Babs did me a 24K solid during my TBI recovery
Okay, she didn’t really save my life.
But, she did something else that’s valuable: her character boosted my confidence at a time when I had ambitious goals to achieve but little strength and guidance with which to do so.
She ended up being a strong female role model whom I’d tap for strength and whose example I learned from when I felt lost and confused. The New 52 Batgirl also happens to be a big influence for Shroom Raider—so, I’ll give a little context on why Barbara Gordon is a great influence for Amanita Jones (or anyone else for that matter).
If you enjoy DC comics, you may know Gail Simone’s work well. She is a considerable influence on the style of Shroom Raider. . .in fact, Simone’s Batgirl trade paperbacks were the first thing I remember reading when I awoke from my coma in October 2014.
Wait, wait—what? Coma?
I awoke from a week-long coma in an ambulance (not that I had any idea what ambulances were at that point), rumbling along to the 3rd hospital I’d stay at after getting a rash of TBIs (Traumatic Brain Injuries). I was hit by a drunk driver on October 4th 2014. He drove his Ford F150 into my left hip and sent me flying 40+ feet onto my forehead.
Let me tell you, recovering from TBIs feels like undergoing adolescence again. Actually, I could only describe what I personally felt upon waking as being “born again.” Pretty strange feeling. I’m just glad I didn’t have to go back to high school—but I did have to earn my driver’s license a second time. Naturally, the State revokes it if you contract a TBI.
The recovery process is like undergoing a second adolescence
The Feds don’t go easy on you either: did you know that over two-thirds1 of SSDI applicants are denied benefits? They must undergo lengthy appeals processes to prove they’re in need (the litigation often takes years). So, I’m grateful that I’ve been able to keep jobs after my severe TBI.2 And, I know it only helped to have Barbara Gordon as a fictional role model while I struggled to recover some semblance of my former life.
Following the injury,* my partner bought The New 52 Batgirl comics for me. As soon as I cared about reading again, after a few weeks, I absorbed Barbara Gordon’s story. I found in it a figure I could relate to from the confines of my netted bed. The story of a woman who struggles to regain her abilities after a devastating injury. And her ability to walk was stolen from her in an instant—boy, did I relate to that.
The New 52 Barbara Gordon is funny, smart and imperfect3, and I relate to her struggle to regain former balance despite severe trauma and disability. For Barbara Gordon, this involves maintaining a convoluted docket of work and superheroing—not to mention personal life management, which involves roommate conflicts, romantic relationships (with her own therapist even), family disagreements and so much more.
Barbara’s wit, strength and courage helped me find my footing under pressure
In my personal experience, Barbara Gordon is an apt and wonderful role model for Traumatic Brain Injury survivors. If you are helping anyone heal from trauma and acclimate to a new way of living, you can help them rebuild self-confidence by gifting them The New 52 Batgirl comics. The comics helped me see my potential and aid redevelopment of my moral compass throughout a lengthy recovery.* I believe they’ve helped others too.
*the distinction between the words “accident” and “injury” are important to know if you want to understand this TBI survivor’s perspective. The man behind the steering wheel of that Ford F150 accelerated into me. There was no evidence he tried to stop (no skid marks found onsite). He made a mistake. But the situation wasn’t unexpected given the circumstances. It wasn’t an accident.
*the term “recovery” is another one…the process is made one-dimensional by this term.
Thanks to my Dad, Ben Devarie, for the photos
Thanks to the many, many people who donated to my GoFundMe fundraiser and helped me in other forms during my time of need (we know who you are)
Thanks to all I might have forgotten
And thanks to you for reading this. This post is important to me.