What has gone on inside of my brain? There isn’t much to explain except for the fact that I try to remain positive. Not confident religiously or spiritually, but taking advantage of what my body has given me up until this point. Here is some background information for you all to read –
In 1990 I was born into this world, but I had a stroke at birth. Throughout the years I was angry because I wouldn’t be physically able to do the things that my friends were able to do. No longer though, I am proud of who I am and what I have accomplished over the years. No more hiding about what I do as a crutch, no more being scared of whom I am. Sometimes I pee myself, sometimes I poop myself, due to the complications of the cerebral palsy I am mildly incontinent. I still wet the bed, and I do wear adult diapers to contain the embarrassment. We as a society don’t blame women on their periods, yet it is shameful when someone can’t control their bladder and bowels. Sharing my experiences is vastly important to me, which is why I am doing this. Throughout school I was bullied, one day a bully of mine messaged me on Facebook and apologized for the years of mocking me. I accepted his apology and courage, as we are all just human. I was able to do marching band, track, football and other activities in school. Did my physical disability stop me from doing those things? No, but it made me into a below average athlete, which I am still proud of my 8th place to finish at our local track meet. Why, might I be proud of that? I tied with a non-disabled person! I made the football team in my town, we went 0-9 that season, I was one of the below-average players, but you know what I did? I did not quit, as I saw at least five players do during that season. I played in two of the games the whole season; it was prideful for me to even be on the field.
Yes, I have tried to take my own life at least four times in my young life. I was almost successful once, and I was told to cower in the corner and step down in my fortunate life. The reason I even attempted in late April, is I fell in love with a girl who also happens to be my wife. I saw her suffer through her battles and it got too much for me to handle. I appreciate those who made the call to help me; I still consider them to be friends and love them also death, even though the severe times have not stopped for me. I am trapped inside my brain because physically I can’t lift over 25 pounds without struggling. People don’t realize that even though I am physically unable to do most things, I still try. When I am helping someone move, the worst thing I can hear is, “Why don’t you try harder”?. Mocked in school for not being smart due to having this disorder, I was able to come it over, and now I will graduate with my Bachelor’s Degree in December of 2017! It all got too hard to cope with, and I became withdrawn from my school work and graduated in the bottom 5% of my class in the late 2000s. I don’t pride myself on that, but I do pride myself with picking myself up by my bootstraps, I refused to go on disability instead I enrolled in college at a more prominent city in my state. Instead of cowering, I learned how to study. Instead of fearing minorities, I became their friends. Instead of giving up I kept on going. My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2011, which shocked me. She did make it till 2015, but the struggle was real. I had to move home to help take care of her. I became a caregiver and worked as a nursing assistant. I wasn’t much help, but through learning skills, I was able to use my body to its potential. Taking care of my mom was a blessing and a curse. I spent years with her but watched her go from being ambulatory to being bed bound. After her passing I was not able to continue my dream as becoming a nurse; instead, I went into academia. I currently tutor math, English and work on peoples’ resumes. Never in my life did I dream of becoming a business major who will graduate in the fall with his Bachelor’s Degree. I have three Associates Degrees, and I am proud of my background in Art, Science, and Mathematics. Overcoming depression from my mother’s passing was hard, but I joined the local theater company and have been in about twelve productions to date.
For those stuck in your brain, I will be blogging about my struggles. Anyone is welcome to guest blog or join me in explaining how hard it is to live with not only cerebral palsy but a mental illness that is a blessing in disguise. Yes I can think outside the box, yes I can pass classes with much ease, and yes I can do well enough to win grants from both NASA and the National Science Foundation. The only problem is I fixate on things that I can fix and some things I can’t. I can’t force people to like me, I can’t force people to be my friends, but I can force myself to love myself. I love myself because I have struggled through life and finally see that maybe I am not crazy, psychotic nor stupid. I am mentally ill, yes I am not normal and I am proud of it. Many in the transgender community see similar problems with finding their own identity, being mentally ill is the same concept in my opinion. Can you get rid of the fact that you are transgender by praying it away or telling someone to walk it off? No, you can’t do the same thing with mental illness, cerebral palsy or even my hypothyroidism. I am who I am and I am, proud of who I am. The best decision in my life was to marry my wife, even if it is tough sometimes to be who I am, I can say that she has been the most understanding person I know. Also though she struggles with her problems, she is my knight in shining armor, my princess, and my friend. One lousy week will not change how much I love her, nor will I allow it to push me away. People need to learn more about love instead of division. People need to take care of one another, instead of dividing one another. I will live on to great things, after my graduation from my business program I plan on getting my MBA and working on making it more acceptable for disabled folks or those with differences in their bodies to strive to do their best.
– Tommi Asylum