// Observation & Intuition

I observe. I observe and remember things. Maybe it is the Virgo in me, or maybe I am just freak, but I try to remember aspects of certain situations, people, animals, fruits, vegetables, etc. This, to me, is a great tool for retention. I use it to remember important names, faces, information, you name it. I also do it for my own enjoyment.

Most people like to be remembered. It makes us feel special, or, at the very least, “memorable.” It’s flattering to be remembered by someone you’ve only met once or twice. It shows interest on the recognizee’s part, not to mention it being just plain mannerly.

The tiniest tidbit of pertinent information can go a very long way in helping make a great impression on people. And people inform us of things all the time. It is relatively easy to listen to what someone is saying, especially if it is a two-way conversation. Therefore, it is relatively easy to remember bits and pieces about that person which can be brought up at a later time, or at a later meeting. Say, a date or something.

This works with girls, guys (and vice versa). Women (and men, I suppose) like to feel that they have been listened to. And not just listened to, but understood (uh huh). Understanding is very important. It is the mark of a well-rounded individual. A good trait. It comes quite easy for me to pick up on certain personality traits. All I need is a bit of info and/or background and I can make someone feel like a million bucks (or a sack of shit, depending). Listening is easy. You don’t have to do anything but sit there. And it pays off (most of the time).

Observation itself is also easy. You just have to look at things (no, not like that). It doesn’t need to be obvious. Don’t just ogle at people (no one likes a creep). There is an art to observing without being observed. That’s the rub, but it’s possible.

Maybe I’m just suave. Yes, I think that’s it. Suave.

JHS

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// My Five Stages Of Grief

Being shot changed everything for me. Everything I knew, everything that was normal, my work, my marriage, my love life, my connections to people, everything. It’s hard to wrap your brain around something like that. In a way it is tragic. But it could also be seen or recognized as a time for a bit of a rebirth. At least that’s where I am taking it now. I thought I would write about the five stages of grief. My five stages. It seems appropriate to my situation, so here we go:

1. Denial
Denial of the whole incident started before I even hit the ground that night. Before I saw my blood running into the gutter, I already had thoughts that I was paralyzed and didn’t want to believe any of it was really happening. I wasn’t scared per se, it was more of a serene knowingness of my condition. Even then it was hard to take.

These thoughts were still with me even as we entered the hospital. I woke up the next day knowing exactly what had happened. There were a few visitors and every one of them cried. I told them not to, of course. I tried to be a big man and take it, but inside I knew that I was about to break down. Big time.

2. Anger
My bout of anger didn’t last very long. Admittedly, I was pretty angry at first. My life was going well at the time of the shooting. I had a decent job with a great company, made average money for my field of work, had a good marriage to a beautiful woman, and was finally ready to start a family in the coming months. Life was good. And it was taken away. Taken by a cowardly kid who thought killing someone might somehow be better than receiving a beat down from one of his intended victims.

I was pissed. I wanted nothing more than to hurt the guys that had hurt me. I wanted to fuck their lives like they had fucked mine. Then I realized it would do no good. And my brain felt better.

3. Bargaining
As soon as I was able to let go of the anger, I allowed myself a bit of a break. By then I was in limbo, wondering why it was me who had to be shot that night. Why I had to be the one paralyzed and useless, unable to even help myself piss or shit. What if Dave and I had waited five more minutes to show up to the party? What if we had played one more song that night? What if we had been in my truck and just pulled away when we saw the two guys headed our direction? It was all that and more. Much more. Why me? The question. It’s a horrible place to be, wondering. Sinking.

4. Depression
There was definitely a time when I felt unimportant. Not unloved, not at all. But useless. In the way. A hindrance to everyone in my immediate vicinity. It didn’t matter if it was my wife or my family. I felt numb. My wife, Lyra, and I had decided to end our 15 year marriage around this time. It was a joint decision, but hurt like hell. We loved one another and didn’t know what else to do. We did what we thought was right: to give each other a chance at sanity. Even though we had made the joint decision to do it, there was still a feeling of loneliness and a sense of abandonment. Not the case, but that’s where my head was at the time. And it only got worse.

Only a couple of people know this: I tried to kill myself (kind of). It was after I had been sick for a few weeks. I had a terrible infection that eventually turned into a horrible condition (I would later be hospitalized for having a pressure ulcer on my back, down near my ass). I felt like I was dead already, so I figured why not just end it?

My weapon of choice was a gigantic pair of scissors that I’d had for years. They’re made completely of metal and measure about a foot long. They’d do the trick. I positioned them in such a way that they were wedged against a tray on my chair and my chest. My plan was to plunge myself forward, stopping my heart. As I sat there, all I could think about was my then ex-wife and my roommate (and good friend), John. I didn’t think it would be fair for either of them to find me. I didn’t think it would be fair for anyone to find me. And finally, I thought of myself as being remembered as a coward. Never in my life had I been a coward, at least I don’t think so. So I let loose of the scissors and (I think) let them fall to the floor.

I took a cigarette from my desktop, and rolled slowly outside onto my deck. I smoked and thought I had made a good decision. I haven’t thought about killing myself since. And doubt I ever will again.

5. Acceptance
It’s been about a year since I was put into the hospital for treatment of my wound (naturally occurring, not self-inflicted). As I have healed physically, I have also healed immensely mentally. I’m actually glad that I’ve had this time to reflect on everything that I’ve ever done wrong in my life, bad decisions, my past, my future. I’ve done many things in my short time here, and achieved more than I ever thought I would so far. And it’s not over. I’m not dead. I may not be able to move as much as I used to, but I can do just as much as I used to… and more. There are many things I want to do. There’s still time for kids, or travel, or a novel. There’s still art in the world. There are still beautiful girls walking around beautiful neighborhoods smiling beautiful smiles all over the place. There’s still fun to be had, friends to be made, and knowledge to be known. Lastly, there’s still love out there… and that’s enough for me.

I’m good.

JHS

// The Secret: A Documentary Film

The Secret is a documentary film from 2006. The idea behind “the secret” is what supposedly brought success to such greats as Plato, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein and Andrew Carnegie. It is intended to help empower viewers to achieve success in careers, relationships and healthy living. It is also something I feel is a very important and powerful message. The film starts out a little rough. Kind of cheesy. It does get better, and when it does, it teaches something about us as individuals and how we can control our own destiny, if we choose to do so. Very intriguing and highly entertaining. Recommended to anyone who feels they may need a bit of a boost in their lives.

The universe can be a nice place. I’ve used the power of positivity on many occasions with great results. I knew “the secret” before I knew the secret. I just didn’t realize it.

The film can be found on Netflix Instant at the moment. Give it a watch. You will get something out of it. At least I think so.

JHS

// Man, Or Wuss?

Certain situations in life call for us to man-up. Times when things could be avoided, and maybe should be avoided. Times that call for a choice. Often times, people choose to go the easy route and tiptoe around issues. This is the weak way out. But it works, I guess. People do it all the time. Not me. Not anymore.

I’ve been at the receiving end of a fucked-up situation before. I know how it feels to want answers to questions when no one is comfortable in providing said answers. It can be rather excruciating. But I can’t control the “manliness” or character of other people. All I know is that I prefer to take situations head-on. Life is too short to beat around the bush, or leave things open-ended or unfinished. I was faced with something like this just this afternoon. I think I made the right choice.

Part of being a good man, or a good woman, is to take responsibility for one’s own actions. This is something I am willing to do now and forever. I did examine my options. And I chose to explain myself, and to do it in a nice way. I wanted the other person to see my point of view, hoping it would lead to a clearer understanding and, ultimately, closure. My response was thoughtful, fair, and, if I might say so, well-written. I think it helped immensely. At least, I hope so.

My stress level is now low. A bit sad, but I am good. My mind feels free and I am quite proud of myself. That’s a nice thing.

JHS

// Thank You, Little Lady

Today has been a good day. As you know, I had a few secret gifts to give away recently. Two items went to my best friends; the third to a secret crush I had (I can use the past-tense here, as the secret is no longer a secret). And I’m glad.

Letting loose parts of the secret were my own doing. I kind of nudged her into reading the blog, fully knowing she would eventually come across the entry involving her. She wrote me a message this morning, telling me she enjoyed the post and that I was “great.” This was good news to me. I’m a bit of a worrier at times, and thought I had overdone it a bit. I guess not (this time). Thank goodness.

Things seem to be much easier to deal with once they’re out in the open. I try to get to the point as early as possible these days. I realize it can be intimidating, but life is short. I intend to make the most of it.

I’ll apologize as I go along.

JHS

// Fan Letter Tear Bomb

The following is a comment I received recently. I’m still not certain of the source, but what a lucky friend I have; must be a great mom. This brought tears to my eyes and I wanted everyone else to cry as well. You’re welcome. I hope she doesn’t mind the share.

The comment:

“Jason, I am the mom of one of your friends. He and his girlfriend told me about what happened to you in 2008. It is such a tragedy, but the fact that you have found a way to keep on with your writing, art, and maintaining friendships is laudible. You have a fine, droll sense of humor… which I certainly appreciate… and sarcasm? Love that too! You are obviously someone with great strength of character and personal courage. (I know, I sound just like somebody’s mother). Time and again I have been both amazed and gratified to discover the hidden reserves of will that enable some people to persevere while others crumble. I admire your determination to be… just who you are, despite physical constraints. You remind me very much of someone very dear to me; my own personal hero. Just call me Momma.”

Thank you, Momma.

JHS