News  Serina Gordon: Embracing Creativity and Self-Acceptance After Brain Injury

Serina's recovery from a brain injury is a tale of resilience, self-discovery, and purpose. Confronting initial fears of inadequacy head-on, she embraced her transformed self with unwavering determination.
  • Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
a woman with brown hair sits in front of artwork she created
A photo of Serina Gordon smiling in front of her artwork.

Following a workplace accident that resulted in a brain injury, Serina found herself grappling with a newfound challenge: expressing herself. Despite this, she realized that while words may sometimes elude her, she could vividly envision imagery, which she skillfully translated into art. Turning her inner turmoil into tangible expressions of creativity, she discovered a powerful outlet for self-expression and healing.

"I was always afraid of not being good enough,” Serina shared. “After my brain injury, I thought, if I'm going to be a perfectionist, I'm going to be a perfectionist about making a mess and make a perfect mess. As messy as I can."

Seeking Support and Community 

Initially, Serina discovered MRC’s Statewide Head Injury Program (SHIP) online and applied for services. "I felt completely lost, and my life was utterly unmanageable," she reminisced. Despite initially forgetting about her application, SHIP reached out to her through mail and phone calls to provide support.

Notably, Robert Mendel, a Regional Program Coordinator with SHIP, became pivotal in her journey. “She was facing eviction from her apartment because she hadn’t followed through with the home inspection,” Robert said. "I met with her, and SHIP intervened with housing. We got things settled and from there we got her case management support.”

 "This is why advocacy is so important," Serina explains, "Rob single-handedly changed my whole life. If it weren't for the SHIP program, my life would not be looking like this right now." Robert recommended that she seek the assistance of a case manager, which would later transform her life. He explains, “She’s got a case manager that obviously listens to her. She feels heard, she feels supported, and she’s making great gains.”

“Everything changed when Catherine Gonzalez came into my life through Community Rehab Care,” Serina said. “She is just a breath of fresh air that helps me keep things in order so that when I think about any tasks that I have, I don’t go into an instant freak-out mode.” Since working with Catherine, Serina has embraced support and has been able to navigate the challenges of daily tasks and single parenthood with grace and resilience.

Healing Through Art

A photo of Serina Gordon signing her artwork.

Amidst the healing process, Serina found solace in art, realizing its power to heal and express. With the support of friends and a tenacious spirit, her passion for art flourished.

Witnessing the impact of Serina's art, Catherine proposed showcasing her work at a museum. Serina was beyond ecstatic about this opportunity she had never once thought was attainable.

“We went to the Fuller Craft Museum and the guy was magically there that day and they took 10 of my pieces to sell in the gift shop. It was a super cool feeling. That’s when I realized this is real and happening. I started to feel more that this is something that could be possible” Serina recalled.

Inspiring Others Through Her Adversity 

Serina continues to face struggles as she heals from her brain injury, however, she references the accident as a “hardware upgrade” that rewired her brain and has allowed her to accept self-love. As she continues to regain her voice, Serina discovered that the power of her story can inspire others.

“When I realized my story spoke to people and inspired them, I got over feeling self-conscious about my words. I’m going to stumble and ramble, but there is a message in there and it’s a message of love. I think it’s something desperately needed in the world today”.

“It started with Rob advocating for me and then Catherine in Community Rehab Care and here I am now. It’s just really kind of blown me away that there’s so many people that've been a part of this that has really uplifted my journey and I'm so grateful for that.”

Serina's journey, marked by perseverance and self-discovery, is a testament to the human spirit's resilience. Her story inspires hope and underscores the transformative power of determination and support. She stands as a beacon of strength, embodying the profound truth that, even in the face of adversity, there exists the potential for growth, self-love, and extraordinary transformation.

  • Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission 

    The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) provides services that break down barriers and empower people with disabilities to live life in their own terms. Our programs focus on training and employment, community living, and disability determination for federal benefit programs. We are change agents and community builders. And we put the people we serve at the heart of everything we do.
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