Showing posts from February, 2008

University Failures

I was told to edit this for “tone” but it says what I want it to say. I am tired of being told to be patient, that “now” isn’t the time to be angry. Now is definitely the time to be demanding action. I should have been a lot more proactive a lot earlier. Waiting was pointless. I came to the University of Minnesota’s Dept. of Rhetoric thanks to a DOVE (Diversity of Views and Experiences) Fellowship. My wife and I relocated from California because we had the impression the department and university would be inviting, supportive, and, most of all, a place where I would not be excluded due to differences. It should be no secret to anyone that my fellowship and my studies are the result of a severe brain trauma. I have talked to many of my peers and some faculty about the injuries and their consequences. I never hide the following conditions: Palsy and partial paralysis from neurological damage; Six years in a body brace for spinal damage; Chronic pain, migraines, and hypersensitivity t

Struggling Along

Not even two months into the year and I am exhausted. I'm possibly the most exhausted I have been since moving to Minnesota. It is the mix of university nonsense, cold weather, aching body, renovation disorder, and so forth. When one of our "kids" became ill Monday night, it was one more thing on my mind. My kids are the closest friends I have, and I need friends right now. The university nightmare continues. I never felt like I belonged here, so having issues with any faculty member only intensifies the alienation. It isn't that I want to be liked or want to be friends with anyone here — but I definitely do not want to be disliked. I have a lot of anger and disappointment as I feel the university hasn't been very accepting of me. I mainly want to be left alone, allowed to work. Physically, I am shaking more often than I have in the past year. I shake violently at night, when I should be sleeping. I tremor and cramp, especially my right arm. The pain i

Difficulties and Will Power

It would be an understatement to write that my time in Minnesota has been a challenge. After this most miserable, humiliating week, I spent today wondering if I am capable of finishing my university program. My self-doubt and self-criticism were familiar to me, and to my wife. It is depressing, for lack of a better word, to feel isolated from the university, my peers, and even my instructors. When a professor or a peer seems to dismiss me, I need to rebuild myself. I need to prove to myself that I am not worthless simply because I lack social skills. I should not be ignored simply because my mind is so atypical. My wife, loving and caring person that she is, reminds me that others do benefit from my existence. My words do help other people. My impulse to say what I think might shock and even offend, but maybe what I am driven to express needs to be said by someone like me. I do become defensive, in order to salvage my own sense of worth. I need to remind myself that I am not o

Classes and Anger

I walked out of a class tonight, angry and frustrated. There is a great deal I could write about how I feel and what annoyed me, but the essential information is that there is a limit to the stresses I can tolerate. Even though I speak on surviving college, the reality is that I still am not equipped to handle some events — or some personalities. The classroom is of a miserable, hyperactive, media-saturated design with six flat-panel video screens, two LCD projection units, and an unrelenting buzzing from strangely flickering fluorescent lights. (The buzzing is amplified via metal reflectors of some manner.) The entire room buzzed, vibrates, and leaves me shaking in agony. Even after leaving the room, a persistent, high-pitched tone did not leave me until well after midnight. I was physically shaking, near tears, and wanted nothing more than to have silence. Real silence. But just try explaining such an overload to anyone who does not experience literal pain in some settings. So