|Robert Lee Brewer (Painting by Didi Menendez)|
The world began for me--my first memory--as black lines and sunshine. For the longest time, I thought I was viewing gigantic blades of grass. It wasn't until I was much older that I could appreciate the length of my own eyelashes. Instead of viewing Whitman's leaves of grass, I realized I began as eyelashes blocking the sun.
For years and years, I misinterpreted my own first memory. As such, take these memories for the faulty and flimsy things they are. I promise I will do my best to accurately capture the various important moments of my life. When possible, I'll try to protect the identities of the folks involved--though there will be moments when that is impossible. (Sorry in advance, identities I can't protect.)
Whether by grass or eyelashes, I've always considered the black lines and sunshine memory a comforting one, though I could understand it being interpreted as scary for others. Maybe that's why I was always known as a happy kid. My mom used to tell me how I would run up to strangers in public and give them hugs. Even now, I receive feedback from people on how I always seem to be smiling. It's just part of my DNA to look on the bright side of things.
Unfortunately, this series of posts will not just be a collection of hugs and sunshine. In fact, some posts may even have a little note at the beginning to warn of graphic content. That said, I do think everything that happens--the good, the bad, and the in between--is supposed to happen. So I may have made it through some bad moments, but there aren't any black clouds hanging over me. They made me who I am.
But my life (and this series) is not just a collection of bad news. There will be good posts to balance out the bad. I'm going to attempt to go in chronological order. I'm going to attempt to be accurate. I'm going to attempt not to hit my head anymore.
This post began with my first memory, and I shared my mom's memory of me running up to hug strangers (kids, do not follow my example). I'll end this post with another shared memory. It's about when I got a scar over my right eye. It's harder to see now than when I was a child, when it was very obvious.
The story goes like this: My father was driving with my brother David and I in our unsecured car seats, and he got into a wreck. My unsecured seat flew face first into the dashboard. Apparently, face covered in blood, I kept just touching the blood and looking at my fingers without crying. Meanwhile, David dangled upside down bawling away.
As a child hearing this story, I always used it as proof that I was somehow tougher than other people. It's a perfect example of what doesn't kill you makes you psychologically stronger. Of course, I'm now smart enough to know the only reason I wasn't crying is that I probably suffered a concussion. David reacted appropriately.
Anyway, there's the truth of what happened, and there's the truth according to us. History--even a personal history--is a complicated journey. I hope you enjoy the ride.
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Learn more about me and my peeps in these posts:
- My Father is Running for President.
- How to Pack for a Hurricane Chase.
- Confession of a Man With a Moustache.