Falling asleep is easier then waking up; for some, waking up is a necessity. Like me. During my almost 35 years of life on this earth, have come to learn that the world is full of pacifists, of dreamers, and those who wait for someone to lead. A human being has the capacity to consciously wake up. Waking up was something I had to do, otherwise, I would die, both metaphorically and physically.
I sit down now, 15 years later, to write a letter to you. Somehow I feel telling my story might benefit you and others. I have thought a lot about a legacy, some idea, some power I leave behind to those I spring forth from my loins, and even to those I know, or maybe those who read this, might gain access to. I have asked of myself over the past few years, how would I want to be remembered? They say that hindsight is 20/20, or maybe 50/50 or 70/30. We cannot know everything that happened back then. We can’t change the past, but we can change our minds to what we want, and even who we want to be, in the present and the future.
I remember falling asleep on the table. The next: waking up with the very thing that would change my life. It’s kind of funny they call it an operating table. It’s not a bed. A bed is a place where we go to rest, or make love, or watch television, maybe a place to go to pout that we didn’t get what we wanted, or even to talk to friends. But the operating table is where we go to lie down, to put our life into the hands of someone we pay, that we trust to fix, or change, or to look into our bodies that they open. It’s an exposure you can’t get any place else. Mine was on my throat.
What I remember is being afraid of falling asleep. But somehow it over took me. It’s funny how that happens, doesn’t it? Survival kicks in, and we have to do what our natural inclination wants. It was recorded in 1999 that I stopped breathing over 1,000 times a night, and each apnea (meaning, “without breath”) episode was between 35-40 seconds each. I was born with it. The body growing within the womb is an amazing feat. There’s nothing like it, in the human or animal kingdom. The mother fights, the child is born. My mother had to have an emergency C-section. Although my mother has passed away, she never stopped believing the best for me.
My parents did not know what was wrong with me, nor the doctors. So for 18 years, I didn’t know I had tissue in my throat, causing my throat to collapse and my breathing to stop. The power of suction, huh? The person’s whole body relaxes, and voila! The inevitable happens. The inevitable always happens. If someone throws a rock at a person, it is bound to hit them, unless they see it coming or told about it. Unfortunately, removing this “rock”, would be possible, but the effects of it, unforgiving. There was another procedure called the UP3. I would have to undergo more surgery to get scarring tissue out as well as still use the BiPAP (Bi-level Positive Air Pressure) machine. I still look back and wonder about the path that would have been, could I go where I have gone? Could I get the jobs I didn’t get? Meet the people I have met? But either way, I have learned to accept what was. But I can still change the things I can, and be at peace where I am. It is difficult to do, but when you put your mind to what you need to change, regardless of the circumstances, it can be achieved. I know my faith in God and the love of him and my family has been that arm which carried me. A human being is a biological organism that amazingly, is set to learn and grow. We are only limited by what we think and believe. Influences abound about us, and what we chose to have inside of us conform us what it wants to.
I was quiet growing up, more of an observer then a participant. But somehow people still wanted to be involved with me, I couldn’t understand why. My vision was slanted by what, I didn’t know. I was your normal child growing up, I did have a few friends, but something inside of me haunted me, confounded me, for what, it baffled me. Alone in my head, I had the habit of pushing people away. In 1997, I tried to run away, but something pushed me back home. I felt like I did the right thing. But something still haunted me that night, so I got up and tried to put a knife to my wrists. I didn’t succeed, thank God. But a door opened in my life which I knew I had two ways to enter it: to death, or to life. I knew if I didn’t get help, it was going to get worse. I did get some therapy. But that only helped some. Then in 1999, I finally found out about my Sleep Apnea.
Everyone has something that can haunt them. It can come from unforgiveness, maybe even a terrifying experience from childhood. No matter what, it’s there. Question is, what do we do with it? Do we hide it? Explore it? But let me give a warning here: whatever it is that is causing harm, however deep it is, can be the ruler that can regulate a life and direct it to some very harmful things. It can be scary trying to take it down, it will fight, it will try to harm, but I will say this, the more it is understood, and dealt with, the less power it has. Being ignorant of some aspect of ourselves gives us lack of power. And then a powerful realization is revealed: unknown to you, the power came from your own unknowing, from your own unwillingness. Creator God has given you a Will far more powerful than anything else in this world. And the events in your life, and the people who’ve tried to destroy you open doors and wounds in your heart and mind, or your soul, can control you. If you so desire, this can stop. But it takes strength and a realization of Love and partnership with the Creator God, who can direct you and help you to destroy this power. I speak this from experience. I’ll get to this later.
I had my acquaintances and friends. I had a few best friends, like anybody else. My problem was accepting the reality of the situation. People come and go out of each other’s lives, on their way to some place or someone, or coming out of a relationship. What mattered is how I showed my friendship, my vulnerability to others. Then maybe that person I was trying to be friends with can become closer than a friend, they become a brother or a sister. I had a hard time finding someone to relate too. I had my periodic friends and I’ve had a few close friends. But I remember one close friend, he died in 2011. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend his funeral. He was a very caring person and wanted to be close to everyone he knew. He listened to others and left a very lasting impression on those he met, even after a year into his departure. This is his legacy: his openness, his friendships, his loves. He figured out that, the wounds he suffered in life, he could turn for good, and be himself and others actually liked him. Although he had his fears, he continued on to love other people and listen to them, and trying to help them. This became his strength, his own bequest to others, and they in turn, would do the same.