand…and MY signature that’s gone…and MY inability to indulge in the simple pleasure of opening a fresh diary and putting down my thoughts.

I’m thankful that I have a computer and can still journal.

But there are times that I miss the comfortable feel of the pen.

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6 Responses to Lingering

  1. MommyGeekology August 16, 2009 at 2:14 PM #

    I used to keep memory books…. blank notebooks (unlined) that I would fill with little bits and pieces of thoughts, doodles, etc.

    After high school, I stopped…. it seemed to childish to continue, and I miss that, but I'm still able to start again if I wanted. I can't quite imagine how it would feel to be unable to pick it back up.

    So sorry that you have to struggle, but so proud that you're strong about it.

  2. Mrs4444 August 16, 2009 at 2:10 PM #

    I have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to longing for a pen, even though I've always been a journaler, too. Whenever I have to use a pen or pencil, I feel like I'm doing it for the first time, since I'm so used to using computers now. I'm happy for you ; that you have the use of technology to express yourself, but I understand that you would like to have a choice.

  3. kris August 15, 2009 at 9:19 PM #

    I can imagine you'd mourn these things — I'm glad you feel safe in expressing that here. While yes, things can always be worse, these are still your feelings, worthwhile and valid without any explanation needed. A lovely post.

  4. Jyl August 15, 2009 at 6:40 PM #

    Hey Anissa! I love this post. It is so me! The reason is… because I was a very late bloomer in the blogging world for precisely this reason… I. HEART. WRITING! I have nearly 20 completed journals I've been writing in since my great grandma gave me my first one when I was 6. I remember when I first heard about the blogging phenomenon, my immediate reaction was that I couldn't do it, because it would take away from my journal writing. Then I gave in. Love it. And, it did get in the way to some degree, but I still have to write and try and balance the online immediate and much faster thoughts with the more thought out, personal notes I scratch in my journals :) . If handwriting were my only option… I don't know that I would blog as much. But, I love that I can still capture my thoughts in handwritten format. And, I'm the biggest sucker for handwritten thank-you cards and stationary.

  5. muskrat August 14, 2009 at 3:38 PM #

    I've met you in person multiple times and had no idea. You're always so cheerful and seem 100% functional! In any event, I'm glad you have a keyboard, so that you can continue with an activity that you love. And, I'm glad that the stroke was minimal in its long-term effects such that folks who hang out with you can't even tell.

  6. Jill August 14, 2009 at 1:47 PM #

    What you need is to go to Office Max and get yourself some address labels, then put all your addresses into a Word document or an Excel spreadsheet, and you can print them out on labels! Also, they make some really great personalized cards these days that don't look cheesy or like you're flaking on the cards.. but then again who cares if it does look like you flaked? Aiming Low, right?

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