The FilamentJul 20, 2022
Do you know what I like about blogs? You don’t just scroll past a blog. You have to go looking for it. There is something about that fact that makes writing this feel more intimate than posting on social media. It feels more vulnerable in some ways, like I’m inviting you into my home, wondering if it smells okay or if my bathroom is clean enough. But it also feels safer somehow, like I’m with friends. If you’re here reading this, it’s not because some algorithm duped you into scrolling past it - it’s because you chose to be.
That’s precisely why I have rewritten this 47 times. What do I say to new friends in a new space? Do I give you a personal introduction? A mission statement? My astrological natal chart? (Virgo sun, Aquarius moon, Capricorn rising). I have no idea.
So, weirdly and intensely, I’ll start with this because it’s why I’m writing at all.
I thought my life was over.
If you are familiar with any part of my story, chances are you know that I’m paralyzed. That happened in 2013. But in that same year I also came out, had a massive existential crisis, and lost a lifelong faith community. Everything that I thought made me me had vanished, and my dreams for my future disappeared. No white picket fence with a wife and kids. No more swimming, running or making music. No more going to the temple to commune with god and the saints, basking in the warmth of certainty and community. All gone.
By anyone’s standard, what happened to me was a tragedy. Any story I had watched or read about paralyzed people depicted a miserable person who ended up either killing themselves, or at least wanting to. With these ableist stories swimming around in my head, I believed I was doomed to live out not just plan B or C, but something like plan Y.
I gave plan Y my best effort for years, haunted by the memories of my former abled self and fantasies of what my life “could have been”. Until 2018. In a single event, I found a way out. My world changed. My paradigm shifted. I looked in the mirror and saw my entire body. Carson, whole and complete, patiently waiting for me to discover that he’d never left at all. Like a bolt of lightning from the sky, it was crystal clear - being paralyzed was Plan A.
In that instant I got my life back, and it changed everything.
I started taking new, bold risks. I traveled the world speaking, became president of an international nonprofit, and built a transformational coaching business. I started dating, having sex (this is huge for disabled people), and worked as a policy advisor for a presidential campaign. I was fulfilled, empowered, and excited about the direction of my life.
I was living a life I loved. But here’s the most important piece of all of this. Notice that I did not tell you that I was healed. My spinal cord never recovered. I was not the miracle child I hoped I would be. I’m writing this sitting in my wheelchair, typing with paralyzed hands that are collapsing from fatigue (sweet babies have about 20 minutes of typing before they need a nap). My freedom was not a function of changing my circumstances. It was a function of transforming my relationship to my circumstances.
So, dear new friend, as we sit together in my homey-but-slightly-cluttered living room that is this first blog post, I want to leave you with one thing: hope. I thought my life was over. It wasn’t. Whether you're mostly content in life, or you feel completely lost and stuck, your longing for something more in this life is not misguided. What you are searching for exists, even if you don’t know what that is yet. Plan A is available to you.
This blog, which I am naming “The Filament” (on account of its symbolism of light and power and also because it sounds cool), will support you in getting back to your plan A. Each week I’ll share a distinction or principle of empowerment that will make a difference in your journey.
Last thing: I am declaring us a community! I want to know what you’re dealing with, what questions you want answers to, or what topics you want covered. This space exists for you, so please use the blog response box below to send in any feedback or questions. I’ve long dreamed of creating a family of wholehearted people engaged in the work of transformation. I hope this is the beginning of that family.
Thank you for being here. Thank you for entrusting me with your time. There is so much more to come and I can’t wait to share it with you.