Life doesn't often offer us the opportunity to have 100% closure on the curve balls it throws out. People exit our lives without parting words. Mother Nature has one sided conversations with us. Tragedies typically unfold so quickly that we never have the chance to fully digest what has happened because we go into autopilot to cope and survive.
2012 was a year of healing and a lot of waiting for me. I don't know how long I thought it would take to recover from being struck by a car but ultimately I will never be the same person I was before August 30th, 2011. The accident did potentially permanent things to my body but my emotional tectonic plates have also shifted in all sorts of strange directions. I take in life and feel it differently. I am more fragile in some ways yet stronger in others. My understanding of what is important is clearer than ever and my relationship with myself not to mention those around me has new meaning and potency.
I wasn't able to discuss a great deal of my 2012 openly because I had a lawsuit pending as a result of my accident. After a year and half of living my life under a microscope as various insurance companies and their lawyers surveyed me and my healing process, the case finally came to close this December. You don't understand what hell is until you feel truly destroyed as a human being physically and mentally and then on top of that, you have a group of strangers judging every inch of that healing process including the person you were leading up an accident you were a victim of. The whole process was invasive, stressful, and made healing / moving on all the harder. The good news is that it is finally all over and unlike most terrible things that have happened to me, the legal aspect at least had a very clear ending.
I wrote about the worst aspect of my accident nearly a year ago but because of my legal issues, opted not to write more until now. The unfortunate reality is that my minor brain injury is still ongoing. All of the issues I mentioned back in February still exist. I am fortunate that I am able to work and hold down a full time job but there are still moments where my mind fails me. I have to keep very detailed notes relating to how I perform all the important tasks I do daily. I basically have life cheat sheets and while my memory and my cognitive powers seems to improve a little more every month. There are still glitches. I am easily mentally overwhelmed and in turn I had to make some major life changes this year. I had to decide what my body and mind could actually handle verse all of the things I wanted do.
It is because of my brain injury that I stopped doing my radio show Cause & Effect. What was once a pleasurable learning exercise became torturous. I could no longer remember all the things I wanted to do in order to go on air and offer what I felt was a proper show. My brain practically tried to shut itself down under the stress of being on air which as you can imagine is a worse case scenario for a music DJ. My issues with sensitivity to certain sounds and frequencies (also concussion related) just added to my woes. My solve was to retire and I am utterly thankful to the volunteers at WRIR who continue to keep the show alive for me.
I also don't DJ out in bars as often now. It has been heartbreaking because I still collect records. I still have music I want to share, but it is much harder for me physically carry all the gear / records. I don't have the stamina to stay out late no less be in an environment with a booming sound system or a noisy crowded room. Loud events or things that will potentially have strobe lights or flashing light shows are things I have to be extra careful about and try to avoid if possible. I don't leave the house without ear plugs and I also now have gun range ear protectors that I am going to try out as an ear plug alternative. That being said, if you see me at a show with giant headphones on, don't laugh, okay? I really need to protect myself and I would rather look stupid than not go out at all.
My band Positive No finally played our first show this December too. I am grateful that my fellow band members have been patient with me. While we didn't play out for several reasons right away, a key element has been the molasses speed my memory works at to do things like remember lyrics. I needed to practice the songs so many times that they become muscle memory. It takes me FOREVER to remember a song by heart now and while I could use a lyric sheet when we play live, I feel like it is distracting as an artist to work off of a piece of paper. I would rather be in the moment that wrapped up with reading. I was fearful that I couldn't be in a band again but thanks to great ear plugs and band members with a lot of patience, we have managed to start playing out and finally share our hard work with others. This is just one more thing I am incredibly thankful for this year. My return to making music in a band has brought me utter joy. Our next show is January 21st and then we will probably take a few months off while our bass player welcomes a new addition to his family.
I have a lot to be grateful for this year. I am still here. I have a tremendous life partner and together we purchased our first home plus play in a band together. I found full time work in a field relating to music after 3 years of instability. I still run my small record label Little Black Cloud Records and there is already a tremendous line up of releases in 2013. I have learned that I am not defined by the events that have taken place in my life or the activities I participate in but rather how I handle those things as a human being and the community I surround myself with. We are not alone. Our lives are connected to everyone else's and by acting with love, respect, and equality for all we not only become better people ourselves but enable those around us to be empowered too. That is the real stuff health and happiness is based upon.
It is important for me to stress that I am not looking for pity. Life is hard for all people. My story is not all that unusual and I want to share my experiences because I want anyone who is struggling in life to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. There will always be a new day. Hardship and pain can feel like a never ending endurance test but it will eventually pass. You can't expect tidy closure on everything so ultimately peace of mind can only come from one place and it is within. If only I was wise enough to figure that out a whole lot sooner. The good news is I understand that now and that is the best closure of all.
Happy New Year.