Where should I start? The first time I experienced a seizure? The first time I was diagnosed with psychogenic seizures by that awful neurologist? What about beginning with my sojourn in the epilepsy monitoring unit, several years into my recovery?
There’s so much to this story, so many twists and turns. Whenever I think about the topic, my emotions dart all over the place—frustration, anger, and resentment, grief and sadness, and finally relief that for the most part, I’ve come to terms with the whole story.
Standing in line behind her in Starbucks, I observed her as she leaned nonchalantly against the counter. I knew that stance—that was me, more than a decade ago, the slight swaying in the nonexistent breeze, the carefully annunciated speech, and the slow response to the barista’s terse questions. There was no doubt—this tall, skinny, unkempt woman was a brain injury survivor, in her early days of recovery.
Our conversations continue. He has been giving me a wealth of information about his community’s traditional products. I requested close-up videos of the weaving of the gudas. “I’ll ask my mom to take one.” She also sent a video of a cousin’s wedding, asking guests to wave at the camera.
Stories are inherent in traditional textiles, about the artisans and their communities, and about their cultures and traditions. Some of the stories are in the process, others are integrated in the designs, through figurative or geometric motifs. Though we usually associate stories with words, many are told through symbols or images, whether through hieroglyphics, geometric designs, or figurative imagery. Stories do not have to have a beginning, middle, and end, and they can take many forms, such as prose, dance, poetry, or even a list.