Hello, New Year

Hi, 2021.

I have little faith in you. 2020 was promised to be a fantastic year, and look how that turned out! I know that it is unfair to blame a man-constructed unit of time for all the failings that we experienced, but 2020 was kind of amazing. To do a rundown of all the not-goodness would take way too long, so I will just leave the note as “last year sucked” and move on from there.

Really, what we saw was mankind falling suddenly and harshly. Minus the earth quakes, everything can be easily traced back to something we did as a species. Even if it wasn’t species related directly, we saw large portions of our population for who they really are. It turns out that a large portion of us are racist, and even more are blind of fascism and hate.

There were some amazing things that came from the year, and they are easy to forget. We saw unprecedented speeds in developing a vaccine for the worst pandemic that we have seen since the Spanish Flu, though I am not saying their impact was one-for-one. We have done some amazing research into the things in our immediate biom, and continue to make massive leaps in space travel.

We have lost some amazing talent in the acting sphere. Some due to pandemic-related stuff, some not. We have seen a host of ironic deaths where the people were convinced (publicly, anyway) that they were invulnerable to the plague, then succumbed to its apathetic hands.

It is hard to do a retrospective on the year without spending a majority of time on COVID: it truly had defined the year. If it was a person, it would be very proud with the impact that it has garnered. It ALMOST over shadows the immensely important and (unfortunately, still) necessary message of black lives matter (BLM) that shook society to its core this year. We (whites) didn’t know that it needed to happen, but a large majority of us are so happy that it. brought so much to the forefront.

So, what should we expect from 2021? Are we going to be barraged by the same stuff, or will the next year actually be better?

I am taking a lesson from this year: next year will just be another in a long line of years. Do I think society will collapse, that we will finally see racial and sexual freedom on a grand scale, or environmental reform? I wish I could say we will. I do think some things will get better. I think we will start to see the impacts of the change that needed to happen. I think that the arts are fucked for the next few years, and I think the environment has passed the point-of-no-return.

Overall, I feel pretty uneasy. I would love to be proven wrong.

Please, let me be wrong.

My Question

As my previous post announced, the 12th was my birthday! That makes me 32, according to when I was actually born in ’88. That part I am not disputing, as it would be very silly if I did!

My question lies with the fact that they pulled life support back in 2013 on my birthday (mildly poetic) and I was supposed to die that day. I think of that often, and now get reminded every year because my oldest friend’s fiance gave birth on that day to twins.

They are both quite lovely, by the way.

My question is simple: am I 32 or 7?

My good friend Chrissy reminded me that it would not be fair if I became younger than her. I really do have to question why anyone would actually want to be younger than they are? I take great pride in the fact that I am the age I am. My wife is two years older than me, and the changes in pop culture that we experienced are amazing.

I am now going to tangent, as I often do. Is it not strange and awesome that humans are the only species that I know of (leave examples of me being wrong in comments) that keep track of age? We have birthdays, anniversaries, laws and regulations around what you can or cannot do, and competition to see who is the oldest in some circles.

Maybe I’m just thinking too much about it. Maybe I’m onto something interesting. Maybe you just caught me writing another blog to delay writing my next book because I am actually intimidated to screw something up so to avoid doing that, I am just waffling until it mysteriously finishes itself.

Metric of age

I have an actual delema that I have faced for the last little while, but I have not voiced it (to my memory). This year, on the twelfth, I turn 32. The last time I flatlined was seven years ago on the twelfth. So, my issue is simple: am I 32? Or should I go by the more morbid timestamp of 7?

I mean, I say morbid, but that implies that I have reservations about that fact. I died. I’m okay. I would say that it’s common, that everyone goes through that. I am not sure that is the case, however. Neither of my parents or my brother have. In fact, I only know of a handful that have the ability to say that they have ever flatlined in their life.

Let’s go over the horribly happy list of me not dying! (keep in mind, this is just what I have been told.)
– I was born not breathing and didn’t for a full minute after being born.
– I apparently died on my way from Brantford to Toronto.
– I died on my birthday when I was in hospital.

Now: should I be more disturbed at this list than I am? No, I don’t think so. I would make a sash and have them as badges if I could. Scream at me for being fucked if you want, but I take a great deal of satisfaction that I have the tenacity to survive all of this. I just feel bad for every person reading this right now: you have to deal with me for a long time.

Now, do I want to push my luck? Do I have a great deal of disrespect for mortality now? Do I view myself as immortal?

No. If anything, I am a bit more paranoid of certain events now.

I wonder if I have literally pushed my body through what I have left. Maybe, next time I won’t wake back up. Or, I’ll reach my final form of a potato? I have no idea.

My external hard drive dropped off my desk today. It died, and all my music was on there. So, that’s approximately one terabyte of audio gone. I am not happy about it, obviously.

It’s not news that I usually hate not having physical forms, but what I don’t advertise is that I have a love for my library of digital audio. There is something nice about having all of the music I enjoy at my fingertips.

As far as I can tell, the files are still there. I just need to bring the device somewhere to have them extracted. So, I guess it’s not all horrible. It’s just inconvenient.

BITCH BITCH WHINE WHINE.

How are you?

The Inevitable End

One day, maybe, I will write something happy. Or, at least recognized as happy by the general populace. I get quite a bit of comfort from topics like this. Knowing that I will die, just like everyone I know, gives me some comfort in knowing that I will do something seen as normal in my life.

What do I mean by ‘everyone dies’? Well, just that! I do not mean that in a defeatist or dower way: there is absolutely no point in giving up all because there is an end. That’s like watching a TV show all the way but not sitting through the last episode because then it ends. There is a difference between acknowledging an end and giving up to an end.

By giving up to an end, you are ending your life before you see the ending. It pains me to think of how many amazing things could have been accomplished if, let’s say Bob, just accepted that he would die and did that amazing thing. Bob, in this example, is a defeatist. He sees an end and, instead of doing something with the time he has left, lies down and gives up. He just remains a husk until his end. He will probably spend his last moments thinking about how he should have done so much more.

That is in contrast to, let’s call her, “Cindy”. She knows that she will die one day, and tries to make sure that the world is exactly the way she wants it. She creates art she wants to see. She does her part to fight injustice. She spends her last moments thinking about how she could have done more, but ultimately did as much as she could.

To abuse the old meme: Cindy is smart. Be like Cindy.

Death is an end. I’m not going to pretend that it’s not, and I’m not going to create a bunch of false platitudes. Regardless of whether you believe in Heaven, Hell, or reincarnation: you (the “you” that you are) does not exist anymore. There is nothing daunting or depressing about that fact. Everything ends, and death is the event that we all face. It gives meaning to us, as a species.

Neil Gaiman in his graphic novel The Sandman did a fantastic narrative arc where a man lived forever. He was visited over a period of 1000 years, and went through different stages of grief. Initially, he felt invincible. Then, he spoke of the horrors of having to bury everyone he loved. In the end, it showed how shallow and meaningless his life had become while he delved into a life of superficial attachment and arrogance. I read that story about a decade ago and it has become a crucial part of my outlook since that day.

I guess I should make an ultimate point after offloading a series of truths which may, or may not, disturb you. I really can only point out how now is all that matters, in the end. Yes, the world will continue. Lives will be lived and lost after you die. Social change like #BLM and the political stife hitting the USA right now are going to be around forever. I am being optimistic when I say that fewer than 10% of you reading this will actually change something, and not 1% will change everything. That does NOT mean you shouldn’t try. Total change starts with the masses. Don’t be afraid to be a face in the crowd. As a performer, I can attest that masses are important. Without an audience, there can be no change.

If you cannot be a creator of change, be the audience that wants it.

Are We Friends…?

The title of the piece is the eternal question for someone who spends all of their time online. I am constantly fighting with myself, trying to decide whether or not someone is a friend or just an entity online. It raises the question: can someone who you never meet or talk to on a regular basis be a friend? I would argue yes.

Most likely the person is in your feed because you appreciate their input or you enjoy what they produce. Where it gets dicey is having too many people in your feeds that just agree with everything you post, causing your opinion to never be pushed or strained. This causes an almost utopian existence.

Tell me my opinion is shit. Well, only if you can back up why with evidence or statistics. I will always hear out alternate opinions that are not just trolling for trolling sake. The idea of never having my opinion tested is actually a fear of mine. I make sure to read something that goes in the face of what I believe pretty close to daily. Worst case: I learn how right I am to have that view.

Do I always do this? Is my mind truly open and accepting of every view, even if it contradicts my own views?
Hell no. I do try incredibly hard to keep my mind open, but some topics I have a very hard time challenging my opinion. That only doubles if I think an alternate way of thinking is detrimental to the human race.

Religion is one place that I am steadfast even if it is easy to disprove my opinion on a matter. I believe that the end is the end, and there is no further existence outside of what we have right now. I will fully admit, a big part of that is a fear that my actions will have further repercussions down the line that I never intended. I need to think that when I die, I no longer have any attachment to this mortal coil because I cannot fathom hurting those in my life. Even if I die a natural death and there is no immediacy in my passing, I do not want to dwell on the people who might be negatively affected by my passing. Not that I put much emphasis on my importance in others lives, but I worry about how my parents would deal if I went before them. I worry how my wife will cope, if anyone will help her out, and what happens to my dogs.

Thankfully, in my mind, we die and nothing that happens after matters. The book I have been writing for months? Lost in the files of this computer I am currently sitting at. If I worried about every facet of my life, I would be a wreck. I actually take comfort the most of my friends live far away from me: if I die, they might never know.

I digress.

What is a friend? Someone who you are happy to know that they are still alive. Someone who’s words matter in your day to day. Someone who you can honestly say you love.

“alive and kicking it in hamilton”

Today marks the 6 year anniversary of me posting my survival to the world. I spent about an hour trying to compose exactly how I wanted this to be presented. Though the end result seems silly and juvenile, it was calculated.

It was both disarming and abrasive. I wanted people to see that I was here, but I wanted it to be as underwhelming as it could be. Simply for the fact that I didn’t see it as a big deal. I could never know the waves that it would have created.

271 likes and 95 comments. That doesn’t even include the reactions from the 7 shares that I received. That was all from my personal FaceBook, as well. I, for lack of a better definition, was a nobody. I had friends and family, sure. That doesn’t change the surprise I felt from the outpouring of notices that I received. It would still be another year before I wrote and released my blog explaining, somewhat, what happened. This would still be four years from the release of my book going further into detail about a more in depth explanation of all the events.

Do I regret not having everything in place for the inevitable reintroduction to the world? Of course. That’s why I am classifying my book as a “mostly fiction” from now on, and have been since I was told how my timeline was warped by my parents.

To be fair: they did give me a detailed outline. They had taken extensive note for the first five months of me being in hospital. They claim they were doing it for me, but I knew it was a kind of coping mechanism at the time. If it had really been for me, it would have continued until further in my recovery. More description would have been put into names, staff, places and specialists. Regardless, they did finally give it to me to read after the book had been out for two years, and I may have had flash-backs while my eyes crept between marks of graphite and ink.

Personal side-note: I wish I just put “kicking in hamilton” as opposed to “kicking IT in hamilton”. HINDSIGHT!

Let’s get awkward…

There is something that I haven’t voiced on this blog. Or, at least not in a long time. My friend’s significant other gave birth to a beautiful set of twins on my birthday. What year? The same birthday that they pulled the life support from me and I was expected to die (2013). Needless to say, I never forget how old they are.

I don’t really have much of a blog post to put here, except that I was thinking about it earlier and I felt that I had to share it. Fuck knows my wife is probably sick of me telling her over and over again, so now YOU poor people get to deal with this bit of information.

I just think it a bit of fun trivia. It doesn’t explain reincarnation or the like because I didn’t die. You would think that there would be horrible memories tied to their existence, but quite the opposite. I am happy to share a birthday with them, and extremely proud to have them in my circle. I think my friend is a fantastic father. I’d be remised for not adding that I never pictured him as a father, but that’s a story for another day.

So, that’s your bit of shinfo for the day.

OH! Air cushions are still the worst. I’m sitting here in INCREDIBLE pain and discomfort. I have used so many patches and so much duct tape fixing small holes that keep appearing, but somehow I always miss one or five.

I cannot comment on all air cushions, but this one is split into four quadrants. It makes it easy to estimate where holes are, because just that area is affected. HOWEVER! If it isn’t totally visible, life is lived constantly trying to keep up with inflating and shifting air around the structure. Thank fuck I’m patient and not one to complain offline.

Two more pieces of information shat don’t matter! I hit 150 followers the other day! I’m sure that most of them are advertising and hopes for a follow-for-follow, but I still did it!

And, finally, a reminder that I have a book available! You can buy it here, it is on Amazon, but I’m not going to make that post easy because they are weird about listing that shit. Also, it’s a huge re-write of You’re Not Dead, plus all the anewsinPublishing stuff I had written up to the point of publication! New, sexy, black cover on physical versions. Significantly longer, but not too long to be daunting. GRAH I love it so. I’m just really bad at advertising, so if you wouldn’t mind telling anyone who would be interested about it, that would be nifty!

Wheelchairs are Not a Death Sentence

I was talking to someone a while ago online so they could not see me. It was an old friend who I had not talked to in a number of years. We were talking about how last they heard anything about me, I was about to die. They explained that they were distressed by the news, and they wished they had been able to make it out to show their support to my family when the worst came to pass. They had not kept up with anyone, or looked on social media to see how I was doing. They then notified me that they were going to be in town and asked if they could come by to see me.

Not maliciously, I agreed and they made plans to come by. I was very excited: this was a friend I had not seen since high school. We were never that close, but the exchanges we had were pleasant when they happened. We had gone for coffee about a decade ago, run into each other at concerts, and we worked in close proximity. We never had many mutual friends, and our circles of connections were never close.

When they came to the door, I opened it. Imidiately, they broke down into tears and started murmering “I’m so sorry” between sobs.

I cannot say I was offended. I really did not pay much head until they gestured towards the wheelchair.

“I can’t believe this. You used to stand so proud.”

I was more taken back than offended. The implication that I was not at all the person I was before the wheelchair hurt. The judgement was made before they got to see what I had been doing: before they said more than ten words to me, and before I could even respond. The idea that the chair was a status instead of what it was: an aid.

Wheelchairs are NOT to be a reflection of who you are talking to. Yes, life is more dificult in some ways. Yes, I am in the chair because I cannot walk on my own. No, it is not dictating parts of my life.

To assume that my everything revolves around the chair is rather shallow. It shows a level of disregard for me the person, and a fixation on me the object. I cheated death twice, not being able to walk is only a minor repercussion.

Yes, being in a wheelchair does suck, in some ways. However, it is how I function and get around now. I will not say that it is preferred, but I refuse to bend to it being the worst outcome for any situation. I got out of my brain swelling with only minor brain damage that effected mostly superficial parts of me. I know it sounds bad, but I consider that a win.

No, I cannot work right now, and it sucks. So I write non-fiction to busy myself. To express creative endeavours, I write fiction. I am trying to get published because I know that, with proper support, I can do that. I am not even eluding to accessibility support, I am just terrible at marketing.

Tangent aside, if someone in your life finds themselves in a wheelchair, find out how they feel about it before jumping to condolences and depression. They might be in a good place, or even the best place they have been in for a while.

How long…?

MORBID THOUGHT! How long would I have to disappear for before someone thought to see if I was still alive?

I go days without talking to people, the exceptions being my wife and family. On that note, they have little contact with the people I speak to. From what I can tell, minus the lack of birthday wishes (or BIRTHDAY), it may never occur that I have vanished.

I rarely update statuses. I do the #vss365 on Twitter, but that community is so huge that no one may notice. I post blog updates here very often (too often?) but I schedule things if I even suspect that I would miss an update.

So, that is a thing. Now, what if I just WANTED to vanish? It would be very possible for me to just “kill” Jason Garden and start again. Not easy, no. There would be far too much to figure out with family and shit, and I make my income (for now) from the government. I am also epileptic, so there is a medical tracking on me.

As far as I have seen, little to nothing about me being paraplegic. I am just a stat where that is concerned.

My mind wanders in strange places when I am working away on projects.

I Hope You Are Happy

Okay, you can relax. The updates are done for the year, and you don’t have to look at them again.

Well… unless you want to.

I, myself, have read them over several times already (writing this post on and after April 10) and will several times more to make sure they are right.

Again, the point of them is not to create animosity, to express how meaningless everything is, or to cause pandemonium, but to explore and accept just how amazing the time we have in this life is. I find great peace in knowing these facts do not just apply to me, but every single person on this planet.

One thing I will confess is that the one about how ‘no-one will remember you in two generations no matter what’ is a bit more definitive than I intended. Not to where it’s wrong, however. The internet has done a great job of making sure that everyone and everything will be remembered forever, just maybe not discussed at length anymore. As long as you have a social media account (somewhere), there is a mark that will be available for all time. I still get reminders on FaceBook of a couple of friends who passed away a few years ago whenever their birthdays come around. I am instantly reminded of any times I had with that person. I usually take a moment of silence to reflect on how they changed my life, regardless of how small or large the contribution to my personal narrative was.

On a sick side-note, I immortalized my own rebirth recently, just because I am considering it a very important event in my life. I do not know many people who got the privilege to tell everyone that they didn’t die. I cannot describe just how humbling, yet hilarious, that event was and still is. The importance is probably something I could never put to words. To be honest, the gravity of the situation as a whole was probably lost on me.

Off-topic, but I started a GoFundMe back in April. I have been in the same chair for five years as of July. I have learned a few things about what I want in a new chair and have been informed that I have to pony-up the money myself if I wish for something new/nice.
To be as clear as I can be, the money is for the wheelchair and for this website. Yes, the Patreon helps, but not everyone wants to give monthly. This is a great way to offer money once if you cannot afford monthly.

The goal is huge, but I hope we can achieve it together.

HUGE NEWS!
My wife and I are moving into my parents for a couple of months. I will mot be doing updates for the month of June while I organize parts of my life. Keep posted to the FaceBook page for when I come back. I will post there because I am like that. I’m sorry for the hiccup in my schedule, but I need to focus while life gets back to being sustainable.