Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Wild Ones

Some may question “the Wild Ones?”

As a group we never actually hung out…. Not really. Each of them may have crossed paths and interacted on the occasion for brief moments, but mostly their lives and friendships with me remained separate from one another. In my mind though, this awesome lot of super dudes and I walked, and still walk, among each other quite often. The prerequisite for these guys to be classified by me as awesome consisted of “Hey Mark, let’s hang out.”

I mentioned all of these dudes in my Memoir, “Challenging Barriers and Walking the Path”, as they were all significant to my life in one way or another, helping to fill this confused and shaky life with some cherished memories and what I think of as great adventures and fun times.  Peter, the Finn, Surfer Dude, and Kevin.

Where are they now? The Finn is still in my life, I occasionally correspond with Surfer Dude, Peter has moved onto his own big moments, and Kevin I remain connected to through memories and family. But I often feel that we are all still together and always will be.

They have all meant more than can actually be put into words because they have helped this lost boy grow and accept. I am comfortable with my life for many reasons, but these boys, they gave, and continue to give, (even in absence) a calm comfort.

Music, theatre, dreams, fun, laughter, rebellion, mischief.  

Sitting on the surface of a half built foundation to a home while crackin’ jokes; lounging by a campfire in the rain or stacking on more and more wood to raise up the flames; singing along with eighties tunes belting out from the car radio at one AM in the morning; baking in a sauna and then running out into the dark and jumping into the cold water; surfing Styrofoam boards on three inch waves; taking a long journey into never land to recover a theatre set with little knowledge of our return and therefore throwing caution to the wind. The list of memories is long and in my heart they all run deep.

This foursome brought into my life times that presented me with laughter, clarity, meaning, excitement, tears of happiness and acceptance. They helped me rise from mistakes, overcome challenges, and feel comfort through sadness. Regardless of where we’ve gotten to now in present time, the impact is still strong. For me, these are the "Wild Ones".

Sunday, April 10, 2016


I have an assortment of buttons in my room, different sizes and shapes and colours. No one button reminds me of a particular person, per se, but looking at them does take me back to a time of a little discomfort and embarrassment. Though it is one that I also do not wish to forget.

I remember the brown shades of the gymnasium floor during a high school dance, the lines that ran from one side to another. I had been staring at it probably for most of the night which would be why I remember it so vividly, though I’m sure most gym floors pretty much bare a resemblance to one another. My heart palpitated as I worked up the courage to ask her to dance, and even though her explanation was more than one word, all I heard was “NO”. After she spoke my gaze fell back to my feet and the surrounding floorboards as I returned to hugging the wall from where I came. My eyes remained looking downward as I did not want to see the laughing faces that I knew, or thought of in my mind, were watching.

The rest of that night was a blur as the morning, and my return to the same school but in a different location, came to quick. The torturous teasing I endured from some of the boys in that hallway of being shot down the night before brought me to tears.


It is many years and moons later now that I realize those tears were a defining moment, a challenge and a building of an inner strength. Those small boys I recall in my mind I imagine are still in that hallway laughing at other people’s expense and making crude fart noises with their lips. I grew up and I learned. My tears became my memories and memory of that moment in time became my first button.

The girl from the high school dance, a beautiful angel from my mid-teenage years, is now most likely married and living a good life. Since that time in history I have crossed paths and acquired new buttons, but none will ever be the same as the first. Perhaps I will eventually encounter another button, and that button may become THE button. Maybe that time has come and gone. Who really knows? But I keep walking a path with my head held high, cherishing the experiences I’ve gained along the way.

Since understanding and coming to terms with the brain injury I now live with, I have learned to feel, carry and appreciate every moment and every button, even if she turned me down and brought on sorrows. Because maybe the sorrows were meant to happen; they made me realize I can be stronger, even with tears. I can grow. The emotional rain I had felt, then and over the years since, has helped in laying the foundation of who I am.

Though I do not physically carry buttons with me, they are there in my mind; and she is still there. Whether I ever come across another button like the one I offered up courage to on that old gymnasium floor, I don’t know. But those small boys, my streaming tears and everything since that moment, has taught me, all of it matters only as much as you want it to. It is your choice and if you want it to mean anything or nothing at all.

Some things I let fizzle away; certain Buttons though, I hold dear.