what you do when people think they know you

Of all the things I worried about, coming face-to-face with so many people I have known from BEFORE ranked at the top.

They saw me running around with wind in my hair.  Smiles broad on my face and always ready to pose for a picture.  On the floor, on my knees, everywhere.

How do you explain what changes have happened to you?

Do you try to make sense of the physical transformations? The face. The wheelchair. The body.

Can you explain what difference really means when you have hearing problems, double vision causing you to wear glasses that look extra funky, and you have to make do with just one hand.

Oh, I like to think that they didn’t notice.

But they aren’t stupid and neither am I.

They saw it.  They saw it all. They heard it.  They felt it.

They couldn’t NOT see it.

I like to think they took a minute and then they got over the look of it.

They saw the me that was still there.

They heard me.

And it was a moment of reunion for them too.

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27 Responses to what you do when people think they know you

  1. Jorja White August 14, 2010 at 2:59 PM #

    it’s funny, but if i am totally honest, i had no idea who you were when i arrived at blogher 10. i am a newbie, not just a first time conference goer, but i am a n true newbie in that i just started writing on my blog/site a couple of months ago. yet i met you, at your party, just briefly, and someone began to tell me your story. i was pulled right in as i believe that suffering, pain and grief are the greatest common denominator for all of us humans. your story, though not similar to mine, is full of all three and though we don’t share experiences, we do share the brokenness that they bring into your life. i was taken by your humility and your candor, you and your hubby, at the panel discussion. i don’t know you anissa, but your story is beautiful and so are you. i look forward to reading more of it…thanks for fighting and sharing. it makes this community more real and authentic and those things can not be measured in this broken world.

    Jorja White´s last post…And the Award Goes to…

  2. Poppy August 13, 2010 at 4:04 AM #

    Not reading the above comments before posting so hope I am not being redundant.

    Almost 3 years ago now my mother in law suffered a stroke, We were visiting that weekend and were there that night and so glad we were. Otherwise she would have been alone and surely died.

    We just returned tonight from a visit (she lives 5 hours away).

    Anissa be grateful for all you have. Your caring husband and beautiful kids. The fact that you can still be witty and gorgeous and get whatever you want to say out to us and make us laugh, smile or feel however you convey.

    My mother in law sits in her chair nearly completely uncommunicative and frustrated, depressed as hell.

    Be thankful for what you have and GO with it! I for one am so happy to see how far you have come and are YOU!!

  3. Lucretia Pruitt August 12, 2010 at 5:32 PM #

    I saw you… the wheelchair just made you easier to find in a crowd even though you are actually shorter than you were before! ;)

    You are so you, my amazing friend, that post-stroke physical crap can’t begin to hide your light and your amazing self.

    Besides – you get credit for the best line at the whole conference. “I’m not dead” has to be one of the better openings to a panel evah! :)

    Much love.

    Lucretia Pruitt´s last post…You’re Doing It Right – vol 2

  4. Kristin August 11, 2010 at 6:53 PM #

    Anissa, I didn’t know you before the stroke so all I saw was a woman with an indomitable will who has survived the unsurvivable. You are beautiful and I am so thrilled I got to meet you.

    Kristin´s last post…BlogHer10 Photo Post – Day 1

  5. Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] August 11, 2010 at 5:51 PM #

    Like I tell everyone: You’re all there. You’re still YOU.

    Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]´s last post…Pretend conversations about getting stuff from the internet- BlogHer10 Edition

  6. Julie @ The Mom Slant August 11, 2010 at 5:29 PM #

    I did see you. And honestly, I was a little too starstruck to approach you. Because I think you’re amazing.

    Julie @ The Mom Slant´s last post…Bicycles- The latest threat to our Constitution

  7. Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) August 11, 2010 at 5:01 PM #

    GIRL – when I saw you I saw a miracle, all of our prayers answered! You were with us — YOU, 100% YOU!

    Wheelchair, smmeelchair — at least you always have the best seat in the house! ;)

    Janice (5 Minutes for Mom)´s last post…On Camera with Momversation-Women- The 5G Network

  8. MommyGeekology August 11, 2010 at 12:51 PM #

    I did see YOU, definitely. The same YOU who either did actually recognize me (or pretended to, really well!) even though we’ve only talked a few times. And we hugged. And it was great.

    It was awesome seeing you there, Anissa.

    MommyGeekology´s last post…The bathroom clearly had a history of break-ins …

  9. AmazingGreis August 11, 2010 at 12:17 PM #

    You will always be YOU!!! I will always love you for YOU!! XOXO

    AmazingGreis´s last post…New York State of Mind…

  10. Musings of a Housewife August 11, 2010 at 8:56 AM #

    I wondered too, if you’d recognize me, as we only hung out once. But you saw me first and I heard you and saw the recognition in your eyes and it was all you. :-)

  11. Bridget August 11, 2010 at 8:35 AM #

    You’re still Anissa Frickin’ Mayhew. You always will be.

    I was glad I met you in ’09…but I’m even happier I got to see you again in ’10.

    Bridget´s last post…A Day of Firsts

  12. Ri, The Music Savvy Mom August 11, 2010 at 8:14 AM #

    I had met you only once before, at Type A Mom last year. You didn’t know me from a hole in the wall then, but you were gracious and funny and generous and genuine…and you gave me a big Anissa bear hug.
    You did the exact same thing last week at BlogHer. Physical change? Sure, it’s there. But no change at all where it counts. ;) xoxo

  13. Christina August 11, 2010 at 4:18 AM #

    Sure, I noticed the differences. But to me you were still the same Anissa that I partied with during the Nikon party at BlogHer09.

    Christina´s last post…Some Book Titles Need No Explanation

  14. ThePeachy1 August 11, 2010 at 12:26 AM #

    I love ya. that will be all.

  15. kim/hormone-colored days August 10, 2010 at 11:35 PM #

    Great insight. Speaking of which, about 6 months ago, I happened on a copy of My Stroke of Insight, part memoir, part educational story of a brain researcher who had a massive hemorrhage on the left side of her brain. She shares her recollections of the morning of her stroke and her recovery along with a lot of brain facts. It’s what makes me think that by BlogHer 11 or maybe 12 you will be tap dancing on tables in between your book signings.

    kim/hormone-colored days´s last post…Yahoo! Part 2

  16. cindy w August 10, 2010 at 10:55 PM #

    Yep, that about sums it up. Took about 2 seconds to realize that you were still you, despite outward appearances. I was a little afraid to hug you too hard because I didn’t want to hurt you, but then you grabbed me and that was freaking awesome. From that point on, you were just Anissa. And I was so, so happy to get to see you and make snarky jokes with you again.

  17. Janine (@twincident) August 10, 2010 at 10:43 PM #

    Yea sure – there are things about you on the outside that are different from the last time I saw you. You could say the same thing about me though too. But your personality, your sense of humor, your smarts… what really make you, you, were all the same.

  18. magpie August 10, 2010 at 10:41 PM #

    I was really glad to get to give you a hug. You so totally rock.

  19. Twenty Four At Heart August 10, 2010 at 10:37 PM #

    OK, I will confess … at BlogHer 09 I was a relatively new blogger and I was afraid of you. Yes, I was … I was intimidated by all the big bloggers. This year when I saw you? I was STILL intimidated by you. You are the famous Anissa and who the hell am I? It took me awhile to get over the fear of your fame and approach you. I did it because I wanted to meet you SO much … because you have touched my heart incredibly. Because after my car accident and four years of recovery – you inspire me and give me strength every single day. Your kindness (and Peter’s), your hug … your words made my BlogHer so special. I wish I’d had a little more courage a year ago, but I’m so glad to know you NOW.

    Twenty Four At Heart´s last post…My Favorite NYC Photo

  20. Melissa August 10, 2010 at 10:37 PM #

    I didnt KNOW you. I read you, I was happy for the chair you provided me, and am glad to know I am NOT ALONE with the hearing crap. I was glad to make you my friend. And you WILL get better.

  21. Emma August 10, 2010 at 10:26 PM #

    You’re totally right – I don’t know you, even though I read your words before and after the stroke. I met you briefly last year at BlogHer, and you struck me as a mini tornado, flitting around as we packed swag bags together, making everyone smile and laugh – so full of energy.
    This year? You were different. But your voice was SO strong and clear. I was so happy to hear you and Pete speak in person.
    I don’t know you, but I am following your story, before and after and beyond. Another face in the crowd cheering you on.

  22. Ann's Rants August 10, 2010 at 10:24 PM #

    I saw you, and you saw me–and it was so cool.

  23. Missives From Suburbia August 10, 2010 at 10:24 PM #

    I wasn’t there, but I have a friend who had a severe stroke a few years ago, so I have experienced the before and after moment. I can assure you that everyone still sees you. I know it.

    Missives From Suburbia´s last post…Shes a Girly Girl

  24. Danielle Smith August 10, 2010 at 10:23 PM #

    I saw you. I hugged you. And you hugged back. And I heard your voice. It was ALL YOU. And I loved it. That is all.

  25. Lotus / Sarcastic Mom August 10, 2010 at 10:20 PM #

    The only thing that bothered me about the wheelchair was how it stopped me from being able to butt hump you without asking first.

    Regardless? I was so glad to see, hug, and kiss your face. And you rocked your session. Made me laugh just as much as the last time I saw you in October ’09.

    xoxoxo, baby.

    Lotus / Sarcastic Mom´s last post…Weekly Winners- August 1-7

  26. Miss Grace August 10, 2010 at 10:19 PM #

    Anissa I saw you and I heard you and I squeezed you and you are STILL YOU. You are you and you are fabulous and I buoyed my heart to see you. You are ANISSA. And you are fucking fabulous.

    Miss Grace´s last post…blogher10 by the pictures

  27. Janis @ Sneak Peek At Me August 10, 2010 at 10:19 PM #

    I swear someday when I grow up I want your perspective and your kick ass writing skills.

    Janis @ Sneak Peek At Me´s last post…Jaspers Heart

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