Saturday, May 31, 2014

25 Years ago today I Died

25 years ago today I and one of the members of the US National Ice Skating Team embarked upon a 100 mile ride around Marion County. It was at about this moment that day when I passed through the intersection of Indian Lake Road at Sunnyside on the far Northeast side of Indianapolis. More accurately I rode into the intersection when I was promptly struck by a truck traveling at about 40 miles per hour. The grill to the truck was collapsed, the hood crinkled, the windshield knocked in and the top of the cab crushed. All effects of my body hugging the vehicle and coming to a halt on the camper shell on the back.

The effects on my body were equally crushing. A shattered left tibula, broken fibula, a back filled with shards of glass[plus some in my ear canal], lacerations across my scalp, a deep gash across my buttocks, and bruising throughout. I was confined to an intensive care hospital bed for 10 days before surgery could be performed on my leg. It would be another week before I was released from the hospital.

I have little recollection of those 17 days or the time prior to the impact. I can recall my best friend being there at midnight when I awoke. She had remained by my side throughout the evening waiting to tell me goodbye. She had a flight booked earlier that day to her new home but she stayed behind to see if I would live. I am told that the doctors said that if I had not been an elite athlete that the impact would have killed me. If I lived through the night then I was expected to survive. But alas, I did live through the night and still survive to this day. Thus, I was alive but the critical question is – Did I live?

The person who left the hospital that mid-June was not the same person who entered the hospital 2 ½ weeks earlier. For a dozen years it had been my sole aim in life to become a professional cyclist and participate in the major world tours. The continuation of the journey to that ultimate goal was snapped away in an instant. Over the next few months as I hobbled around on crutches and endured never ending pain I began to idealize suicide. Wearing a sock on that leg felt like the flesh was been burned. If I kept my leg bent I felt pain. If I stood I felt pain. If I laid down I felt pain. The pain gradually subsided until about five years ago when it had virtually been eliminated.

While still on crutches my town-home was raided by a street gang commonly known as the Indianapolis Police Department. I had my crutches yanked from me, was knocked to the floor, threatened with guns pointed at my face, and had my home torn apart for three hours by cops “doing a sweep to secure the residence” or as I call it retaliation for holding a protest at the city-county building over the attempted murder of Fred Sanders by this gang. Ultimately, two cops would testify to finding an item of contraband in three locations, simultaneously. So my sell-out attorney tells me that I am facing 20 years in prison, the amount of time I had been alive. Thus, I took the plea. In reality I was facing a maximum of 31 months but sometimes attorneys lie.

As the end of my parole term approached in December 1993 I married the sister of a high school friend of mine. I knew that being married and raising children would give me new purpose in life; something for which to live; something to keep me out of trouble. Just three years later the world was bestowed with the gift of my son. After three more years his mother left us to fend for ourselves which we did admirably. Fortunately she came to embrace her parental responsibilities before he was too old to experience significant feelings of abandonment. Although I nearly solely nurtured and provided for our son during that two year period, being that I was male Justice Steve David decided that I would be reduced to a visitor in the life of my son with no legal say in his upbringing. Instead my resolve to be actively involved in my son's daily life was still fulfilled by me.

As a consequence of the divorce I was left without a home, my businesses liquidated, no assets, and saddled with various debts. Having not been an employee, having my businesses gone, and being a convicted felon presented some challenges to earning. But I reverted back to what I had done in the past – mow lawns, paint houses, and do various day labour jobs. At the same time I would study matters of child custody.

It was the study of and dedication to changing the way child custody decisions are made that has led me to where I am today. Of course it was more than that also. It was the traits which are not taught in school, that children are not encouraged to develop, that society does not condone. It was in a sense that I am God. That I can and will do anything that I want.

Though in a sense I died 25 years ago today, I was sent to prison, I was bankrupted by a divorce, and my son was taken from me but I was resurrected and am now someone who has achieved great success. This was not through blind luck but rather through a determination for self-determination while understanding the positive manner in which the brain functions.

The subconscious brain does not process negative actions. Take for instance the trees and utility poles along highways that are mangled from being struck by motor vehicles although wide swaths of open ground exist between them with no tire tracks. This is because the drivers usually look and the obstruction while thinking “I don't want to hit that tree/pole”. But the subconscious produces positive actions – “hit that tree/pole” – because that is what it heard in the moment of panic. It takes the conscious mind to implant the negative actions. Most often though these are negative thoughts about “can't do” actions. To achieve success re-frame your thoughts as I have done. Think always of what you want to achieve, choose the positive option. Seek equanimity. If your car veers off the roadway think “I want to go into that open space” rather than “I don't want to hit that tree” and you are more likely to get what you want. Success can and will be yours if you know how to grab it. If you are feeling overwhelmed by life's “negative” results then maybe it is time for the old you to die and give rise to a new, more positive you.

EDIT: It has been suggested that I point out that if you have read this and haven't come to the conclusion that your current state of upheaval is not an abyss from which you cannot surface then re-read it.

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©2008, 2014 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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