Photographer: Prentice Danner
I have been attempting to redefine myself as a man. Three years ago, on the anniversary of my accident, I realized I was living in a haze, working and drinking to pass the time. I didn’t know to fight for the guy who had landed at the bottom of the swimming pool and had fractured his spinal cord. I thought that the athlete I had been was the real me, and I was just a simulacrum. Working long hours helped me forget that, but I was sleepwalking. I knew I had to wake up; I didn’t have a choice. I had to adjust to my new body and physical limitations. I had to adjust to living a different kind of life. I committed to being authentic, punctual, hard-working, witty, simple, a good listener, joyous, healthy, creative, successful, charismatic, a strong son and reliable friend, and an excellent and honest businessman. Above all, I refuse to allow anything to stand in the way of achieving my goals.
As Murakami stated in Kafka on the Shore: ‘And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you manage to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.’
I still struggle with the storm. But I do find solace knowing that the fierceness of it is behind me. Rather than dread the next day, I now take deep breaths and welcome each day as it comes.