What do scars tell us?

Some say scars build character, others maybe misfortune, for myself I had believed these markings tell us about our own story. Having come out of initial recovery from hernia surgery, I was thinking exactly what do these new etchings mean? For my story, I had looked back to my first big physical trauma.

One day leaving the military grocery store in the UK, my mother and I were headed to the parking lot.  As with many children, I had wanted to treat this rudimentary chore as a chapter in a whimsical fantasy. For most young boys, most had periodically idolized Superman and his super strength. So in my best physical impersonation, I had decided to pry off one of the car doors from the inside out. Now, the visual counterpoint were tiny preschool boy hands wrestling with modeled sheet metal. If Superman had crushed cars, so could I. Unrelenting, I had become entrenched in a battle against this unwavering construct. On the other hand, my mom had focused on efficiently loading up the day’s groceries in the trunk. Then, the slam of the car door had brought reality to a screaming halt, literally. Under the door hinge, my left hand had laid.

Awaking from the shock, I was walking with my mom through a courtyard at a hospital. Looking at my left ring finger, it was dolled up in cotton gauze. Under the gauze had existed the bloody bludgeoned shortened fingertip. If I hadn’t told, you might not had been any wiser to this scar. The only physical challenge I had ever experienced, learning to play guitar with a little more effort on the frets. In reflection, it was small penance in embracing my childhood ethos of Superman. From my mom’s point of view, she had felt enormously guilty about the mishap; however, in retrospect accidents and boys had seem inseparable facts of life.

Looking at the incisions from repairing two hernias, I had thought of how this experience compares to the first. In certain sense, the same spirit was at play. Men and boys had always wanted to reach beyond their grasp, sometimes reality. Looking at the some of my other noteworthy scars, from my right wrist, left forearm, and right knee, all had echoed moments of being more than ordinary maybe, even super. Scars in themselves were just a reminder of the body’s frailty.

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Valentine’s Day, whatever we deny or embrace, for worse or for better!

Love like refracting light had come in various hues whether a crush, platonic friendship, paternal instinct or a long-term relationship. Earlier this week, I had recalled my connection to my mother through the distinct perspective of a childhood embrace. Some of the biggest moments in my life were colored by other shades of this very word, love.

One weekend while going to Florida State University, by coincidence, I had caught up with a childhood friend from the Bahamas. This interaction had sparked the possibility of reaching out to my estranged father in Asia. At that point, I hadn’t spoken to my dad in a number of years. I was so angry with disappointment of the dissolution of his marriage to my mother. Topping it all off, was his reckless spending of my college fund. I had recalled thinking, “How do you forgive something like that?” Then I had remembered all the good times growing up on military bases. I had remembered the smell of coffee, doughnuts and slight odor of cigarette smoke when hugging his side. With that perspective, I had decided to write an open letter detailing missing him. I wasn’t sure if he would respond; however, the act of popping the envelope into the mail was a cathartic one. It had afforded solace through forgiveness in place of anger.

In the end, I hadn’t ever heard from my father until receiving word from an uncle of his unexpected death years later. In my mind, that open letter was therapy for closing out a portion of the past. Before my father’s service, I was given the duty of providing his eulogy. I had again recalled some of those great memories of playing chess, fishing and snorkeling off the Bahamian coast. This mental anchor had provided strength in gathering words in a difficult time. By letting go of the anger before, I was able to bridge an emotional gap from estrangement. Like my mother had said,”He was still your father!” I was grateful to express my love for him then and others down the line. Whatever life had tossed your way, for better or worse, your better man or woman, for fearlessly saying you love someone. The only epic fail was allowing anger from preventing saying otherwise.

Read More:
Pat Benatar (Wikipedia)

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Across the Universe Happy Valentine’s Day Mom!

While in elementary, I had remembered immersing in pages of books with graphic illustrations of the planets in our solar system. My mom was never a fan of anything science fiction or science fact related; however, one thing she had always enjoyed profusely, my explanation of how much I loved her. In my response, I had stretched my out my arms to their furthest expanse saying, ”I love you from the planet Mercury to the planet Pluto.” That familiar exchange of affection had seemed big enough to fill my existence through the edge of the Milky Way.

Cherishing those memories now, I had reflected on friends and other peers living through their mother’s passing. Life had never seemed to offer convenient times for interrupting with bad news. A few weeks ago, my mom had come down with this year’s seasonal cold eventually leading to admission into to the hospital. Luckily, she was on the mend and off to Vegas by the following weekend. Funny thing, I was a bit frantic about being unable to reach her for my weekly Saturday morning call. I hadn’t felt such anxiety since my childhood. A childhood that was filled with obsessing about my parents dying. Maybe it was fear of nuclear war during the 1980s or a separation phobia. Who knows? Who cares?

One thing that hasn’t changed since childhood that distant memory. That reverence still fills my heart expanding across my existence. Nothing summarizes that feeling better than the Beatles song, Across the Universe.

johnlennon

Happy Valentine’s Day from tu adorado tormento (your beloved torment)

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Read More:
Our Solar System (NASA)
Across the Universe by the Beatles (Wikipedia)

Hernias and someone drinking a little too much beer?

Two months ago I had travelled out to southern California for work. Upon my visit, a friend of mine, pointing to my stomach, had mentioned, “Someone drinking a little too much beer?” Much to my chagrin, I had stated, “Only my belly button.” After about a month, I had noticed my navel protruding more than ever. It had crested with bluish tint and tender to the touch. On New Years’ Eve, I had decided on sending a picture to my general practitioner for some feedback. He had responded “umbilical hernia.” At first, I was writing off the protrusion as more cosmetic than a functional issue. For over two years, it really hadn’t bothered me much until getting the seasonal cold this past January. With each respective sneeze and cough, pain had bellowed through my chest cavity with a greater degree of discomfort but, still manageable.

Somewhere along the way in January, I had also noticed another protrusion in my lower pelvic area while working out. Maybe it was from doing leg presses or just lifting something incorrectly (i.e. a scuba tanks). Regardless, the mental toll of having two hernias, especially a lower pelvic one, really had lowered my spirits. I had wondered, “If I had surgery, how long until I recover to go run, hike, swim or scuba? Will I be the same man afterward?” In my 40s, I had really started to ponder every new ache with the progression of aging. I had started to channel, Stone Temple Pilots’,”Half the man I used to be.”

Now at first, I had written off a decision for surgery until later in the 2014. I had really wanted to focus on getting more reps scuba diving with a friend; however, I had figured, ”Why not schedule an appointment for a medical consult?” Two days before my appointment, I had gone out for Karaoke with a buddy. While there, I had an unexpected shift in my lower abdomen while going to the restroom. A sharp pain had begun emanating from my lower torso feeling like someone literally kicking constantly  in the groin. With the pain increasing in severity, I had opted to bail on my friend at the bar in lieu of rest. Choosing to avoid a repeat of the previous night outing, I had chosen to skip the next morning at the gym. I had grown fearful of what might inadvertently occur. I was wondering if my intestines might pop out like the many ghastly depictions online including a story from Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock.

This past Thursday, I had finally caught up with my surgeon for a consult. Much to my surprise, he had mentioned the recovery time should be quick, even for activity like scuba diving or the gym. With that appraisal echoed by my family doctor, I was ecstatic. Now, all I was waiting on scheduling the surgery and getting back to a full range of activities. If you had a hernia before, what was it like? How long did it take you to return to a fully functional battle station?

Read More:
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on Hernia Surgery: “Those Were Sexy Times” (US Weekly)

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Road Laughter

There had existed a world and universe that physically reaches beyond our grasp. There had also encompassed a vast expanse within your mind. Recalling parts of my youth, I had spent summers in Tallahassee, Florida and Singapore. Each experience was remarkably unique; one illuminating, the other frustrating.

Without question, there was a key difference regardless of location. It was a positive mindset looking up to the big blue sky imagining possibilities. That precedent had made for years of wonderful new memories in Tallahassee, Florida. A good friend had told me, “It is not where you are but, what you do.” On that point I had wanted to share this memory with you. I had thought to also say, ”Don’t limit yourself with your state of mind or location in life.” This was more about aspiring to find yourself and bridging that gap to your family, friends and loved ones.

Imagine, reach out and make contact, listen, maybe even laugh a little, we’re all human after all.

Safe travels.