Name: Annette A.
Brain Injury: 2012 Passenger in a rollover car accident
Explanation of Mask: I wear tinted lenses so I literally have rose-colored glasses. I decorated the inside of my mask to show the difference between what people see on the outside and how I feel inside. The flowers are for the growth I have had while being nurtured by people that love and support me, and every day I am thankful for them. The horns are for my strength, but also for the way providers sometimes demonize me when I advocate for myself. It’s exhausting and draining to use my energy this way, and the thorns represent the pain that keeps me from moving forward. If people stop judging only the flowers because “I look fine,” and just believe me when I say I also feel the thorns, then maybe the butterfly of change and rebirth could fly free. One day the flowers will get bigger and the thorns will get smaller. That’s the hope talking – there is always hope!
Name: Lil Sis
Brain Injury: TBI from black out and fell
Explanation of Mask: The process of dealing with a brain injury has “opened my eyes” to the extreme complexities of the brain and all the things that can go awry with even the smallest bump or jar – or slight stroke – and the unfortunate paucity of professionals who understand the issues and have good resources for dealing with them. Thank goodness for the folks at Alaska Brain Injury Network, Access Alaska, and now the Unmasking Brain Injury project, who are forging a new path to the light for all the people who struggle with brain damage and the folks who care for them. Eye/ nose/ head dysfunctions all come from head injuries.