Wanting to be the exception to the rule. TBI Survivors Are: To Be Inspiration

Latest

A Day in the Life of a TBI Survivor

To look at me, I look like everyone else in the crowd. I am a person, just like everyone else. I have my good days, bad days, and I may seem all around normal to you. What you don’t know is that 4 months ago I was in a severe accident that changed my life forever. I suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), a basilar skull fracture. The kind that 99 percent of people who suffer it do not survive. I am one of the lucky few. I spent the night in ICU with my loving wife by my side. My family and friends hoping and praying. Their prayers worked. That day though changed my life forever. Something inside me broke that day. Broke in a way that makes me see the world through brand new eyes. Things that were once seemed so important to me are no longer. I live for the simple things. The smile of my wife. The laughter of friends. A gentle kiss. A stranger saying hello. These things are what seem to ground me and keep me feeling “normal”. You see my injuries left me with no smell, no taste, no hearing in my left ear and most of all lack of a short term memory. I can look at something and two seconds later forget what I looked at.

This is hard for me because I have always been one of those people with a photographic memory. I good look at something and just know it. Like a camera taking a snap shot..now it seems my camera is slightly broken. Every day I wake up, as soon as I open my eyes it is like a stake is being driven through my head. If you have ever had a migraine, take that pain and multiply by 20.. that is my head everyday. Now go out into the world and add, noise, chatter, cars driving, lights, sounds, blaring music and list could go on. TBI Brain InjuryThere are moments that I just want to argue with my wife for no reason, I just want to lash out at something and unfortunately for her, she is the one most next to me all the time. This was all new to us, this injury, this new me. It has helped us grow and I think become a stronger couple. We now know that when it seems like I want to pick an argument it is my brains way of saying, “STOP! Too much stimulation! I need a break. Please rest!”  and so I now do. Each day I am getting slowly better but more than that we are learning how to deal with this new version of me. You see TBI’s are the disability no one sees but yet there are many of us out there. It can lead to depression, and in my case there have been days where I feel like I am barely keeping my head above the water. The depression comes from feeling like no one really understands. People pass judgement and say, ” You look ok so you must be doing great.”

The thing is looks can be deceiving and what we want more than anything is for people to take us seriously when we say we are hurting or this is happening. So when you seem someone in line struggling to come up with the right amount of money, hav patience. When you seem someone squinting from the noise, or being lead into a store by the hands of their caregiver, have patience. When someone seems to be asking you a dumb question..please have patience and try to refrain from judgement. These people are trying to do the best they can with what they have and we as a society have learned to not have patience and just push people aside as stupid, losers, and pains in the asses. Please don’t pass judgment on me or anyone else…. because it is already a struggle for me to come to grips with this new version of me without the added criticism.

To be honest I am learning that I like the new me… I maybe a little battered and broken but my heart couldn’t be more full. I have come to find the real meaning of life through my injury and with the amazing help of my caregiver, my wife. This injury has taken its toll on everyone around me and I am grateful that I have a life filled with such amazing friends and family. I have watched my wife, lay next to me watching me, hoping and praying I don’t fall again or hurt myself in anyway that may take my life. She never left my side in the hospital and has helped me find news ways to “treat” my illness. We are not bigger medication people and we did tons of research on how to help my injuries the natural way, with food, yoga, meditation and now plexus. All of these things have been HUGE resources and are helping me each day with micro steps to get better. Plexus alone is helping me in ways I never knew were possible. We believe so much in it we are now distributors of it, which work two fold for us. I still cannot work but now I get to do something that not only helps me heal but helps others get healthy as well. (if you want more info on it you can check it out at http://www.conscioushealth.myplexusproducts.com it’s not just for TBI but for all kinds of illnesses as well as weight management) Gratitude. We had a donation of a hearing aid so now I can hear and my brain doesn’t struggle so much. My amazing friends and community threw a fundraiser that raised a good bit of money and helped me spread the info of TBI’s and each day I get closer to paying some bills and getting the treatment I need.  TBI is something that strikes someone in this country every 18 secs. I have 5 friends I know of that suffer from them and that is just my circle.

They say it will take me 6 months to a year to full recovery if at all. I don’t know if my smell and taste will return which stinks for someone who loves food! Lol  That being said when I open my eyes each and everyday I say thank you. Thank you God, universe for allowing me to breathe one more day. I don’t know why I was saved that day but I know that there is a reason and I ask everyday what is mine to do today?  I hope to be an inspiration for people, to help people to find a way to overcome their darkest moments, not being just being positive but by being real.

I am grateful for life. We are so beyond blessed with what we have.. in fact my wife and I are on a journey to simplify our life even more. We are looking even into building our own tiny house. We want a life that we want to live and have more time for our friends and family. We want to do what we were put here to do.. whatever that is. I know this injury is one of those life changing moments of impact and I plan on writing along my way to share with you what I find. May you find some bit of hope, or inspiration or may it spark a light in you to do something different, either way know we love you. And if you suffered a TBI or are suffering please know you are one hell of a strong person and the universe will carry you and your loved ones through it!! That is my prayer and wish for you. Love and light always to you all!! TBI

Moments of Impact

“You know, the smallest thing can change a life. In the blink of an eye, something happens by chance – and when you least expect it – since we’re on a course that you could have never planned, into a future you never imagined. Where will it take you? That’s the journey of our lives: our search for the light. But sometimes, finding the light means you must pass through the deepest darkness. At least, that’s how it was for me.” – The Lucky One

April 20, 2014 started out like any other day. My wife and I woke up in Gatlinburg,TN to the sounds of babbling creek and birds chirping. Life was good! We were on our final leg of our journey from Calgary, CA to Charlotte, NC. We were headed back to spend time with some of my friends, tie some things up.. I didn’t know that morning that this day would change the course of my life drastically.

As we arrived into Charlotte, we need to go to my storage unit to retrieve my bed to bring to my friend’s house we were staying at. My best friend was going to bring her truck to help us move it. I tell you all this from my wife’s perspective because as of today I have no memory of this. I will explain why in a few moments. Apparently we headed to the storage unit around 7pm. My best friend was already there waiting but was in the front of the building, the entrance we needed was in the back. I texted her to meet us around back. She did and apparently out of my excitement when I saw her, when she pulled through the gate I got all silly and jumped on the back of her pickup truck. Mind you this isn’t abnormal for us, we are two peas in a pod. We are true best friends, the kind that think alike, act alike and for the most part love being silly and goofy with each other. That being said, when I jumped on her truck, she hit her gas pedal, joking to think she was going to take off without me. Not realizing, I yelled “Dude, stop” and with that out of her side mirror I fell off the back of her truck, so hard that I hit my head on the pavement. My wife saw it all. Both said they could hear my head crack over the noise of her truck engine.

My wife ran over to me, and my best friend got out of her truck, by the time she reached me blood was coming out of my nose. Apparently I sat up, started thrown up, but wouldn’t speak. My other friend came out of the storage unit and rushed over to me. She also tried getting me to speak….nothing. My went to feel the back of my head and realized it had swelled out to the size of grapefruit, she looked at my friends and said call an ambulance. Later blood begin also coming out of my left ear. My poor wife cleaning up the blood as quick as it came. I was rushed immediately to the ER and put into ICU that night. I was put in a neck brace, give anti nausea meds, and morphine and my brain was monitored every 30 mins. My life was in Gods hands now. No one knew if I would make it or not. The doctors said it we just don’t know, her condition can turn on a dime.”  My injuries were severe. I had suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). I had a basilar skull fracture, temporal bone fracture, facial fracture, closed wound, swelling of my brain, frontal lobe all bruised. As my dear friends, my wife, my family all waited to the wee hours of the morning to see if I would even still be here, prayers were issued and asked from anyone and everyone that new me.

tjs brain

CT Scan taken on April 20 after accident.

This picture is one of MANY CT Scans done on me that night, the back lump in my head is the blood pooling up.

I spent 3 more days in the hospital. I didn’t recognize anyone at first. I didn’t know my name, or age or even what year it was or where I was. Slowly things came back but VERY SLOWLY. My aunt and uncle were there the entire time and my parents and sister flew down right away. My wife, my dear friends, my family and all their prayers, I believe are what saved me. Although I have no memory of the accident, and I barely remember the hospital outside of flashes in my head, I knew I was loved.

The hospital released me early we all believe, because I do not have healthcare coverage. I was still very disoriented and not clear of anything going on, yet they let me go. THANK GOD for the amazing, loving people I have in my life. They were able to help take care of me. Someone who was so very independent now dependent on everything and everyone. My wife, being the solid rock I could lean on every minute of the day.  I share all this with you because we all live with the idea that we have tomorrow… what ever it is we put off we have tomorrow but the truth is we don’t have tomorrow. At a split second, life can turn on a dime or worse yet be over.  I know this sounds cliché but this has finally sunk in for me through this injury.

Today I am still seeing doctors, my recovery, although it has been nothing short of miraculous and amazing is at least a 6 months to a year thing. I lost hearing in my left ear. I can no longer smell or taste anything. Well taste wise the only thing I seem to taste is Cherries! lol  I still have major headaches each day, and I get tired quickly. I never know when I wake up what kind of day it will be for me and my loved ones. I try to stay positive. My short-term memory is not good at all, and it takes me awhile now to think through the simplest tasks. I drop things all the time but the one thing I am grateful for is I AM HERE. I know there are a lot of people out there with TBI’s and honestly I knew nothing about it till this happened. It is the largest silent disability disease our nation faces. What we need more than anything from people is patience. There is NO fast recovery and there is no pushing the healing but we do heal. Little by little slowly. This injury has taught me to be less judgmental, more patient and if anything rely on my faith more than anything. I know I will overcome as much of this as I can and what I don’t I will learn to make the best of it.

IMG_1798

Hospital on April 21. Finally out of ICU.

My heart goes out to my friends and family each and every day that went through this with me, that saw me in the worst state of my life and did nothing but pray and love one me as much as they could. My wife never left my side, and took care of me more than any partner could. It brings tears to my eyes of happiness and gratitude when I think of these people I am so grateful to have in my life. So much love and I support from people I barely know to ones I have known all my life. It inspires me and encourages me each and every day!!  I am learning to live in the moment now more than ever and I am learning as I heal that really life is about the simple things and taking action now. Tell people you love them, do that thing you have always wanted to do, LIVE YOUR LIFE NOW!!! I promise you if you think there isn’t a way to get something done or be somewhere I promise you one will be made for you, just put the intention out there.
The universe is listening. And please if you can show patience to someone you see struggling to get money out of their wallet at the store, or the person walking slow, or driving slow because they could be struggling with a disability you just cannot see or know about it. Just know they are trying and doing they best that they can with what they have. Life IS BEAUTIFUL if we stop to choose to see the beauty that is right there in front of us. Concentrate on what you DO HAVE, not what you are lacking and God will provide more. I am living proof of that without a doubt!!!!

I do struggle each and every day, but I am learning to let me feel those emotions and move through them. I just won’t build a house on sad street!! lol  I plan on writing more about my recovery and where I am at and what I am going through in hopes of possibly inspiring other people in some way or form. I believe this is why we are all here to help each other out. Life is going to hand us moments of impact, things that will change out life no matter what, how we react to them really is what molds things into the life we experience. Love life, and let it love you back. Namaste sweet friends.

 

Inspiration Found…..

I have been a visionary artist now for about 2 years, well that is not true. I have always been artist, just a part of me was afraid to claim my gift. I have always wanted to inspire and help people, although like most I wasn’t sure what the best way was to go about that. I’m not sure I have figured it out yet but what I have learned is that there are small things everyday we can do for people. Things that sometimes take no money. You never know what small action you take could totally change a person’s day. I had one of these experiences just the other day.

As an artist, I truly believe all people should be able to buy and own art that they love. That is why I always work with people who want to buy a piece of my art. I have also decided that given this gift sometimes it is nice just to share it and maybe make someone’s day. So once in awhile I leave free art around the city and tweet about it. If you find it you can keep it but I digress. lol So the other day my wife and I were out at a coffee shop and I decided to leave one of my small pieces of art there. I usually put a small quote on them and my url to my FB art page, not to get more likes but in hopes that someone will post that the new piece of art has found a home. After leaving the piece and heading to the bookstore for a bit, I see a notification on my phone. It reads as follows: “Found…My son & I think it’s a sign of good luck, as my wife goes in for surgery tomorrow…Thank you!”

small art piece I left

small art piece I left

I would be lying if I didn’t say it brought tears to my eyes. Not for sadness but happiness that this little piece of art meant so much to this family! You see we really NEVER know what people are going through, or what our small action, kind word, or helping hand can really do for someone. My little piece of art was a sign for them that everything was going to be ok. No amount of price tag can be put on the feeling that gave me and how much he gave back to me. He will never know what he did for me as an artist, as a person, as a human being. Honestly, all we all really want is to be acknowledged. To know that we are loved, not alone and that this big bad world has not forgotten about us.

So no matter what your circumstances are, try to find something small to do for someone and if you feel so inclined leave a comment here and tell me about it! I love hearing stories, not to toot our own horns but to inspire others to do that same. I promise you, you will get far more in return than what you gave. So hold the door for someone, smile, buy someone a cup of coffee, acknowledge another human being, no matter how put together they may seem… you may just be the difference in their whole day that they needed!!! Namaste and love and light to you all!!!

The Reality of Love….

Image

If we are honest with ourselves we spend our days and nights looking for that one love… the one that ignites our soul, that makes us feel butterflies, and takes our breath away with the one look. The one with the slightest glimpse of that smile that starts to run across their face when they see you, can make our heart race faster. Yes by most accounts I am a hopeless romantic but honestly as I have I gotten older, I thought this idea of love was growing further and further from my reach. I was starting to think that maybe it really was just my imagination, coupled with the images of what the movies tell us love is supposed to be like. Like my previous post I was so shattered by love, endured so much heartbreak the year before that for the most part my heart literally felt like the last bits of it would disappear if I even attempted to fall in love with anyone. Instead I learned to love me, not in the  egotistical way but in the spiritual way. And why not? I always have heard if you don’t love yourself how can you really love another?

So for that year, I read, I learned and I did things I had never done. I did what fed my soul, sometimes that meant crying until I could no longer stand it, eyes hurting, collapsed on the floor, just a flood gate of hurt, pain and destruction, flowing, bleeding out of me, like a river of broken pieces of me, that the past year had consumed and spit out. Some pieces I recognized, others I was seeing for the first time it seemed. As the year went on, through listening to my heart, and literally shutting off my brain …I began to heal. I began to shift. I was starting to emerge out of the ashes someone new, whole and with a fresh new perspective on life. I was happy again, content and enjoying my life as it was.

I have never been someone who needed a relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy them but I do not NEED them.  After about a year and a half of literally NO Dating, not even flirting, my heart decided it was ready to love again. I was going to “date around” for the first time in my life. I had no desire to be in a full-blown relationship but hanging out with someone would be nice. Now if you if you know anything about lesbians, this is almost impossible BUT I was going to try. Hell I am not like most lesbians anyway. I don’t uhaul, I don’t do drama and I don’t say I love you on the first date.

That being said, I got out there and yes I met some great women, but no one that actually captured my attention. Call me picky but I had done a lot of work on myself and I was NOT SETTLING.  Then one day out of the blue, this girl left a comment on one of my pictures on Instagram. She had a confidence, the right amount of sarcasm and of just enough wit to capture my attention. Yeah ok and she was easy on the eyes.. lol.

What would come to ensue the next days following was something I had never experienced. First off, I should state she lived in Canada and I lived in North Carolina… yeah um can we be any further apart?! Yet our connection was one that you could not ignore. We talked for hours, everyday. Making each other laugh, and hearing her voice instantly brightened my day. We exchanged pictures and her smile instantly made me smile, without me even thinking about it. I found myself falling, and falling quick and hard. Was this what everyone was talking about when the said when you meet her you will just know? But how does that happen when we haven’t even laid eyes on each other?

I won’t say our “romance” was an easy one. There were obstacles that life threw at us, some out of our control some very much ones we created but for 7 months we were in each others lives on and off. There was a time we tried to go our separate ways, to forget that inner most connection and chalk it up to maybe it was all in our head thinking. Yet every time we found our back to each other. One of us inevitably contacting the other and each time I had the same reaction to her, except each time it got more and more intense. She became that girl that I had to meet, I had to know either way… was what we felt for each other real? I didn’t want to go through life wondering what if. Oddly enough I had made a promise to myself this new year that if something scared me to go straight for it and she scared the hell out of me.

Needless to say on Labor Day weekend I decided to pack up my car and drive to Canada, this trip wasn’t just for her, other opportunities had popped up for me, and honestly we weren’t even talking really when I decided to go but I knew she would have to be part of that trip. Needless to say when she heard I was coming we decided we had to see each and at least talk. I was going to follow my heart and whatever was meant to happen would. What I encountered next is not something I planned or even expected.

Seeing her for the first time every part of my being lit up. It was like I was blind and suddenly got my eye sight back. I had NEVER felt this way about anyone! Could this really be real?  Her smile, lights up the room and I find myself smiling at her. I felt like I had found my home. I could feel her presence always but having her this close, was almost too much for me to take in, yet all I wanted to do was inhale her. She could make me laugh in ways I never know of, and when her hand comes to my face right before she kisses me I feel myself lose my breath for just a moment. She completely disarms me and yet fills me with such love, I feel like I can take on the world.  What was happening to me? I don’t get like this, this is for the movie’s, this stuff doesn’t really happen. Yet I couldn’t deny it nor did I want to.

See what I have learned in this past year is the universe will bring you that which you are. I have no desire to be her world, just one of her favorite parts. I finally feel like I have someone who is rooting for me and yet has no interest to hold me down, or steal my light. When I catch her looking at me, I can see my soul in her eyes and I can see just how much she loves my very being. To say I adore her doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings for her. I adore every moment I get with her, not because I have to, or because it is what I am supposed to do but because being with her enhances my very soul. All I want to do is see her fly, to shine her own light because that in return makes me want to shine mine. I adore her for all of her faults, as well her loving and compassionate heart. I love her for exactly who she is and in return she loves me the same way. There are moments, where I have my arms wrapped around her and I honestly feel my whole body take a breath and relax into her knowing at that very moment, there is nothing but pure love between us, for exactly who we are.

She is the reality of love. It is not always rainbows and sunshine BUT I can promise you that it is real, that is genuine and that is possible but I do believe that had I NOT taken time to get to know me, to love me, I would have never attracted her. She is my soul mate without any doubt in my mind. She is the rock, that when things seem so uneasy her laughter has a way of making the sun shine again. She is that unconditional love and I am hers. You have to love the darkness in people as well as their light, because if you don’t then you are really missing out on what true love really is. It is not what the movies tell you.. it is loving someone for ALL of who they are.. and being able to remind them what a smart, beautiful, amazing human being they are when they have seem to have forgotten. She is that piece in my life that I now know I cannot live without, not because I couldn’t survive, because I could but because why would I want to live my life without her when I can it with her? She has helped put color and darkness into my world and I love her even more for doing that.

So next time you are looking for love, don’t. Look within. Do you love yourself? Are you the person you would like to date? If not then I would say you have some work to do… then watch how amazing the universe can be when you shift and see in what way love shows up in your life. I honestly could not have dreamed a more perfect person for me, and I don’t mean she is perfect she is perfectly flawed, but flawed in such a way that together our life creates this magnificent explosion of love that intoxicates my heart and makes my life just that more amazing knowing I will always have her by my side.  She is my heart, my soul, my light and I am forever grateful and blessed to be able to have the privilege to call her mine. I love you baby, forever and always.

DO the work…..

When people ask how did you change your life, how did you get where you are right now.. my answer is always the same: I did and am doing the work. Do the work doesn’t mean post a lot of positive quotes that sound good but behind close doors I am far from that. Do the work means sitting with yourself in silence and dumping out ALL that you are on the floor, so to speak and coming face to face with that. Doing the work means, on your darkest days, when you feel like your bleeding from the inside out, you don’t grab a bottle, or take a drug, you sit with the pain. You let it cut, ooze, bleed. You let the tears flow, you clench your chest, you cry your eyes out and pray to find the strength. You feel every minute, every ounce of that pain and you let it flow through you. Until finally your not bleeding out, now it’s just wound, one of many, that will heal just like the others. 

Doing the work means learning to be ok with being alone. It means being able to stay single when you are broken yourself because it would be unfair to expect someone else to fix you. It means not jumping from relationship to relationship because your too scared to be alone. It means realizing if you are doing this, that you’re too scared to be alone with you, to face you, to look in the god damn mirror and see you for what you are. It means not losing yourself in someone else to avoid the reality of the life you have created. Doing the work means that hiding in someone else is not only unfair but disrespectful. Playing with someone else’s heart when your’s is incomplete and broken is one of the most selfish acts one human can commit to a another. 

Doing the work means writing down your thoughts, it means sitting in silence and listening to what your gut, the universe is telling you. It means to discard anything that no longer serves you in a positive way. Friendships, lovers, jobs, partners, family members, addictions, faults anything that weighs you down and keeps you in that darkness. Doing the work means when you are on your knees, broken feeling like the darkness is all you can see around you, that you learn to ask for help, for that hand that will help you stand when you know you do not have the strength to do it yourself. Doing the work means that although with every fiber in your being, and every bone in your body, with every breath you just want to give up, that the pain has become so excruciating that you would rather succumb to it then fight it anymore, that in the midst of the storm you find that dim light that still shines within you. For a moment you catch a glimpse of it and among all this turmoil you remember who you are. Doing the work means reminding yourself in any way, shape, or form, of who you are. It is feeding that small spark that is like beacon in all the darkness and the pain that will lead you out of the darkness and back into the light. Doing the work is doing WHATEVER it takes to make that flame grow and with each passing day, the tears will lessen, the pain will start to subside and the darkness will start to turn to light. 

Doing the work is looking in the mirror and being completely honest with YOURSELF, no more lies, no more excuses, no more drama, no more holding yourself down. It is hard, and on days you forget why you are doing the work that is taking so much out of you but then you realize that as you do the work, your life begins to change. Amazing and beautiful things start to take over and the clouds start to dissipate. 

Doing the work is learning to really love you, to take care of you and to be good to you. Only then are you really good for anyone else. Until one day when you look in that mirror again the relfection this time is different. Yes there still may be tears but this time they are tears of joy. You have battle wounds, you have scars and you have overcome it all. You have grown and you can look at yourself and really say I love you. You realize just how strong, amazing, and able you are. You realize you will not ever let anyone love you or treat you any less than you love yourself. You will find that you will grow into the human being you are mean’t to be on this earth, for really isn’t that the whole point of being here? To grow, to change and to learn…. anyone can do this. We all have the same opportunity, but you have to be willing to do that work and know that it’s not going to be easy but dammit it will be so beyond worth it!!! I promise you if you do the work, you life will be beyond anything you could even have thought up yourself… so have faith and just do the work.

Don’t Be a “If only….”

I want to be in bed right now sleeping soundly but as I try to lay there and sleep this blog keeps running through my head, so I have decide the universe it telling me it needs to be written. There was a very unfortunate death this past week of someone, who I did not know personally but knew of. Sadly this person took their own life at the age of 36. I have noticed more and more of these posts seem to be popping up on Facebook. Not only are the teens falling victim but it seems more and more adults are as well. I was shocked and saddened to hear the news. Shocked because this person seem to have a know a lot of people, and seem to have many friends. Sadden because this world lost a human life that can never be replaced, and to those who loved her, an ache that will never really go away. 

It has made me stop and think, what is going on? I was chatting with another friend over the incident and we both seem to ask the same question, ultimately ending with the same answer. How can someone who seem to be doing so well, with so many friends, take their life and NO ONE know it was that bad?  

Although I do not know the particulars in this case, and don’t claim to even begin to explain it, it made my friend and I both come to a realization. We are a society that cares more about how many friends we have on our Facebook friends list, then how many will actually show up at your door when we are on the floor in tears, wondering if and how we will ever find the strength to rise again. We are a society that would rather put our heads down and walk into our house, pretending we don’t see our neighbor, rather than wave and take two minutes to say hi, and how are you. We are a society that will watch a poor helpless animal, hurt, injured remained tied to a pole in the blazing sun without food or water, instead of going over there and rescuing it. We are a society that has become slaves to social media, texting and twitter. It is much easier to have a fight over text, where you can ignore, block, delete rather then sit in front of the person and actually DEAL with the conversation and the issues. We are a society that allows our children to be parented by our phones, the TV, a computer, video games, rather than us actually have to get off our asses and get involved in their lives. WE in essence have become, selfish, self-serving, impatient, and overwhelmed. We end up being the people who say if only I had called more, if only I had stopped by to see them, if only I had known, if only I had watched her more closely, if only I had room in my house to take that dog in, if only, if only, if only…. and yet the next day comes and we keep doing exactly what were before. 

I took my step-daughter to the park the other day, ( she is my “daughter” so to speak from a previous relationship) and as I watched her play in the sand building a volcano I noticed just how content and happy she was at that very moment. When she told me she needed a stick to create the hole, I jumped up found her one, and helped her create that every exploding hole that would make her sand volcano complete. As we laughed and I looked up, I glanced around the entire park, which was extrememly busy due to the weather being so nice, and I noticed that almost every mother was on her cell phone. It was then that it just hit me. A park full of children and their parents and most of the parents where on their cell phones?! At the end of that thought a mother came running up behind me over to her friends carrying her son, saying “I found him, thank god.” Her friend replied, “Thank god I was just about to call 911. See I told you you shouldn’t be texting so much.”  They somewhat laughed as she hugged her son tightly. Really?!!! You almost LOST your child because you were too busy on your phone. I am not saying I have not been victim to this myself, being consumed by the social media bug, it is in fact almost our way of life. What I do know is that I am trying to better about it. Although it has it’s benefits, it is also tearing us apart. 

Kids get no breaks from bullying like they did in my day. Now it can happen in school, over text, on facebook, over twitter. It can go on all day and all night and if parents are not paying attention they don’t even know their child is struggling. How do we teach our kids, it gets better, and you can overcome this, when they look to us and what they see are adults, using drugs, drinking until they pass out, or worst yet deciding to end their life because it all was just to much. What is that showing or telling them if WE cannot handle it?

We need to stop preaching haters gonna hate, and yolo, and that if you wear your pants dragging, and live off the system, and have a few tats that your badass and you are cool. No one has haters, no one wants to be you, most “haters”, are dealing with insecurity issues themselves, or they are calling you out on your own wrong doings, that you yourself do not want to face. Yolo means to seize moments, to grow, to learn from your mistakes to be a better person than you were yesterday. We need to represent this and stop letting the media make yolo out to be a rappers delight. We need to start actually getting to know each other, TALK to each other, work out our differences in person or on the phone. We need to put down the computers, the iphones, ipads, and actually spend real time with one another. We need to take a sunny after noon and build a volcano with a 5 year old and realize in that moment, there is such a peace and love and happiness, that we can learn and take from. 

I know we ALL have demons from our childhood we are all trying to overcome. We all want to be loved for exactly who we are and we all want to feel needed and accepted. Being gay, I have dealt with all of these things at some point and know them well and what it has taught me is that we need to be leading by example and we need to be teaching our children how to really love themselves first. How we do that is by showing them that we really love OURSELVES first. They imitate what they see their parents doing, they soak us in like a sponge, and they understand a lot more than we think they do. Then maybe as they grow into adults they won’t ever feel so desperate that they need to take their life to stop feeling the emptiness and pain. We are all worthy of love and acceptance and we all deserve it. Beauty should be defined by what we want it to be not what society puts in a magazine. We have the power to do better, we have the power to help each other and really change the way we are as human beings. 

So as I end my Jerry Maguire tirade for the night, I am going to pose a question to you that was posed to me by my spiritual mama as she likes to call herself. I adore her and she is helping me in ways she doesn’t even realize and I am forever grateful. Ask yourself this: If you had all the money in the world, and if you knew that everyone would love and accept you for exactly who you are without question, what type of person would you be? How would you look? How would you dress? How would you carry yourself? How would you show up in this world? Sit with that and when you figure that out, be that person in this world. When you do that, you draw to you the love you think you deserve in amazing ways. We all need you, more than you may ever realize, because there is only one you, and you are amazing. You are loved and you are worthy. 

That question has changed my life and I hope in some small way it changes yours. Don’t walk around anymore being a “If only” person… walk around and be you, be present and I promise you together we can change the world. 

From the Depths Within

One of the questions I get asked the most is what inspired this painting? At times I find I am hesitant to answer that question because for me it is not what inspired me to paint it but rather what it inspires in you, who is viewing it. 

Everyone that knows me knows this past year has been one of the most, if not that hardest year I have gone through. I lost a lot this past year more than I could ever imagine or I ever saw coming. To give a brief history my girlfriend and I broke up, which yes I know happens everyday but for me I thought she was different. The other hard part is she has a little one, so not only did I lose her I lost the child or so I thought. I lost my family, something I hold very near and dear to my heart. Shortly after that my job changed, the woman who was like a second mom to me passed away and a week after that my beloved dog, who was my baby, I had to put down. By the middle of July last year I had lost everything that was “my life”. I never thought this is what my life would look like now at this age. Last year brought me to my knees, and although we all like the believe we are that super human that will just rise again, there were times I was not so sure. I didn’t think a human heart could feel so broken, so in shambles, so scattered. Painting oddly enough was the furtherest thing from my mind. I could barely get out of bed some days, others breathing seemed to just be a chore. Yet the universe found ways to speak to me, that I could never imagine. People who I would have never thought, showed up in my life, to guide, to hold me, to listen, to make me laugh, to give advice. Many of them who are artist’s looked at me and said, “I know you feel you cannot paint but just put the paintbrush in your hand and just start. Paint for you, not for anyone to see it, but just for you.” So finally one night, alone, tears streaming down my face, I did just that. Of course the first color that I grabbed was black. As soon as that paint hit the canvas, something in me just ripped open and poured out. Every emotion that there are no words for came to the surface. You know those emotions. The are in every extreme of our existence. To love someone so much, to say “I love you” doesn’t seem enough or to feel pain so deeply that the tears pouring from your eyes do not even come close to capturing how you feel in your soul. 

That is what painting is for me. It is the deepest part of me that human words cannot find expression for. It is those pieces of me that are so rare, so vulnerable, so tucked away that maybe my loved ones get to see them or may even get a glimpse. They are pieces, that until this past year, I didn’t even know were there. They sometimes rise to the surface like a cool breeze, ready to flow onto the canvas. Other times they are bubbling, until something inside is cut, or ripped and they flood out like a fresh wound, uncontrolled but unable to be stopped. My paintings are my soul’s exposure in it’s rarest form. If you look there are bits and pieces of me that you never knew, others will smack you in the face they are so obvious. My artwork is my love, my pain, my tears, my happiness, my joy, my comfort, my sorrow, my very breath of who I am as a human being. To know my art is to know me, if you really look and see the painting, if you feel it’s breath, if you hear it’s whisper, you will have heard me speak to you from the canvas. 

Image

“Insecurity” Done with acrylics, inks, spray paint
http://www.facebook.com/brokenpaintbrush

My paintings come to me, as weird as this sounds. I see them in my head before I paint them and oddly enough if I don’t paint what I see, it usually doesn’t work out. Sometimes, I am not even sure how I will paint what I see in my head. I literally pick up the brush and hope that some higher power will guide my hand to do what it needs to do. Painting now for me is like breathing. I cannot imagine not doing it and I could not have imagined that anyone would want to buy ANY of my pieces. The amount of gratitude, and love, and feeling of being blessed that comes with that I cannot describe, all it does is bring tears to my eyes. It is not something I take lightly or for granted. To think that a piece of artwork that I created has touched someone so much that they want to spend their hard earned money on it, to me is a powerful statement. It is inspires me more, and reassures me that no matter what doubts may pop into my head, I need to just keep picking up that paintbrush and paint. Painting is my  greatest language. 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,430 other followers