This I Believe

Virginia - Jacksonville Beach, Florida
Entered on January 14, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that life should never be taken too seriously.

At the age of twenty-one (only one month after my birth) my mother suffered life-threatening head injuries, the result of a gunshot wound to the head. Since then, she has undergone several surgeries, some brain and at least two facial-reconstructive. She has never once complained. It is almost as if, upon leaving the house and entering the real world, she puts on an armor that deflects all nasty looks and every hurtful comment. I like to think of it as an “armor of resilience.” Rather than wallowing in self-pity (a sin which I am all too guilty of) or stewing on her situation, my mother has always made light of her all-too-serious injuries, often in the form of jokes. At least once a day, she forgets where she has put something (usually a Mountain Dew) and, in her signature southern drawl, remarks, “Well, you’d think I was missin’ brain parts the way I forget where everything is!”( My mother believe in defense mechanisms.) She is never ashamed of her glass-eye, of the scar on the side of her head, or of her lack of smell (all of which occurred due to her injury). She wears all her scars as if they are badges of courage; and they truly are. The courage she had to put herself in between a gun and her baby, the courage she had to survive (even after a chance of survival lower than her change of death), and the courage she has to wake up every morning and put on a happy (albeit scarred) face. Her resilience in the face of misfortune is not only courageous, but is truly remarkable. My mother is someone to believe in.