Playing the hand you’re dealt

Ever feel like your brain is in a rut? Ok, glad to hear it. Let’s play cards sometime.

Picture me: 14-year-old Bri, sitting at the kitchen counter top. Big bowl of ice cream. TV turned on to some secondary ESPN channel featuring the World Series of Poker.

It’s the big boys table. It’s poker on TV!

Growing up, I played Texas Hold’em for fun. Getting the chips out at family reunions was always a blast, and you’d learn something from the game every time, win or lose. Naturally, I amped up the dedication and started watching poker on television every day after school. It’s what you do when you really want to learn!

TV is your best teacher.

I look at life a bit differently now being in my upper twenties. I remember my 14-year-old self, not really knowing what the future would hold. I mean, why worry? Bowl of ice cream + TV means life is great! But now that I’ve got some young professional experience under my belt, I know that I have to treat life with the hand I’ve been dealt, and make the most of it.

See, poker is part playing the hand you’re dealt, but also part the game you want to play. Life is the same way, only your brain chooses how you want to live it.

Chronic pain issues and many sleepless nights have served me some boiling hot soup from my mid-teens to present day. Back then, I wouldn’t have known that it was just the beginning of a really odd life journey. Because chronic pain is really weird. Only you know how you feel, and let me tell you, lower back pain is a fighter.

“Have you ever tried chirotherapy?” – every person who hears I have low back pain.

pain diagram

Oh boy.

I’ve filled in these pain diagram charts more times than I can count. They’re really fun. But something that I never factored into all my pain was my brain. My soup bowl has been overflowing with all the “X’s”, slashes and dashes, and my brain has been holding it all in like a champ.

Lately, the champ status has been sinking as my brain has been a chirpy little bird reminding me how much it sucks. I know that it’s just the hand I’ve been dealt here in life. It’s a weird hand, that keeps me at the ready with Advil, ice packs, pain patches, special cushions…all the things. So I’ve got to play it the best I can. And you know what? I’m gonna keep playing!

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