adventure, adventure travel, crippled, debt free, disability, disabled, double vision, falmouth cutter 22, freedom, independent travel, living aboard, making my way in the world, minimalist, overcoming adversity, photography, sailing, sailing blog, simplicity
At the ripe age of 15 I was looking at the possibility of death, blindness or perminant disability and I couldn’t sign up fast enough. By this point I had lived my whole life with severely crossed eyes and was treated as a sub standard human being, it was torture. Abuse was a near daily occurrence in my life. When I looked at people they would turn their face away in disgust as soon as they saw my disfigurement. Classmates would tease me and I got into more fights than anyone else at my school. Even at summer camp they wouldn’t let me go on a long hike because the councilors deemed me unfit to do the hike because of my eyes, the reality was that I was strong as an ox. I learned to walk the earth with my head hung low in shame. I headed in for reconstructive eye surgery and was the youngest person ever to have what was a relatively new proceedure. The surgery went well and for the first time in my life I could see out of both eyes at the same time but the surgery left me with permanent double vision, yes I see two of everything all the time. They wanted to put me on lifetime disability but I declined preferring to tackle the world on my own terms. The scourge of my life became my most important asset after that. I became a model and took to it like a duck on the water, I had something to prove. I was on a set one evening in San Diego when the director walked by and whispered into the photographers ear, “have you ever seen such beautiful blue eyes in your life?” I heard her every-word and that was the day I no longer needed to compensate for my disability. From that point foreword I moved behind the lens choosing a different way to use my eyes. In addition double vison I see different colors and textures out of each eye and everything in the world is backwards. Twenty minutes of reading, writing or photography gives me crippling headaches and dizziness that can last for days. Life has been a constant struggle from that day foreward. Simple tasks like going to the grocery store are near impossible, isles and isles of near identical items all in double form. Learning has always come easy to me but doing it in the structured form is near impossible. I was functionally illiterate when I graduated from high school yet somehow went on to being put on the Deans list before dropping out of college. I learned a young age that I could function but would have to do it on my own terms. Finding work with my condition has been a difficult route. Over the years I have been fortunate to find success. After modeling it was photography and acting, then I worked as a Hollywood publicist jet setting around the world with super stars. I’ve worked as a banker and run some fairly large companies. Somehow over the corse I have been listed in the Guinness Book Of World Records three times although they are all silly records. I worked as a journalist and photojournalist, started many small successful companies and found time to travel the world in every form from private jet to hitch hiking. I had always hoped that it would get better with time but as luck would turn out it gets worse. Growing up the way I did I find I am much more sensitive than the average person and I guess I will always have a personal battle of equality to fight. The very first thing I have done each and every day since my surgery is to look in the mirror and see if my are are still straight. It isn’t always easy being so open and honest in a public format. I’ve often referred to it as standing naked on a pedestal for the whole world to see. Today I am putting it out here for all the people who enjoy this place and wonder who the hell I am and where I come from. This journal is about everything and nothing but most importantly its about my vision because thats what makes me unique. I guess my point is that if a dysfunctional person like me can make their every dream come true then whats your excuse. We all have our personal challenges, its what makes life so interesting, meet them, greet them and beat them. There was a time in my life when I had something to prove, now I just have something to share.
“Part of the problem with the word ‘disabilities’ is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.” ― Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers