I shouldn’t be here.
And I’m not referring to the success of my art.
Both of my parents were great athletes, and I have many fond childhood memories of attending their countless sporting events.
But those memories were literally seconds away from never happening.
When I was 9-months old, my dad was holding me in the grandstands prior to his baseball game. During the pre-game warm-ups, the shortstop rifled a ball to the first baseman… but his throw was wildly off target.
The ball sailed over the first baseman’s outstretched glove, and into the stands full of people.
Although I was cradled in my dad’s arms, the baseball made no contact with him at all and, instead, crashed directly into my head.
My dad instinctually reacted and sprung out of his seat, tucked me like a football, and sprinted to his car in a state of panic.
It was this split-second decision that just might have saved my life.
He sped to the nearest hospital, Good Samaritan in Puyallup, where the medical team assessed the damage: my skull was fractured in multiple areas.
Their facility was not equipped to handle this level of trauma, and I was rushed to Tacoma General Hospital.
I’ll spare you the rest of the details because… *spoiler alert*… I survived, and I think I’m okay.
I was too young to remember the incident, but it did turn into a family joke many years later as I often heard “maybe that baseball knocked some sense into you!”
However, as I got older, I often pondered that seemly innocent statement.
Would I be different today if that ball never hit me? How so?
Would I be smarter? Funnier? More artistic.
Or did that head trauma MAKE me smarter, funnier, more artistic, etc?
Truth is, none of those “what ifs” matter because ruminating over the past only breeds negativity.
The only thing that does matter: I’m alive.
That accident HAD to happen to make me the person I am today.
Following the unexpected passing of my mom, I finally comprehended the true fragility of life.
I was given a second chance many years ago, and now I understand the significance of that gift.
We all have a calling. Thankfully, I found mine: helping others through my art.
And now I know…
I should be here after all.
Learn more about my inspiration and my journey back to art, which was featured on The Today Show.
Want to learn even more? I share my thoughts here.