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Courage to Say, “I Can!”

Intro by Skip Cohen

If you’ve ever met Suzette Allen, or at the very least know her reputation, then you know she walks the talk with everything she does. Last month was the 31st anniversary of a horrific accident which left her literally starting over – speaking, walking – you name it, a car accident with a bull moose in Alaska, and ten years of recovery.

We’ve spent a lot of time with Suzette and husband Jonny over the years, and I have to admit, the pandemic has left us so missing those visits together. Suzette is an inspiration, even if you don’t know her history.

In this post from her archives, she talks about a straightforward concept, having courage. And while she starts in the context of fighting her way back after her accident, it’s the way she lives her life every day I appreciate the most. It’s her courage to switch things up and try something different in the way she might capture an image or change it in post-production.

It’s an old accolade at this point, but she became the Queen of Hybrid because she was one of the early adopters of technology. From high school seniors to holiday cards, she wasn’t content with just a portrait but combined video, still images, and great music for incredible impact. She’s always raising the bar on her own standards of quality and creativity.

From her creativity to her spirituality, she’s inspired so many of us, and at a time in history where we all need courage, this post is perfect for sharing today!

By Suzette Allen

I woke up super early this morning thinking about the fact that I SHOULD have posted a Blog on Sunday morning… but I didn’t because I had a two-day wedding to shoot that was all video (a Love Story feature film!) and by the end of the day I was whooped!

But Sunday was my 31st Anniversary of my Head Injury Accident! Hard to imagine 31 years gone by… where does the time go? It seems impossible for me to be “this old”, but the thing is, I just count that 10 years of recovery as “lost time” because really-– I’m 10 years younger than my age–LOL! We justify it however we need to, right?

In my delirious waking moments, trying to talk myself into getting up at a ridiculous hour to blog (while inwardly whining and screaming “NOOOOOO!”), I had a momentary stroke of inspiration. (and fortunately, I DID type out a few keywords on my phone which I found later when I officially woke up!) But I have noticed a common thread amongst people who are survivors. People who have fought hard to recover from something, or to overcome a huge setback, or survived trauma of some kind. That beautiful gem, lodged in their hearts or on their sleeves, or in their eyes—is Courage.

Courage makes us stand up in the face of fear. Believe for the unreachable, attempt the impossible, and try, try again. Courage is a gem that is developed only through the fierce heat and pressures of life– the unspeakable wrongs, unbearable pain, ridiculous journeys, outrageous attacks, unsurmountable obstacles and senseless wastes of valuable resources like our time, our youth, our love, our hope, our lives.  We survive somehow, and we find ourselves on the other side–still standing, but stronger, now. Tougher, perhaps more patient, more determined, maybe a bit wary and sometimes jaded. We all deal with the pain and process of life differently. The goal is to come through it becoming better, not bitter.

If you are curious, I wrote a more detailed blog about my experience with a Bull Moose in Alaska that nearly took my life and left me brain damaged. From the wreckage of that mess, I stand today, with no impairments, stronger, more determined than ever and courageous enough for just about any challenge. It was a seriously rough road. Sigh…. I’m so thankful that miracles still happen. Of course, we want the instant ones, but I am still thankful for the miracle journey of more than a decade retraining my brain to overcome all my impairments. [I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength. Phil 4:13].

So, let’s celebrate the victories of life – not just the high points, but the tough points of overcoming hardship and trauma and the disappointments of life. We can do far more than we think we can, if we just try, believe we can, and never give up.

Tell yourself that you CAN. Realize you have within you, everything you need to survive.

Whatever it is before you, face it with courage. And even if you don’t feel like you have it in you, remind yourself: “I CAN, and I WILL!” (if I could do it with severe brain damage, you can certainly do it too!)