Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on September 7th, 1981, at 10:03 AM at Saint Francis Hospital w/ Penis. Did not cry much. Lived in Broken Arrow, OK, out in the boonies a bit. Had a dog named Ralph who was supposedly pretty smart, really lovable dog. Odd mutt too. Possibly labrador/poodle mix. Probably minimal harassment from my older brother. Sucking of nipples. Your typical one year old stuff. Possibly a large wooden rocking bird.
More of the same. Learning to talk maybe. Can't really say, don't remember those formative years so well. (What is my mind hiding from me? ... Oh). My younger brother was born in 1983 a month and two days after me. Somewhere around here Ralph gets run over after making a break for it from the front door. Parents will never view the UPS man the same way again.
Perhaps minimal jealousy? Now I've got two other dick-heads to hang out with for the rest of my life, oh god, yeah!
Growing up with the interesting perspective of middle brother. I think we were still farily passive during this time. Mom didn't work. Took turns dressing up as various influential PBS puppets *cough*. Smashing cake in our own faces, the usual. Got another dog, Miniature Schnauzer. Named him Ferguson Jenkins *lastname*. Cutest puppy ever. Vivid memory of him fitting in the pocket of my mom's nightgown.
Beginning of infighting perhaps? Starting to learn to smack each other around some. Good clean fun. I learn how to spell hotdog all by my lonesome self. So proud. Show off to my grandmom. We get another small dog (breed?) named Cricket. For some reason I can't remember, we only take Fergie with us in the move and find Cricket a new home.
Moved from Broken Arrow, OK (suburb of Tulsa) to Slidell, Louisiana (suburb of Nu Olins). Grandparents moved to a house a few streets down. Now that's love. Lots of little trips to the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama. Beautiful place, warm and humid.
Somewhere in the chaos I miss Kindergarten and get sent to 1st Transitional. School: Honey Island Elementary. Swear to god, behind the fence of the recess yard was swamp. Kids would swear they saw alligators back there moving. I don't remember spending much time out at recess. Pretty antisocial, would stay inside during recess and before school started many days. Made a few friends, regardless. Treehouse is erected in our backyard with the help of a friend of my parents on a visit. Distinct memory of warring with my younger brother in that backyard shortly after. Being thrown from the treehouse/throwing from the treehouse. Pinecone wars. Lots of crying all around. Older brother somewhat absent from this, engaged in overcoming learning disability, dyslexia. I think dad gets his first computer afeter checking them out at a computer show. Intel 286. Going to help with work? hehe, right.
First grade. Last year in Slidell. I distinctly remember a birthday party in the park sometime around here. Getting little action figures. My favorite had to be the ones with the little magnets on their boots with the spacecraft. Can no longer remember their name. Eating pizza with the class on a fieldtrip, seeing how it's made. Played a game in the living room where we would stack pillows and leap over them in various ways. I swear it was my turn, my younger brother wouldn't have it and tried to go again. Not going to lose my turn, I jump in tandem; land on his arm. We don't find out it was broken until a week later. Tough little kid.
Second grade. Probably back in Tulsa by now. New house. New school. Anderson Elementary, part of the Union school district. Start getting more social, still play a lot less at recess. Kind of introverted. We get a pool. Lots of fun swimming. Lots of bloody feet from the rough diving board. We all adore Fergie, but realize maybe we should get him a friend.
Third grade. New dog, Golden Retriever, Polly. She thinks were drowning when we're swimming in the pool and tries to save us, but only pushes us in deeper with her paddling paws. Nice dog, but probably could use bigger, better accomadations. Would eat a light bulb in boredom while we were gone. Later we would find her a new home.
Fourth grade. Either this year or next, got a new dog. Dopiest looking little fur ball you ever saw. His dad was a Beagle who snuck under the fence and mated with a Shitzu, his mom. He was kind of the runt of the litter. They called him CP. Double meaning. "See Pee!" and Couch Potato. It was with much patience and aggrivation that little dog finally learned to be house trained. Jokingly considered dumping him over a fence with a farmer to take care of him. Weeks later he improved drastically. We ended up naming him Frisco; I was looking up names in a phone book and suggested it. New school in the Union school district, Jarman Elementary,. Kids who live closer end up getting moved there, kids from a few different schools. Regardless, tried to become more social. Spent even less time at recess, but made special effort to be nice: say my Hi's, By's, Please's, and Thank You's. Won an Academic Award for my grade and a Citizenship Award. I think I had one of my first and last poolside Birthday parties.
Fifth grade. Move to a new house, larger yard, bigger house. New school, Jenks East Elementary; part of the Jenks school district, direct rivals with the Union school district. More pretentious, make less friends, get pretty depressed and lonely. Grades drop miserably. Resort to following around a group of "out" kids. One of them becoming my best friend from then to now. Spend more time writing, becoming enamored with Fantasy Fiction and then later Sci-fi. Take a test and enroll myself in the gifted program, Pegasus. Had to choose a project for Pegasus, mine became supersonic aircraft and I had to build a model. I didn't know where to begin and slacked in the project, but I began to develop a real interest in aeronautics and high technology. Began to read magazines like Popular Science and Popular Mechanics enthusiastically and continue to do so to this day (Discover, Wired, etc). Fergie and Frisco become like brothers. Younger brother met a kid who lived across the street a little ways, Rem, was in a grade below me and a grade above my brother. Although he eventually became my friend, my younger brother and Rem became very close friends as well with some other neighborhood kids.
Sixth grade. New pool is built at the new house. Many memories over the years of that pool. New school again: Jenks East Middle School. A lot of kids this time from Jenks East Elementary but also a lot of new strange faces. Gifted program at JEMS called Nove. Really strange but engaging teacher, Mrs. Roden. End up in a different gifted class than the one some of the friends I'd started making ended up in. Started procrastinating even more heavily in school work. Homework was a joke. Grades dropped further, BUT I enrolled in band as my elective and began maintaining some old friendships I had started to form. Band and lunch period proved to be the only things preventing from being a total social recluse. I think we upgrade to a Intel 486 sometime around here.
Seventh grade. Built up some friendships, others started to slide. Somewhere around here I discovered the fun and crazy world of Dungeons and Dragons: Second Edition! A world in which you could create your own personalized character and match him against a custom world and scenario. The greater your imagination the greater the possibilities. I became instantly enthralled. My first DM was my best friend Shawn. Continued friendships with some friends from band. Games of D&D would increase in size with more people variably attending.
Side note: Was probably one of the tallest kids in my grade; this had proven true probably in the last couple years as well. Went from carrying my books in a small duffle bag to a normal backpack. Would carry my clarinet case in my extended left arm, with the right strap of my backpack being supported by my hunched up right shoulder. This would be the case to the band room to deposit my clarinet in its cubby to class. Routine would continue after school in reverse to the bus. Unknowingly (not sure if I can say that with absolute honesty) I think, through some serious growth sprouts I began to seriously fsck up my back. So would begin my education in symmetry.
Eighth grade. After finding out I lived close to my friend Shawn I later introduced Rem to him and D&D. They became good friends as well. Will always have memories of some well organized as well as chaotic D&D sessions we set up. Introducing new people, some would get lax with the game and others more involved. I remember buying much D&D paraphenelia: Character specialization books, books with new classes and character kits and new spells, item guides, and for those who DM'd there was a veritable cornucopia of source material you could buy. Boxed Campaign sets with new worlds with extensive histories and all kinds of stuff to get lost in. We all had our favorites. For Rem it was Forgotten Realms. For Shawn it was first and foremost Dragonlance and then Ravenloft and others. For me it was Dark Sun. They even had fiction books with detailed stories and side-stories galore that went completely parallel with the campaign settings. In a way, we all became experts. I think, maybe, I will always be able to look back and remember that as one of the most fun times in my life. I think this is when I first understood the value of a computer - only after I discovered that little doodad inside called a modem and what you could do with it. I started to explore all the different computer BBS systems in town. Entertained the idea of running my own for a while, I called it Tanyon X (no idea where I got the Tanyon from).
Continued side-note: Started to seriously develop some sort of condition where all nervous stimuli would cause me to physically over-react. My palms became excessively sweaty, they began to leave fine little puddles on our desks, I began to find any excuse not to have to shake people's hands. My face would turn red at the slightest social uncomfortability. Getting in front of class to make a presentation would turn my face bright crimson. I made no connection to what I had begun to do off and on to my body through school, with the hell I began to experience.
Freshman year of High School. I retired from Band. I couldn't see myself marching out on that field during the football games. Hell, I didn't enjoy going to football games in the slightest. Due to my condition I descended deeper into introspection. It perhaps spurred my drive to see conditions from outside my own perspective, drove my thoughts into new areas. Why do people have to suffer? Why was I suffering? What did I do to deserve all this? Of course, putting my condition in perspective I realized that so many different more horrible things could be afflicting my life, I mean after all, I came from a nearly ideal family, now upper middle-class. I know I'll catch flak for this one, but I thought I might try something different so I enrolled in Air Force Junior ROTC. We learned basic flight science, history, etcetera. How to march in formation. Some off-shoot clubs developed from it, and some community service stuff. Only real requirement was to fit into regulations wearing our uniform on Tuesday and to do well academically in the class. Myriad of personalities in that class, and of course the obvious military enthusiast type. I think the real reason I joined the class mainly was the flight aspect. I did a couple projects on aerospace technology using magazines and articles as source material.
Continued side-note: Although retiring from band I continued my assymetrical practice by loading my binder into my left hand so that I could increase my book load in my bag. Conditions worsened considerably. And although I made every effort to still engage myself in school I slowly dropped out of any sort of social life or extracurricular life I had. D&D sessions began to dwindle. I began to strategically limit the amount of social encounters I would have to make.
Sophomore year of High School. Last year in ROTC. Because I refrained from engaging in much extracurricular activity in that class my relationship with the instructor and other students slowly started to drain and I did not forsee staying in that class if I was not going to become heavily involved as much as the other students were. Continued side-note: Conditions probably began to plateau. But in short, I was an utterly miserable human being. I had few friends, nearly nill relationships with the opposite sex. I could barely even manage the tension. Why had I not complained yet to my parents about this problem which was beginning to envelop my life? - Home was my only social respite. I could watch the TV, work on the computer, or go read, maybe even rarely do homework, but I didn't have to deal with this problem because mainly I didn't have to deal with other people. Home became a haven and I wasn't about to ruin that by addressing and bringing an additional problem into my home. That and for the longest time I didn't even really look at it like a condition. It was just something odd that I had to deal with. I assumed it was just something rare that I had, my natural state of being. It wasn't until I began to reach a critical state where I became so depressed and so aggrivated with having to deal with these symptoms that I finally began to talk to my parents about it. I think a crucial point was the end of my sophomore year. It was the last day of class and I was in ROTC. Someone who not so much a friend as a close association (in the process I had learned to become an extremely tolerant person, and although I didn't always agree with the opinions presented by the people around me I learned to maintain amiable relationships with many of them) reached out to shake my hand. He was in the desk in front of me, I sitting in mine. The bell had just rung. There was no way out. Despite an extremely sweaty hand (beads of perspiration running all over it, collecting in little pools - ya, it was that bad) I shook his hand. Time slowed down. First confusion. Next processing of what had happened, I could read his face, and thus his mind. Obviously set back, he said nothing then gave me one of the strangest looks ("what's wrong with you?") I have ever recieved. Then and there I felt like an utter monster. There was a place in the PAC in a corridor behind the stair well that during those times no one even rarely frequented. I had started skipping out on lunch quite often previously, and instead spent most of that time reading or doing homework. It was there that I ran to and cried my eyes out. I wanted to die. I was a monster, I was certain. I couldn't even relate with the fellow human beings around me anymore. Something was awfully wrong.
Junior year of High School. Somewhere around here I finally started seeing a chiropractor. The diagnosis: I had severely fscked up my spine and neck. In the x-ray my neck looked like a subtle "s". I immediately began to change my habits, focusing on the position in which I slept, how I carried my bag, etc. The doc wanted to try some things: acupuncture, adjustments, recommendations in change of exercise and diet. Starting with a couple visits a week and winding down to a couple a month, it started to become apparent this wasn't working like I had hoped. After much distress and despair over how I might live the rest of my life like this, I started searching for alternative solutions. Literally searching on the internet for hand sweat, I came up with a site for a procedure practiced in Sweden for a condition formally labeled hyperhydrosis and/or facial flushing. In other words they treated these symptoms like they were a condition in and of themself, noting on the site it was unclear exactly why they occurred. Despite feeling like I had a pretty good idea, I began doing research on the procedure endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy. It went something like this: the doc goes in from underneath your armpit, first deflates your lung, then sends this little probe-guy up into your body fully equipped with camera, light, and laser, and once located, proceeds to cut specific nerve endings in, around, or near the second thoracic vertebrate. Yep, I was nuts. But after reading over the pro's and con's from people who had this procedure done, I decided to go ahead and petitioned my parents to pay for the surgery for me. Turns out insurance would pay for half. I still look back on that day wondering whether I did the right thing. You see the symptoms of such a surgery go a little something like this: compensatory sweating in the lower half of the body, becuase no longer does your body anywhere above your shoulders sweat anymore. This includes your face. I didn't really fully consider the ramifications, but basically sweat serves a major function for your body: it helps clean nasty shit out of you, keeps your pores open and clean, etc. I had already started to develop a problem with acne, now 21 it shows no sign of abating. Well, at the time I took it as a god send, my hands no longer sweat. I started to try to live my life like a normal person, make friends where before I would have avoided social contact. I had a year left in high school and I felt like I had a lot of catching up to do.
Senior year of High School. I will always be able to look back at this year in high school as the year I got to try and act like a normal person, but I began to immediately realize I had become lost outside the scope of normal social affairs. Like my life had become a perpetual game of catch-up. Regardless, exercising my new mitigated social fears I went to a number of parties, started to actually care about things like personal appearance, etc. However, I could see my oppurtunities dwindling as my last year of school winded down. Nevertheless, I graduated on schedule in May of 2000. Having coped out of a couple periods of classes my last two years of highschool by attending classes at the local community college - most having to deal with computers - my plan for that summer was to continue with classes at TCC, but making an effort to enroll I realized what I could hope to achieve at that school was very limited, but I hadn't made an earlier effort to scope out the nearby universities and schools. I had no clue where to go, so I made a last minute effort to enroll in the local college, the University of Tulsa. Midway into the fall quarter I began to realize I may have yet again made a mistake. This was an athlete's school: a school with a majority of academically disinterested students, numerous frat and sorority parties and social life. I was caught somewhere in academic limbo, not having the grades and scores to be an honors student and be in the classes where the kids actually cared about what they were studying, I was left in a place where I hadn't quite ever caught up. That and my parents were paying for the large majority of my tuition. Yet my roommate was a major jazz enthusiast, somewhat of a beatnik, who stayed up extremely late most nights, and filling the room with snores when he did happen to be sleeping. Slowly I began to miss more and more of my classes, become more and more demotivated. I was no longer even sure I wanted to major in computer science. I became despondent and depressed. Eventually I decided, having wasted my parents money, and not wanting to confess, I would pack some clothes and things and set out with the goal of hitchiking to the Northeast. Of all my various travels with my family I had never seen New England. It sounded like a good goal. Reading up on hitchiking, I made my way to the interstate and caught my first ride. He only took me a few miles where I needed to go before I had to do some walking and make a second effort. The second person to pick me up within a few sentences speaking to me, which I will refrain from examining, made me rethink the whole venture. There are some sick people out there. Fortunately he only intended to give a ride to the truck stop where I had originally intended to catch a new ride. There I made a phone call to one of the few female friends I have this world, Eva. It was just the end of her school day and she volunteered to do me a helluva favor: drive me back to school. With the plan to hitchhike toast, I began to consider other options. Namely the Marines. You must be wondering where my head had gone, one crazy idea after the other, but it seemed to make sense at the time. I liked to travel, wanted to travel, I could earn the money to go to school at a later date and make up for the money I had wasted. I could get the physical exercise that might perhaps in theory help me correct my physical condition. Of course I had to overcome one obstacle in that respect: I had to blatantly lie to my recruiter, "no I have not had any surgeries or medical conditions" *gulp*. I'm a very bad kid. (Actually, it works both ways: they lie to you too. You will not get 8 hours sleep.) Of course it worked to distract my parents from the whole financial fandango I had put them in. I guess it would have helped to know that we had much more then (thank you Stock Market) than we do now (*%^% YOU Stock Market!).
January of 2001 I shipped off to San Diego for United States Marine Corps basic training. You don't really acquire a basic understanding of the military until you've spent at least one week at boot camp. Without going into the details, in my second week in PCP (Physical Conditioning Platoon), I attempted suicide by jumping from the third deck of my barracks out of large downward sweeping windows in a Super Man style dive, head first. I don't remember falling, or hitting for that matter, or the EMTs or Drill Instructors talking to me afterward as an ambulance sped me off to the hospital. The verdict: I had broken my kneecap into three pieces, broke my right femur above midshaft, severely broke my left elbow and less intensely also my right. That and my right wrist hurt like the dickens the total three weeks I spent in the hospital, although they could find nothing wrong with it. It no longer hurts. What they did: Screws and a rod were attached to my right femur to keep it one piece so it could heal, two screws held my kneecap back in one piece, a concoction of screws and wire held my left elbow together so it too could heal, and my right elbow was put in a simple brace. My parents flew to San Diego within a day, and later my dad left while my mom stayed off and on with me while I was in the hospital. I spent less than a week in a real hospital and then two weeks and the remainder in a rehab hospital. I spent every successive day exercising my joints and stretching my tendons further bit by bit as the bones began to heal. After those three weeks were up, I had to spend one last week in MC boot camp. I realized then that this place was some sort of hell. A temporary one for most, meant to build you up all nice and strong and teach you to instantly take orders without thought or hesitation. Speed and Intensity were their motto. After spending three weeks in a cushy hospital momentarily on some nice drugs, returning to boot camp I became entrenched in the fear that I may spend weeks or months here, that and I didn't feel like I had fully healed yet, but was nevertheless hasty to get out of Medical Recovery platoon and into RSP, Recruit Seperation Platoon. I guess the fact that I had tried to kill myself helped them consider extraditing my ass on out of there and out of their hands. Finally returning home, fresh air never smelled so sweet. The very freedom that so many of us take for granted and often even abuse when put into contrast with a prison-like environment in which you can not do anything without having requested permission or been ordered to, well, let's just say I developed a new appreciation for this wonderful way of life. And also a new perspective in realizing how much of it is often wasted. The family moved from Oklahoma to a suburb of Portland, Oregon. We had vacationed there before and the land is just amazingly beautiful in contrast to OK. I took a little break, got a job in retail, realized how much I hated it and got out. Then later started to realize how much money I had made during that short period in contrast to many other part-time job oppurtunities in the area. It was nice to take a break.
Beginning of 2002 I enrolled once again in a local community college. There are some striking similarities between full-fledged universities and community colleges. One being an instantly recognizable diaspora between the students in class who were genuinely interested in the subject and those who were there for any other reason. Community colleges are nothing but stepping stones to larger oppurtunities. For some that means a nicer job, for others it means cheap but less meaningful credits on their way to a higher institution, or the very least vocational skills. I began to realize I was interested in neither of the three. I wanted to be in a place where the students were absolutely enthralled by what they were learning. Hell, half the time I'm learning something new out of a book, magazine, or whatever I find a way to relate it to myself. I love to learn and the more engaging the instructor the better. But another thing happened, in September I became 21 and I was still living at home. Not that that's all that bad, but when you happen to be displaced from the good majority of friends you've ever made in your life, and you're going to school at a two year insitution where students happen to appear and disappear with great speed, it gets kind of hard to make serious friends. One thing for sure, my life had become awfully lonely. Perhaps it would be no surprise if I intimated that I smoked marijuana for my first time at the beginning of 2002. And that this fictional self under its influence began to realize even more so how much is really missing from his life. It feels so hollow, empty. Being absolutely astounded, amazed, and then revering this drug and the experience it empowers I became highly interested in the effects of other drugs, the variable cornucopia of psychoactive substances that are really out there. I guess somewhere along I had started to take all that anti-drug propaganda very seriously. Opening my mind, expanding my horizons, the obvious (yet not so quite says the past) joke of it all really impressed me. It would seem the intoxicating substance opens one's self to feelings, ideas, and other stuff that floats latently just below the surface. Good drugs don't make you go crazy, throw caution into the wind and run over small children, play with small firearms, or date rape. Not unless - to some extent - that stuff is already in your system. No, the problem may in fact be all this unconscious slop that so rarely gets addressed when it needs to be, so it comes raging forth from the person when under the influence. In other words, drugs themselves aren't part of a rampant culture out of control. No, rather, they really show how lost we've let this culture become, because it becomes so wild spurting out of the gaps when it is finally and intermediately released. What else lies down there inside my head? I began to read up as much material on psychoactives, psychopharmacology, and shamanism as I could get my hands on. The same chemistry that had near literally bored me to death while at TU had become limitlessly fascinating. And even when the context of altered states was removed, the subject of chemistry did not lose its sheen of potential and mystery, and thus my growing interest. I am now fairly certain it is what I want to major in and for the first time I really feel like I'm ready to dig in my heels and do whatever is necessary to get through school with an invested interest in the sciences. I really couldn't say this before, but now I can. And although this is perhaps a cliche, I can say with veritable honesty that I have drugs to thank for this.
This only serves to reinforce for me how one should not be so quick to take the popular opinion as always valid, and the deeper my inquisition of the reality I find myself in grows, the more I appear to be growing as a complex and more deeply involved human being.
There was a time I could look back to when I was so unsure of what goals I should have and to what they should pertain, and now I find myself having to prioritize and shuffle admist a number of interests, as to what can benefit myself more, and others?
No longer do I find myself equipped with knowledge but uncertain as how to apply it (what knowledge is that really then?), but rather armed with both knowledge and *cough*perhaps wisdom. The former really being immediately accessible to us all, whether or not we live lives in which we choose to actively seek it. But the latter - the latter for me only came with much experience and hardship. The books would seem to dictate this is the only way it can really be acquired. I can offer no argument.
Nevertheless, if you have read this far it should be fairly obvious the number of glaring mistakes I've made in my life. I don't really have any good excuses.
I am humbled.
If possibly one suggestion I could make, it would be perhaps that all true personal growth begins there: By humbling one's self.
May your life be always full of Peace and Love,