I’ve cooled my temper down some…


The cocky kid is gone…

Me, red shirt, age 13 - 14
Me red shirt – age 14

Most days, I do not want others to listen to, or look at me.  Because though they hear me – are not listening to what I have to say.  I feel that I am an annoying sound that doesn’t go away.  I crave serious discussions at times, but they never materialize because I am not taken seriously.   I’m often cast off as someone with limited mental capacity.  However, I feel I’m more aware now than at anytime in my life because before this terrible traumatic brain injury, TBI for short, I always had to be working.  Unable to work anymore, I’ve devoted myself to learning  and the raising of my daughter, Stephanie.  

I slur a word, talk nasally, or insert the wrong word for the situation, occasionally.   I am acutely aware of the way I sound and so don’t want anybody to feel they have to listen to me for I know they only do so out of politeness and that bothers me… My dysarthria or is it my dysphasia that causes me to insert the wrong word at times?  While speaking to a psychology class at Lakewood Community College on brain injury, I meant to say cerebral, like,I’ve had cerebral problems for  years but instead the word to come out was,  celibate.  I didn’t realize what I said until later that morning at breakfast.  That’s when the other speaker that I’d arranged to talk on the same subject mentioned it, but I wish that she hadn’t.

It is because of the condescension of some that I don’t want people looking at me.  I hate being treated as an invalid because of my uncoördinated movements and unbalanced appearance at times.   Many people are being nice, in their own mind, when they  hold the door for me.  I have no problem opening a door, but my uneasiness comes from them staring at my funny, uncontrollable movements.  For the same reason, I don’t like people being behind me to view my silly walk.  My agility and balance are now only memories.

And no I do not have cerebral palsy, though; sometimes it seems that maybe I do.   Cerebral Palsy is a nerve problem and through this head injury many of my nerves disconnected and have yet to reconnect.   My daughter’s friends consider me a monster and that only makes me feel bad for,  Stephanie.  She calls me the “Worrier” and I do worry constantly and continuously.

At her Girl Scout meetings held in the basement of a church, the troop leader said that I don’t need to go down there to drop off or pick my daughter up as is customary for the other parents.  Sure that is a big relief to my legs, but at the same time makes me feel more crippled than I am.

I confess to having paranoid thoughts about how others perceive me.  I assume that the parents’ of the young girls have told them not to play with Steph because of me.  I fear my daughter is paying a price of for my aloneness.  She has reached a point in her young life where she would rather play by herself, in part I think because she feels that she is protecting me.  I want Stephanie to know that I am okay with others perception of me for it is only out of ignorance that such things are said, if anything is being said

I have attempted to fit in with somebody, anywhere but I have tried for over twenty years to connect with someone and I finally realized that it’s not in the cards.  I’ve played by society’s rules and the only place that I’ve gained from that is… last.  Since 2007, I’ve had legal problems to deal with brought on by the ex while trying to nurture and raise our child. Why did she have to make it so difficult?   I guess the reason was for bringing her to America from the Philippines.

I no longer have need for a life outside of my daughter.  I am raising Stephanie to respect others and to command respect for herself. I am teaching her compassion, a little pride but mostly how to be humble.  Like any parent, I want her to have the best education I can get her, though currently I am debating whether or not to homeschool this intelligent kid.  Steph does not want it because of the social aspect, but it sounds to me like she would have as much contact with others her age as she has now.  I let Steph talk me out of it, I just hope that wasn’t a mistake. Steph should be aware of the determination it will take to succeed in business (she is already a success in life) and how to care for herself should something happen to me.  

No need for cockiness any longer;  I speak up when the occasion calls for it.  I intend to give Steph correct advice if asked, but I do not want to cloud her mind so , many times I do not say anything.  She knows that I am here for her always and I thank God for the angel, Stephanie.

My little angel is mostly out of danger now...2012.
My little angel 

 

Steve Richie

Hi folks, Two lives in one lifetime. The first me, lived to age thirty-four. That Steve was overly confident and oozing with pride. Then, on a record heat-setting day (107º) here in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, a one car near-fatal wreck left me in a two-month long coma. I emerged much as I was before minus certain physical capabilities, but my mind seemed mostly in tact. The crash and its effects did not change me (I emerged a happy individual) but the deeds perpetrated against me in the ensuing months from my wife of sixteen years scared and humbled me as I was dragged down with nothing left by my wife who now had guardianship over all of our accounts. And neither would she allow me to see our kids. She took everything out of, "Our" names and changed them to her name only; then would not allow me to our home and divorced me. I was angry, but no more. I spent half of 1988 and more than half of 1989 in hospitals, nursing homes and a three month stint at a head-injury rehab center where I was being taught how to re-enter society as this different person, that I didn't know. I was not able to return to my previous line of work, a self-employed decorator, you know, painting and paperhanging. It was a physical job which required much dexterity, finesse, and a good grasp of numbers. I returned to the beginning, school, but on a community college level. One of the instructor's liked my writing and I began focusing my attention on that. I attended classes at, "The Loft," A Place for Writers in Minneapolis. While there, a classmate of mine was having her friend from New York, a CBS executive, to her home for the holidays and asked me if she could do a critique on a couple chapters of a book I was writing, "A Day I'll Never Remember" and I obliged. When she returned to class the following Monday she told me that the exec wanted a ten-page synopsis of the book for a possible movie; I was excited. After obliging for that also, I never saw or heard from her or the guy from CBS. Next thing I knew I was watching a movie called, "Regarding Henry" starring Harrison Ford and the scenes of therapy were exactly like what I went through and had written about. Regarding Henry - could've been my story except that, "Henry" got his head injury from a gunshot and his wife stayed with him throughout the ordeal. Coincidence I'm sure, though, the therapy scenes entailed what I described in the book so I always wondered..... My hope, my dream is to bolster our income for my daughter and for myself. I am and have been raising this beautiful, talented little girl who was diagnosed with autism at age two, since 2006 singlehandedly. I divorced her mother the same year following complaints that I spent too much time with our daughter. However, Stephanie began school with no need for special education. She has been reading since age four and understanding what she'd read. Stephanie maintains straight "A's" on her report card, has published two books (through school) and has been selected as an, "Honors" student for seventh grade English. My ex moved to New York to be closer to her sister and has been remarried now for a number of years. Well, that's only a snippet of my sixty-one years and I would like to thank you for reading, thank you.

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