WELCOME To ‘The Barren Island’ aka – (TBI)
By: Anthony Aquan-Assee
Taken from Emily Perl Kingsley’s “Welcome to Holland” (1987)
In our world, there are so many people who have no idea what it is like to live with a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). Of course not, it is an invisible disability.
I hope this story helps. I have used Emily Perl Kingsley’s “Welcome to Holland” (1987) as a guide in writing this.
Imagine planning a fantastic vacation trip to Australia. You purchase many guide books and make your exciting plans: The Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef, Manly Beach for the wonderful surfing, Hobart, Tasmania to see the Tasmanian Devil, and the Gold Coast in Queensland. You are so excited about what you will experience. You also learn some handy Australian phrases such as “G’Day” and “Crikey mate”.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Twenty hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to The Barren Island.”
“The Barren Island !?” you say. “What on earth are you talking about?? I signed up for Australia! I’m supposed to be in Australia. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Australia.”
But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed on The Barren Island and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease.
It’s just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn some new phrases. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Australia, less flashy than Australia and not as many people living there. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that The Barren Island has some flowers and some beaches….and some of the best scuba diving around. It even has some really special people who you never would have had the chance to meet had you not gone there.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Australia… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, go away. For sure it is a significant loss.
But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Australia, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … on The Barren Island.
Take things one day at a time.
It’s up to you how you want to see your situation.
By Anthony Aquan-Assee. https://anthonyaquan-assee.com