Ever since my accident I’ve tried to make sense of a lot of things. I mean, I realize I am a very fortunate man.I mean, for one thing I am alive. For another, I have had a tremendous support system. My family, the people in my life early on after my accident, and ultimately with meeting my wife Jayne. All of these things are very important, they kind of line the nest so to speak. My support system has provided, to the best of their ability anyway, an environment or situation where I can try to live a worthwhile and meaningful life. Ultimately, it all comes down to me. Herein lies the rub… I am my own worst enemy. The flat-out insanity of my situation has taken me to some pretty dark lows and of course, some incredible triumphs.
In the beginning, when I was in the infancy of my newfound chaos, either the severity of where I was wasn’t registering yet or my sense of humor comes from a very dark place inside. In the beginning, I found myself laughing more often than not. Don’t get me wrong, there was terror and plenty of it, but I also had this steely calm that always brought me back to the unbearable task at hand. It was there and then that I quickly had to find the absurdity of any kind of situation that appeared just outside of my understanding. It was also this sense of humor that helped to calm the nerves and terrors of the people around me. I discovered early on that making other people comfortable and at ease with my accident and its outcome was going to make things much easier for me. Was I doing this because I care so much about the people around me, that I wanted to ease their pain? Hell no! I became really aware of how freaked out people were when I started feeling freaked out having visitors. It became my mission to put people at ease, assure them that I was still the same Steve and contain the hysteria of what happened within the context of one big joke. It was absurd. My accident was funny insofar as it being so inexplicable, sudden and so incredibly unfair.
For 15 years of my disabled life I continued to find myself trying to put other people at ease about the tubes and the bandages and the urine bag filled with blood instead of urine. All the things that people wonder about because they don’t understand. I’m very conscious of it, I am. It was some kind of a survival thing I guess. However, and I think it’s very ironic, when I turned 40 I think there was a change in me. My good nature was evolving into something that I couldn’t explain at the time. Is there such a thing as a mid life crisis? Who knows? This was disabled guy crisis of the highest order.
Okay, let me refocus for a minute here. I can’t help but feel that I’m getting a little off base with this post. To make the long story a little shorter, Steve 2.0 was just a silly name that I gave my efforts to try and curb my anger and frustration that I stuffed away during the early years of my injury. Through therapy and some deep thinking I realized that I’ve never mourned the loss of my physical life. I kept trying to assure everybody that things were going to be just fine. Indirectly, I suppose I was subconsciously trying to tell myself. Steve 2.0 was making this realization, coming to terms with the anger that I was dealing with and getting my head together to a point where I can redirect my energy to becoming a better person. I really want to turn my life into something valuable. Not just to me, I love my life. I love the beautiful things in life, music, sunshine, color, the craziness and uncertainty. Life is a very cool thing whether you’re stuck in a wheelchair or not. So, looking forward, I hope I will be contributing a lot more in this life. In future posts I will continue to discuss some of the changes that I’ve been trying to make the last few years. I want to help other people who find themselves in a similar situation. I’ve been reading the blog of a young girl who literally chose not to live after her spinal cord injury. She went through legal channels and exercised her right to refuse nourishment. She died from complications of malnutrition. She starved herself to death. While I disagree with her tactic, I know how she felt.
Steve 2.0 is coming. Rest assured, the future is bright. To whoever reads this, thanks for getting through this post. Future posts will be less verbose and probably more interesting.
Peace and blessings.