// Alone In The Dark

One of my best friends caught me with tears running down my face last night. I think it’s the first time he has ever seen me do that.

Dave, a friend and former bandmate, was with me the night I was shot. We were standing next to one another when the young gunman pulled the trigger. The bullet entered the left side of my neck, exited the right side, entered the front of Dave’s throat, bounced around, finally ending up in Dave’s right upper shoulder/neck region. Needless to say, we are very close and share a bond that not too many people are able to have. He knows me pretty well. He knew I had been crying. He also showed up a little early. Usually I keep this from friends, as I don’t want to cause worry. It is my cross to bear.

Sometimes the pain is excruciating. Right now it is made worse by a large stone floating around in my bladder. Unexpected muscle spasms cut my air supply, but only for a split second. This hurts. It’s hard to explain to someone who has never experienced it. This pain, coupled with my neurogenic nerve pain is enough to drive me insane. I don’t let it. I would never do that. I have conditioned myself to be pretty tough. I think I could handle just about anything at this point. There is no sadness regarding my paralysis, at least not that I can consciously acknowledge. I am at peace with my situation. But the pain…

Having alone time and a bit of privacy is pretty important to me. It’s in these times that I can sit and meditate on life, love, or the lack of it. It’s in these times that I can harness the pain, but every now and then pain gets the better of me and I do cry.

Alone in the dark, I cry.

JHS

// Pain: My Nemesis

If there is one thing that I dread every single day, it is waking up. That’s when the pain comes. Lots of it. While sleeping I seem to do okay, but as soon as my eyes open it is all over.

Most mornings I am awakened by a very soft and sweet voice. It is the voice of my caregiver, Sheila. She’s been with me over a year and, at this point, loves me. And I her. She is tall, has caramel colored skin, and a personality to die for. She embraces my sweet but sarcastic ways. She walks in and says “good morning” in a very bubbly voice. She, on the other hand, is greeted by moans and grunts on my end. The pain is unbearable. I would not wish it upon my worst enemy. And it never ends. Granted, I can take pain pills. They do help, but the pain is excruciating and the pills only mask what is really going on.

As an example, it feels like someone is hacking away at the meat and bone of my shoulders with a dull cleaver; or like a serrated bread knife sawing through tissue and nerves. This is my norm. It hurts. And it sucks. I can say though, that it lets me know I am still alive. And for that I guess I am grateful.

This is something that I’ve been meaning to talk about for a while. Most people don’t realize exactly what I go through each and every day. It would be nice if I could transfer it onto people for a five-minute span, just so there would be a little more understanding there. I’m not sure many people could make it the full five minutes, much less for the rest of their lives. It definitely makes me a stronger person. So, if you see me out and I have a smile on my face, it is because I try to make the best of it. Every day. What else can I do?

Enjoy what you have. Always. It could be worse; this I know for fact. Keep well and let people know that you love them. Thanks for reading.

JHS

// The Jig Is Up, Kind Of

Loyal readers, you will be happy to know that I succeeded in keeping a secret. My two best friends, my brothers from different mothers, now have the gifts in their hands. Mighty cool gifts, I might add. Knives. Not your typical knives, though. These are unique, folding Higo knives from Japan.

The originals are still around, and can be found through a few large outlets on the Internet. These are inscribed with Japanese characters and have loads of appeal aesthetically. An American company, Best Made, struck a deal to release a limited number of the knives on this side of the world. The new version has a hand-hammered, raw steel “samurai” blade, the Best Made logo engraved on one side of the handle; the other side emblazoned simply, “courage.” This is what led me to buy them for my “brothers.” They are both courageous to me. I love them dearly. Fortunately, they loved the knives and promised to keep them forever. I bought one for myself as well (to cool not to). Beautiful.

There’s still one more secret, but it involves a female friend. She really inspired me to write, and this blog wouldn’t exist if she hadn’t. I also have a bit of a crush on her. Like gigantic. But that’s a story for another day.

JHS

// Sex And Paralysis

Sex is something most everyone enjoys, and I’m no exception. In fact, after thinking about it, I fear I might be a bit of a sex addict. There are worse things to be; at least I don’t collect human body parts or smoke crack. But is it healthy? Thinking about sex 24/7? I don’t know the answer. I’ve always been like this, but it seems these feelings intensified after being shot.

Certainly there are questions regarding my injury in conjunction with sex. I would want to know. It’s something very personal, but I am an open book, so I feel most comfortable writing about it.

The first question is usually, “does it work?” It being my penis. It sure does (with the help of a pill). It’s not the same as it used to be, but impressive enough. Once ready it’s good to go for quite a while. This is a good thing (for both parties).

The second question is, “can you feel it?” The answer is no. Well, a bit. It’s definitely not the way it once was. My brain tends to fill in the gaps. And a visual usually helps. As long as my partner is happy, I’m happy. I can still use other things just fine and can feel that. Thank goodness.

Thirdly, “can you ejaculate?” Nope. No muss, no fuss. This is a double-edged sword. On one hand, my partner can go to town (with repeat trips, if needed). On the other hand, I never get a release. Ugh. This ensures I’m horny. All. The. Time.

This is where the sex addiction comes in. More on that in another installment. Until then, I’ll be looking at naked girls on Tumblr and not masturbating.

JHS

// A Death In The Family

Tido was one of a kind. Black as pitch. Wide yellow eyes. He was 13, yet behaved like an energetic kitten most of the time. My roommate, John, was Tido’s mother. In Tido’s mind this was quite literal. He’d spurn affection from anyone else, but as soon as “mother” walked in it was all over. It was lap cat from then on, and John would have to tear him away in order to move.

I lived with Tido for almost two years. He’d slyly visit me every now and then, on his terms, of course. We’d converse in his preferred cat/bird/wookie language for a bit, then he’d saunter out of the room, still chirping to himself. Adorable.

I know John has a lot of memories of Tido. They’ll linger forever, as with anything special. I learned to love that goofy fucking cat. A lot. I’ll miss his jingles around the house. Goodbye, baby-ding.

JHS

// End Of An Era: Divorce, Part II

The shooting was one thing, but the paralysis was something new and completely different to us. In the beginning, Lyra wanted to do everything. She cared for me so much that she didn’t want anyone else to do the things required to keep me functioning on a day-to-day basis. Eventually this created problems.

We basically began to fall apart. We took out our anger on each other quite a bit. We called each other names. When you get to that point, it is very hard to return to something normal. She stood by me for two years. She did everything in her power. We even went to counseling. It did not help. In the end, she needed to be out and I knew this. I wouldn’t want anyone to have to go through what she did. It was a life-changing situation. One in a million. And I have no ill will toward her at all. In fact, I wanted her to go. I wanted her to be free. From everything. It was a hard decision on both our parts. The love was still there. This was the hardest thing to wrap our brains around. We divorced.

It hit me very hard. I felt lonely and a bit abandoned, even though I had a huge part in her departure. There were times when I felt like I couldn’t go on. But I did. And for the better. We are still really good friends. We talk a lot. The love is still there. I don’t think it will ever go anywhere. We have a special bond. One which I cherish, and will forever. Her name was Lyra and I adored her. Still do.

JHS

// End Of An Era: Divorce, Part I

Some great things eventually do come to an end, whether you like it or not. It happens every day the world spins. People die. Innocence is lost. Marriages end. The latter won in my case. I was married to one of the most beautiful girls on earth for nearly 16 years. Her name was Lyra and I adored her.

I first saw her in a photograph. She looked so open and friendly; her smile was broad across her face and she had lips to die for. I was enamored. From that night on I gathered info on her: she was 16 (yeah, yeah… I was 20, so shut up), attended high school, had the same art teacher I had (a fact that would prove beneficial), etc. We met briefly at a mutual friend’s house a few days later. My interest had grown. I attended college 6 hours away, so I left my hometown bound for Savannah. Once back, I knew I had to see her again, so I went to work on a love letter of sorts. I sent it care of that art teacher I mentioned. It worked.

We had a long distance relationship for about 18 months. Wrote hundreds of letters. Paid the phone company way to much money. Finally, I asked her to marry me via scavenger hunt (I was holding her ring at the end). We were happy and married in the summer.

For the next 14 years we made a life together. We grew up together. We were best friends. She meant the world to me and vice versa. We planned to start a family in early 2009. Unfortunately, it would never be. The shooting caught us off-guard, to say the least. Our lives changed in seconds. The dynamic changed. We shattered and were left to pick up millions of pieces. Lyra was there for me from day one. Her devotion to me was stagering. Her face lit my darkness each day. In fact, she was the reason I survived. I was angry at the start. I thought my life was over. Fucked. She helped me to rid myself of the anger. She helped me immensely. This, though, would prove to be the beginning of the end.

To be continued in Part II.

JHS

// The Day My Music Died

I’ve played music and have been in bands since I was 15 years old. I have been lucky to have been in bands with some very talented people in Savannah. Immediately following the incident of the shooting, I did not want anything to do with music. I didn’t want to hear it or even really talk about it. It was mainly fear of hearing something that would take me back to a certain time and place when I was able to walk. That was something that I was not prepared to deal with.

It took about a month for me to want to listen to music again. The first thing I listened to was Baroness’ Red Album. From the first note I started crying. The tears were not from sadness. The record had just come out and I was really proud of them and what they had accomplished. It just made me very emotional. There really isn’t sadness associated with not being able to play on stage anymore. I simply enjoy the fact that others can. And I will support that as long as I can. My life would be relatively empty without the sound of music.

JHS

// The Chance Of Ultimate Possibility

Love. It’s something everyone wants. It is elusive, intangible, ethereal and, to be sure, magical. Especially with the right person. I’m lucky to be loved by many, but I am looking for that special lady. The one. Someone I can trust and spoil with attention. I had it once, for almost seventeen years. It was amazing. It ended, but the love and respect remains. This is a fact I cherish. And it’s forever. This I know. It’s comforting and humbling.

The fact is there is someone out there for me. I’m content in knowing that. Until then, I’ll just continue to flirt with girls. I’m pretty confident these days, so something should happen. The chance of ultimate possibility. I like that. A lot.

JHS