Now that I’m no longer kidding myself with optimism, I’ve started to tear my life apart, analyzing where I am now and where I want to take myself. I’m certain that you’ve gathered how I was lying to myself, lying to myself about how I was glad I crashed my car, throwing my life off completely. I’m still holding onto a shard of the unmatched confidence when I tell you, especially where I am now, I hated where I was, and I’m thinking that I drove so fast and so liquored because I wanted (?) something to throw my life off balance. Getting back, I do like, no, no, love, love how I now see the world, but I’m banged up, and bad. I only hope that’s going to reach a favorable equilibrium, taking me to a successful and enjoyable “place,” where I’ll spend my days, once my condition becomes regular (it’s still bizarre to me) and I’m fully recovered.
I now, and only now, feel confident that where I’m going will be success.
I’m reborn, like this is a second chance, you know, like born again with how the people are able to speak of themselves from a different point-of-view. They’re able to judge the people they used to be, and in my case, an unmotivated slacker, but laziness and not having accomplished enough is all that I don’t like about the man I used to be. Please don’t think that I’m praising Allah, running away to Israel, and condemning myself for not having given enough to charity, please, I ain’t that guy. It’s like how I came home from Fairlawn for a day, saw how I’d been doing nothing, and thought, “This is all I was?”
I was in the hospital, but I also had a retreat, a retreat from most essential parts of a twenty-two year old’s life. I did a lot of, gay sounding, reflection and listening to the inner me. I was on a vacation from, basically, reality, and it spelled out all of what I wanted to return to. It also showed me how useless a lot of what I concerned myself with is, and will always be. Being that I bumped my head, and what seemed like a dream, it was a vacation from my own life. I remember when I was in the ICU, wearing a diaper, I would feign jerking off when a nurse wiped my ass. That’s a vacation from reality, and it showed me exactly what I wanted to get back to, plus what I should want in years to come. Call me basic, but I’m not going to drool over the finest surround sound receiver when I already have something that plays loud music. Call me basic, but I won’t get caught up in the details that simply don’t matter.
Looking back into my life, something like this needed to happen because I only envision the lethargy and drinking and aimlessness ending in heartbreak. Yes, something like this, something kicking my ass, was essential to give me this drive. I’ve told you how I’m not that regretful of my car crash, and I’m not because of a realization that I couldn’t have continued down that road much further. I sport a FAIR SHARE of brain damage, okay, but this path is going to serve me well with any endeavor. Still, I’m not sure how the memory will hold up in college classes, but my newfound desire of success and the willingness to push myself, those are there. If my productivity is any indication of my collegiate effort, I shouldn’t have much trouble. Easy for me to say now, but God forbid, I might not be able to hack it.
Where did my life go wrong? Good question and I believe the answer lies at Northeastern University. I became uptight in the city, nervously uptight, anxiety uptight, and I was soon squirming – get me outta here! – I came home, sleeping late, lazing, and unsure of where I’d take myself in years to come. Not to mention, not to mention, I gave my parents hell. I’m sorry. I was a timid, depressed, unmotivated wreck. You could say that I took the easy way out from NEU, but I can’t feel that.
I was a failure. I WAS a failure. I’m comfortable saying that because I don’t feel any of the same blah desire, that habit of nothing. I don’t feel good about acknowledging my former weak points, but I assure you, anything about me that needed work, well, it’s received the much-needed treatment. So much improvement that I don’t know how I was ever so weak. If you collect that as me being a different person, sure, go ahead, and it’s got me wondering.
Just as easily as you can say that November 2nd is the point where I’m, uh, nothing from here on out, I assert that, instead, this is the point where my life embarks the right track. It’s not that I was doing a lot of bad things, just a few, but I know exactly what I want out of life, and that uncertainty was my problem. I can spell out what I’m looking for TO THE T, and it’s exactly what I’ve been in need of. I was the type to play it by ear, relaxing while a lot passed by, but that’s done with. The hesitant piece of me died, and I believe it’s exactly what I need.
I’ve discovered a lot about who I really am, and I still notice new pieces of me, free of MTV’s censor. I continue to uncover personal characteristics, and maybe I’m a little more basic as a result of it, (re)brushing up against the things I’ve passed on, learning to write and how I’d like to create a painting, as paradigm. In the hospital, a lot of what I used to concern myself with didn’t matter anymore, and that tells me “just go with it” whenever something pops out, hence reexamining all that I’ve skipped over. I’m free of culture’s censor, and I’m discovering what I really want out of life. Armani is nice, but I’m not going to sacrifice what I would have, working weekends.
It is a bitchhhhhhh that I only see where I’d like to go now, now that my memory is flawed, my speech isn’t so eloquent, and my athletic ability is tainted. I had a lot of potential, okay, but there’s really no point in bugging me with the damaged-goods thinking. Although, I’m really not THAT banged up. I’m not in a wheelchair, blind or deaf. I’m nearly back to normal in every way, and I feel no shame, not excusing who I am. Life is changes, and taking the new essay direction of how I write as a lame indication of where I’m yearning to take my life, I’ll do well. I’m going to be fine, but I’ll always have the wonder of what I could have amounted to if I’d seen this earlier, if I weren’t so banged up.
I only hope that I’ll browse my JustChillen data from a Macintosh, heh, laptop in Aspen, Colorado, from the home of one of my readers, one of my fans, or from Mister Pentium’s couch. That fresh dream ticks around in my head, with you marveling, “Jeff has only led an amazing life since he bonked his brain.” I have the feeling that I’ll EITHER do something very special with my future, starting a disability (hockey helmet) company, writing a fine novel, or setting sail and shrimping, a la Forrest Gump, OR continuing down my forecasted and favorable path with my present interest in computers. I believe the effort to accomplish something special is there, just there, like how I rolled my eyes earlier watching my mom throw a hissy fit when a car clicked its left blinker, knowing I’d have complained too. Not now, not now – I’ve seen worse than anything you’ll ever experience (!!!), and that perspective tells me, uh, a lot, so much that I can’t spell it into words. I’ll live a pleasant life, just as fine as or hopefully finer than that of my contemporaries, crossing my fingers.
My creative spark resulting from a tragic car wreck goes to show that there’s really something to be said about the monster accidents in life, the occurrences that change everything and everything in your life. A lot of people say, Jeff you’re doing so well! I guess I am, dun dun dun at which this baseline effort is what I was born into, and hopefully carrying this strength into anything I do. This push is my standard. I heard that my rehabilitation would be quote-unquote, the most difficult thing I’ll ever do. It very well might be, but I don’t feel any of that tough love, being that it’s purely something I awoke to, still not understanding how I was previously able to be so lazy. I’m different in that sense. I’m not the same considering I’ve abandoned un-productivity.
I’ll take vision therapy for a while, who knows, for maybe a year, and I spoke up about how I worried that I might always have to wear prismed glasses. I was told the clinic had seen a lot of people with Traumatic Brain Injury, and about seven out of ten came away from the therapy free of spectacles. That’s reassuring, but also creepy, there’s a chance I’ll always be four-eyed, or, I guess they have contacts. I remember the tests I had, I answered usually five on the one-to-ten scale, meaning that my double vision was halfway bad.
I visited an advisor at Worcester State, and we talked about a special people approach to classes, untimed testing, tape recorders, note takers, you name it. I was sitting there with the advisor and my mother, answering questions about, umm, flaws. They suspected, and asked, if a noisy environment would buzzkill my thinking. Nope and speaking of which, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the braces if I were able to venture into the sweet feminine jungle, to a LOUD dance club. I’d actually like to go to a rave, serving sensory overload through repetition and packed people. I’ll eventually study full-time, hold a keep-busy job, and appear as a, you know, a normal college student, but I face this unworldly transition at moment.
If you ask me, I’m just getting by and simply living my life with the necessary effort. My dentist, he told me to quote-unquote keep up the good fight, my dentist, and that comes off, to me, as sickly juvenile, please. I’ve told you that I feel somehow reborn, naturally, with this do-gooder heart ticking away in my chest, pushing me forward. If my recovery is the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do, I smile because, meh, they didn’t even ask everything from me. In some (many?) respects, I’ve gone above what was expected; I remember my dad brought one of my dumbbells into Fairlawn, how nice, for curls to bring back some muscle. I had Physical Therapy each day, but there I was, in the gym with that weight each night, improving myself when I could have been lazing around in the bed, watching television. None of that, and I’ll hold onto a piece of overcompensation until I die.
That doesn’t change the fact of how it’s very, very, and very UNSETTLING for everything in my life to have changed, just like that. My vision, my voice, and pretty much anything you can think of is now somehow different. The way I view the world is different, yes, so much as the interpretation of existence has changed. Again, it might not be, and probably isn’t, reflected in my palling around behavior, but absolutely nothing feels the same as it had in past years. I do like most variations (heh upgrades), but it doesn’t change the fact that my accident occurred nearly a year ago and I’m still not accustomed to my hopes. Frankly, I love, love, love most of me, but you can imagine the stress I face for, uh, my living to have changed.
I’m at an amazing time in my life, the time of my life. Maybe there’s an event that you believe has shaped you, causing you to become the man or woman you’ll die as. I’ve got a friend, hi Steve, taking a leap to living in France, and that’s exactly what I’m talking about, where everything in your life changes. I was talking with a woman I’ve known, I won’t say who, but her life is exactly the same as it was one year ago, and that’s tragic. I’ve had everything in my life jumbled, and it’s simply AMAZING for me to experience, not like it’s a bad thing, you know, I’m fond of where I am. Oh, by ‘amazing’ I mean it as remarkable because, well, think about it.
You can imagine the stress in knowing that I just can’t do some things, some fairly common activities, like I won’t fare well in some sports, I’m just not, okay, I’ve accepted it. I’m working on my running right now, and that’s eating away at me because, uh, something so basic as how I run isn’t conforming to proper form. That and I’m not going to be a salesman, I’m just not going to be able to arrange any sales if my speaking doesn’t fullyyy return. I’ve accepted that I’ll have a few funny little quirks, and I’m making the effort of accomplishing enough to mask any peculiarities.
You, you’re probably thinking – he’s not in school, and I know I’d read, write, and exercise if I had the time – Nah, you wouldn’t, you wouldn’t. You wouldn’t do what I am if you were able to stay home all day. You, you’d be sleeping late, getting fat, and watching too much television. Me, getting to the gym every other day is a lovely bonus, and not only do I read a lot, but I read about writing, which I then practice! Call it overcompensating, but I’m out to make you look bad. It doesn’t change the fact that I’ve got brain damage, but it does say something about the type of human I am.
Someone commented to me via Instant Message that I’m his hero (ha), and I replied with a kissy face because I don’t see anything fantastically difficult in what I handle. I just do it, then maybe write about it, ha. Therapy and returning to normal life are simply the things I have to accomplish, and I don’t see anything mountainous in living well. I have hit bottom, and I know precisely what I’m made of because I’ve been on a flesh-and-bones level. I have hit bottom, and this is who I am!