Inside the bells are ringing, singing truth, indecipherable by most. The few, the bright lights with the creative insight, wallow in languid ups and downs, a cyclical chaos to the nth degree.
Life, it happens in the weirdest ways. I don’t play games, I could but I refuse and have no want or need for it. I guess you might credit that for my sordid love life, it is what it is. I have friends in the pick up artist (PUA) community and sure, I gave it a legitimate try and it worked beautifully, I just found the experience less than fulfilling. Sex is great and all but I need a deeper human connection.
Sex has never really been a big part of my life, especially during the late teens/early twenties… it just never happened, I was purely focused on school, sports and music during my teen years. My adolescence, the years typically spent exploring one’s sexuality, was spent relearning, via “crash course”, everything I had learned the seventeen years prior. I was focused, sure i noticed girls; noticed as they overlooked the guy in a wheelchair/with a walker or they looked on me with pity, thinking I needed their social graces. Admittedly, I was kind of pissed and I would either make them feel like an idiot, placate them or just stare off absentmindedly.
I was lacking in confidence around this time too, whereas pre-accident I was a star athlete, an amazing musician and a stellar scholar, but post accident I only saw myself through other people’s eyes. My brain, with my TBI, was that of a young teenager, so I had to regrow myself mentally and physically. Quite the daunting task when everyone expects you to act like any normal 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 year old. I was stuck.
As far as women, they saw me as immature and kind of clingy. Which is understandable given my head injury and me wanting to keep hold of things I cared for. I was still traumatized after losing so much in my car wreck. But life goes on, I rationalized all of the women who were mean to me by deprecating myself. I know, brilliant, but that is where I was.
I could not see why anybody would want to really get to know me so I assumed, rather accurately, that people were just lazy and didn’t want to put the effort into getting to know someone fairly different from the norm. This happens, still, today, it doesn’t even phase me, as it used to make me so angry. I finally figured out that my situation was the perfect bullshit and fake people filter, that and I developed an amazing sense of self confidence. This let me know that anyone who actually took the time to get to know me would be someone worth my time.
As said above, I don’t play games, if i like you, I will tell you. If that scares you off, you aren’t worth my time to begin with. i am a strong person and have been described as wise. i just see life for what it is and what it’s worth. My pre-frontal cortex is going haywire most times these days, plagued with sexual repression… I have come to accept that as par for the course, being “differently-abled” and all, but it sucks. Most women are too worried about what others will think if they are seen with me. Sure, they’ll be my friend… but the buck stops there.
You would be surprised how many people are scared to death of this politically correct society. Afraid of offending someone who is a bit different, so they treat them all like they are severely, mentally handicapped. I know it is just ignorance, it no longer bothers me. I think that has something to do with the faith I have that people will be as accepting as I am… you know the golden rule “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and the platinum rule “do unto others as they would do unto themselves” I try to live by those simple rules.
Arriving at Miami Universiy Middletown (MUM) at 2:20, I park and walk into the side entrnce of Johnston Hall. While humming Dave Matthews’ Ants Marching, my head begins to swell as I pass by a couple of cute college girls walking by, how could they know I was only seventeen and a Junior in high school. Squaring my shoulders and walking a little taller, I watch their eyes as they pass, wishing/hoping that they would look my way. I pause as they pass, taking time to savor the expensive perfume that is wafting in their wake. Regaining my composure, I head towards the Records and Registration desk. “Hello, I’m a Post-Secondary student, here to sign up for second semester,” I say with an air of confidence, nodding to a couple of jocks as they pass by.
”Do you have the PSEOP voucher?” she asks dully, as if she had got there far too early and been there far too long.
Kicking myself, “I forgot it at home.”
“Well, we’re gonna need that to finish the registration process,” she replies, not too snidely.
“Okay then,” I start slightly miffed, “I guess I will go call my mom to see if someone could bring it to me. I mean it would be a bit of a hassle if I had to run home and get it myself.” I walk dejectedly to the pay phones, place my quarter in the slot, and dial home. The monotone ring of the phone plays in my ear four times. After the fourth ring it sounds like the phone is picked up. My heart jumps at my good fortune.
“Hello, you have reached 988-6,” I sigh as I listen to the greeting my Mom had left on the answering machine, “570. We’re not able to come to the phone right now, but if you would please leave a message, after the beep, we’ll be sure to get back to you.” Beep…
“Hey mom, It’s Kyle. I guess you’re not at home right now…” I start, hoping she is screening phone calls, but forgetting that she went shopping with my older brother and his girlfriend, “I was just wondering if maybe one of you could run my PSEOP voucher to me. I forgot it on my dresser this morning.” Pause… “Well, I guess I’ll try you on your cell. Love ya, bye.” I hang up and dig another quarter out of my pocket. Someone picks up on the second ring.
“Hello,” It is my brothers girlfriend Katie.
“Hi Katie, is my Mom there?” I ask kind of shortly.
“Yes, but she’s busy at the moment. What do you want?” she asks, trying to sound helpful.
“I was wondering if someone could bring me a paper I forgot on my dresser. I need it to register for classes at MUM.” I inquire, hopefully.
“Well, we’re at Lazarus in Dayton Mall, Christmas shopping, we can’t do much here. Sorry.” she answers.
My heart falling a smidge, I say, “That’s okay I can just run home and grab it real quick. You guys have fun and be safe.”
* * *
A dreamless oblivion…
A flutter of thought, a twitch of the leg, and eyes slowly opening. It is dark. Where am I? What’s going on? Feels like I’m in a body cast; I just can’t move. It must be a dream… but I don’t remember falling asleep. In fact, I don’t remember much at all, but I have a faint recalling of my dog Chase. I try to move my head to look around but find the attempt to be futile. I must be dreaming. I conclude and close my eyes, wanting to be lost in the dreamless oblivion again.
* * *
“Kyle, Kyle are you in there?” says an odd but all too familiar voice, as if I know it but haven’t heard it in a long time.
My eyes open and look toward the voice. My memory is kind of fuzzy, but I think it is my mom. “Hi Peepers,” she says, in a soothing whisper, using my childhood nickname, “I love you.” I take my eyes off her to glance around the room. With the limited mobility of my neck my eyes encompass a small portion of a hospital room. Only then do I notice the sound of the machines: whirring, buzzing, beeping in their attempts to keep me physically stable; and the smell. The smell of alcohol and adhesive plays with my senses. An odd aroma that I was somehow used to.
“Kyle,” Mom says getting my attention, “you were in a very serious accident…” I stare blankly at her; this news not fully registering. “…you suffered some very serious injuries,” she continues not fully aware that I can comprehend every word she is saying. I am just realizing that my arms are bent double at the elbow; I can‘t move them, partly because of the bandages, partly because they just will not move. My left leg is drawn up almost knee to chest, but my right leg is still quite operational. My neck, on the other hand is incredibly stiff, I can hardly move it at all.
I look toward the door, as much as I can with, my neck not being very cooperative, as more people walk in. I don’t quite know them, yet they are still so familiar. For some reason they are all acting surprised toward me, as if I were a new born baby or some other magnificent creation.
“Kyle look at me,” Mom says regaining my attention, “you are at Drake Rehabilitation Center in Cincinnati Ohio. You were in a very serious car accident…”
“What!!” I try to mouth, finding out that I could not fully open my mouth, no matter how hard I tried. What’s wrong with my voice? I think to myself remembering how I used to sing.
“It’s a little past Valentine’s day,” Mom says, “your car accident happened on December 15, 2000.” Its then that I notice the decorations, cut outs of hearts, cards of all kinds and sizes, and flowers… boy, there are tons of flowers. All types of flowers, which I recognize but do not recall the names of. “
* * *
The bus rounded the corner. The smell of school and all that that entails, new notebooks, pencil shavings, and the remnant of a not too healthy lunch, permeated the air. It was a bittersweet memory as I saw my new home come into view.
It was late November 1996 and we had just moved in less than a week ago. The memory of my grandmother, who died a day after we moved in, still lingered in memory. Man, I miss her. My day is brightened as I see Chase. A German-Shepard/Chow mix, he is the most gorgeous dog I have ever seen, let alone own. Laying on top of his dog house, and wagging his tail in anticipation of the bus disgorging his owners, he brings a fond memory of the Peanuts character Snoopy to mind.
Climbing off the bus my brother, who is two years older, and I race toward our dog. Dustin wins by a head, but that does nothing to affect my jovial mood. Chase hops off the dog house and bounds toward us, as much as his chain will let him. “What a crime it is, that we have to keep him chained up,” I tell Dustin.
“I know. I wish we could let him run around the yard, like we did at the old house,” he replied, ”I feel sorry for him.” Chase hops up to me, putting his front paws on my arms, I give him a big hug.
“I love you, buddy,” I say scratching his head generously, while Dustin fills his water bowl.
* * *
I am restless. I can hardly move, I can’t get up and go play soccer, I can’t talk, I can’t play the guitar, and I can barely communicate. I do that only by a system of eye blinks my Mom and I worked out. Once for yes, twice for no, and four times as a reply to my Mom’s “I love you”. I am beyond bored, along with being restless. Communicating with yes or no questions, is tedious.
“Do you have to go to the bathroom?” my Mom asked, in an annoying sing-song voice. Two blinks. “Are you hungry?” Two blinks I replied, in a more agitated state. ”Would you like a drink of water?” One blink.
* * *
I walk out of my high school, toward my car. I am filled with an air of confidence as I move on to more mature surroundings. It is a crisp, clear December afternoon with the smell of winter in the air, fresh snow from the night before covered the landscape. I wasn’t that worried, for the roads had been cleared fairly well, and I had already traveled on them that morning. I chuckle as it is 1:55 and I have gotten out of school a little early.
I am feeling good to be out of the drama of high school for the weekend and heading back to MUM. Today is Friday December 15, and is the day for PSEOP students to sign up for classes for the second semester at MUM.
* * *
It is now late march. Spring is in the air, I can feel it, as well as smell it. Its making me all the more depressed. How I wish I could just to get up, shake it off, and go play soccer with my buddies. But no, I’m stuck in a hospital bed with nothing to do besides entertain myself with my right foot. I remember Chase again, and how it was such a crime to keep him locked up at our new house.
“Kyle,” my Dad says, while I am looking away from him, “say Mom.” I roll over toward my Dad, and attempt to say Mom. Expecting the same routine I had performed for days on end, in which I would roll over, mouth the words, and no sound would come out.
“Mom,” came the audible reply, clear as a bell.
“Julie, Julie, he said it!” my Dad shouts excitedly.
“What!” she cries running from the hospital room bathroom. She comes from behind the curtain that surrounds the hospital bed, jubilant. “Say it again, honey.” “Mom,” I say matter-of-factly with a big smile on my face, as if I could do it all along. “Can you say Dad?” she asks overtly excited and a bit winded, anticipation apparent on her face.
“Daa… Daaa… Daaad,” I struggle with the hard consonants.
“Good job, honey,” my Mom says, a smile spreading across my Dad’s face. My Mom hurries out of the room, excited to show the medical professionals, who said I was going to be a vegetable. She comes back in with a male nurse.
“Hi Dale,” I say, causing shock to spread across his face. What the nurses had mistaken for immaturity as a side effect of brain injury was me actually pulling their nametags closer to me with the toes of my right foot, in order to read the names of my caretakers…
I was born in West Berlin, Germany on November 3, 1983.. My biological father was in the air force and stationed their when my mom gave birth. My mom and biological father split in 1984 and my mom, at 20, was left in Germany, with myself and my older brother in tow. Upon moving back to the states, my mother met my dad and thus a family was born. We lived in a duplex until I was about three and we moved to our first home. My younger brother and sister were born in 1987 and 1989, respectively. All in all, I had am amazing home life growing up.
I recollect my first two memories, revolving around the same time. I am standing outside a duplex on Harkey, the two neighbors, an older couple, are there. Next, we turn the corner in my dad’s new ’85 steel blue Cutlass supreme. 1704 Taylor comes into view, a cool black and white house on the top of a hill.
School was very interesting from the start, I excelled from the start, picking up language and music concepts very well. I stuck out rather oddly from the very start, was very quick to catch on to things. One example of this is in Kindergarten, when we were being told the story of Santa Claus, I raised my hand and told the class that Santa Claus wasn’t real. I was sat out in the hallway for the rest of the day. I was amazingly quick at anything I attempted, I played the choir bells and sang and danced in second grade, I read JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit in third grade and the complete Lord of the Rings trilogy in third grade. Just to offer a glimpse into my grasp of language. In the fourth grade, I had been so far ahead of public school’s English curriculum in third grade, I was sent away every Monday for a Gifted and Talented Enrichment program (GATE). There I studied advanced writing and reading, the french language and other varied language arts subjects. I continued in Gate until the fifth or sixth grade at which point I was bored with elementary school. I just passed through the remainder of elementary school, hoping for something better to come.
One of the foreshadowing events in my life was me entering the Oratorical contest in third grade. There I was, a ten year old white kid in an inner-city school, performing Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Needless to say, I didn’t win or place, but it set a precedent for my life, though I didn’t know it, yet. In fourth grade, along with being sent away every Monday, I was in Ms. Eichler’s class. This was supposedly where all the smart kids hung out and were groomed. I ended up being the one to volunteer/chosen to enter the Oratorical contest that year and I blew it out of the water. I performed some gaudy poem about mittens, props included and so on. I won with a standing ovation. didn’t enter in the fifth grade but in the sixth grade I wrote my own poem and created my own actions to go with it. This creation was a variation of Melville’s Moby Dick entitled “The Big Black Whale With The Big Black Tale”. I ended up placing behind the winner, a black guy who offered his rendition of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream”. I found it quite ironic.
At the start of middle school, my family moved from Middletown Ohio to Trenton Ohio. This was a bit of a culture shock to me. I went from the inner city Middletown school, where one in five kids was white, to a predominantly white/rural school. The first day of seventh grade I remember standing n the hall thinking “Where the fuck are the black people!” It was sickening to my advanced, though still developing, mind the sense of entitlement and racism.
The quality of habit
Every habit begins with a choice. The first time one experience something, a chemical reaction occurs in the brain. Depending on how this chemical reaction occurs will determine what section of the brain is stimulated, by said chemical. The level of attraction to this brain chemical reaction is what detemines whether repeat action is carried out.
Here, in 2023 on the verge of a fifth dimensional birth, I find myself in a creator role. Being well in touch with my creative side, since childhood, makes this a helluva ton of fun. Dreams, are vivid, lucid and so flipping real. Here I am, a TBI survivor, thinking I’m witnessing the deterioration of my mind, when in reality, I am watching it work from a spectators position. Outside of time. It is wild!