Most of you know about my recent concussion. Here’s the short version:
I took a blow to the helmet during softball practice, a week and a half before opening day of my senior season. My trainer expected the concussion to last two weeks, max. Instead it lasted four months. The injury stripped away my entire identity. I couldn’t read, write, or understand words that were spoken to me. I couldn’t turn on lights or walk across the room. I couldn’t be around another person without feeling paranoid and clawing at my hands. Speaking was difficult, and during attacks I came to refer to as “flooding,” I couldn’t speak at all. I would spend hours curled in a ball, unable to move, breathe without intense effort, or convey (or even understand myself) what was wrong.
It’s difficult for me to even use the word injury because what happened to me was so far beyond physical. I can never truly explain to another person what it felt like.
That’s a problem.
Let me tell you why.
I’ve grown up in athletics. I started playing ball when I was four, and I played at two different Division I universities. I’ve seen concussions. I’ve heard about concussions. I am the demographic all the “concussion awareness” initiatives are targeted toward. And my first response to realizing I was concussed was to hide it from my trainer because I knew she would sit me. I am not the only one who thinks that way.
That is a problem.
I had no idea what a concussion could do. In my mind, it was two weeks of being forced to stay in your apartment, of light and sound sensitivity, and of no softball. A concussion was something that happened and then was gone. It was also something a helmet could prevent. It wasn’t something that changed your life.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
So why is it a problem that concussions and brain injuries are difficult to explain? Because that means they are only being discussed in a hypothetical sense, in an objective sense. Every writer and reader knows that the way to reach someone is through emotions—by conveying experiences through stories. Simply telling someone concussions are dangerous is not enough. It wasn’t enough for me.
We need to show them.
That is why I want to create Flooded. Let me tell you a bit about it.
I have three goals for the anthology:
It is extremely important to me to not only do this, but to do it right. What does that mean?
I’m sure you’re seeing a pattern here. This thing is going to cost money. That’s why I’m planning a Kickstarter for October of this year. To make this anthology a reality, I’m going to need a lot of help and support. And I don’t just mean financially.
So how can you help?
1. Sign up to receive updates about Flooded.
You’ll also receive a free story from the anthology after publication (slated for July 2017).
Enter your email, and check the box marked Updates about Flooded.
2. Spread the word with your network.
Click below to Tweet, and use the embedded links to share this post with your social media networks. Each person you reach puts us one step closer to making Flooded a reality.
3. Become a social media ambassador for the project.
What do I mean by ambassador? Simply that you will become a representative of Flooded in your own network. I will send you updates on the project that you can relay. The goal is to have as many voices as possible talking about Flooded. This is especially helpful when it comes to platforms on which I myself am not active—Tumblr, SnapChat, Instagram, etc.. If you believe, like I do, that there is a true need for this anthology, and would like to represent it, use the form below or shoot me an email!
4. Volunteer your blog, newsletter, podcast, YouTube channel, etc.
This is big. Just like becoming a social media ambassador, volunteering your network to host Flooded-related content will help us reach more people so that we have a better chance at a successful Kickstarter, a plethora of awesome submissions, and a wide audience for the completed anthology. I can offer interviews—print, audio, Skype—and anything else to help you represent Flooded. In return, I will do everything I can to help publicize your blog, channel, etc. (and not just while you're running Flooded stuff). Email me if this sounds like something you'd be into!
5. Tell everyone you know.
Talk about Flooded. The only way this thing is going to happen is if we can prove what I believe: there is a place for this anthology in the world. And the only way to prove that is to get people talking about it and show that there is genuine interest in a creative anthology devoted to brain injuries.
Thank you so much for supporting this project! It's going to take a lot of voices to make Flooded a reality. I hope you'll be one of them.
Be sure to leave a comment with your opinion on the anthology, and scroll back up there to leave your email address.
I can't wait to hear from you!