I am an Occupational Therapist by profession; as I work in a little known and very fluid profession, I am often asked what I do. I have a 30 second answer that I trot out when asked, but it strikes me that people still have no idea what I do even after I answer. What I say is: “after a stroke, heart attack, surgery or brain injury, I help people do the things we take for granted”. I have come to realize it is a very loaded answer, and I’ll unpack it for you here.
After any event that your body behaves differently than you had previously known it to, I am the gateway to a new normal. I am a coach, a drill sergeant, a creator of hope, a counselor, a way maker and a dream weaver. I take the impossible and make it possible. I open people’s minds- if they are ready- to new ways of doing things. I talk people off the edge and guide them to the resources that help make life worth living again. I help fear, doubt, worry, feelings of “not enoughness”. I teach people to be mindful of their bodies and purposeful with their movements. I help people find the rhythm of their bodies when they aren’t sure of the beat. I am present and cheering with them in their moment of victory, and I am the voice reminding them that progress is steady and revising the goal to help them experience success. I go to
Dark places daily.
For some, I take on the shape of their demons. To them, I represent what they can’t do. I can’t help them reach to goal fast enough. In their minds, I’m too young, too Black, too bossy, not encouraging enough, pushing them too hard, too woman, too confident to be effective. The way I offer is too incongruent to the way they they think things must be.
I am a fire-starter, and a light bringer. The eyes, minds, and hearts have to adjust me to receive me in my fullness. It is often a bit much, but always well worth it.