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I just need to get this out of my head...
mcdougherty, mike dougherty

I haven't blogged in a while, but I think it's long overdue.

I had a dream last night that left me not so happy first thing this morning. As a result this post is more about me getting this out of my head than anything else. So here goes.

In my dream, I was making a documentary about the car accident I had when I was 8 years old. This accident really did happen...the documentary part of it...not so much. I, in nightmarishly sharp detail, remembered parts of the accident, as if it were being re-created for the documentary, that I hadn't thought of in a long time, as "Narrator Me", my current version of myself, talked about the details of the images I saw.

Long story short, after looking both ways to make sure there no cars were coming, I went back to the middle of the crosswalk to pick up a bag of Christmas presents that I had dropped because the crossing guard held my arm to tight. At that point...my face met the front end of a car being driven by a drunk driver. I was drug 15 feet and, when the car stopped, I was tossed for close to the same distance before I stopped at a wall.

Hospital records note that I screamed, the entire time, from the location of the accident until I passed out into a slight comma. I was told I was pronounced dead a few times, but I don't have all of my hospital records to verify that, so I'm taking it on word of mouth/memory that it did. The zygomatic and, part of, the maxillary bones in my face were shattered, my right arm was broken, my back was shredded, and my brain was never going to be the same again.

In the dream, I cycled through a montage of images as "Narrator Me" is explaining the following pieces of my fight back.

Reconstructive surgery left me with a scar right next to my left eye and on a few spots on my face that have, in 28 years, faded into places that will not grow facial hair. The way it was described to my mother was like this. The doctor took out a potato chip, set it on the counter, said "this was your sons face before the accident", he hit it with his fist, and then said "this is the left side of his face afterwards." The width of my back at my shoulders is dotted with tons of circular scars that are the result of gravel and stone embedding themselves there as I was drug under the car. I apparently used some salty language, for an eight year old, when they rest my broken arm. Shocked? Me neither.

My parents were told I might not walk again and there was a high probability that I would have learning disabilities all my life. The term "vegetable" was used, but don't recall if that's just what my mother thought she heard or a word that was actually used.

I, vividly, recalled hearing my mother cry and deciding, as "Narrator Me" explained to the camera, that I was going to do everything I heard the doctor tell me I couldn't. "Narrator Me" explained that thanks to an amazing tutor my parents found, I watched in "Rocky" style fight prep montage, as I spent the last half of my eighth year, and a good part of the first of my ninth relearning everything it took you eight years to do, from tying my shoes to education. Outside of the dream, I can pin point, with accuracy, that's where I fell in love with Sherlock Holmes, Tolkien, Poe, Shakespeare, and so on "Narrator Me" told that the tutor encouraged me to write my own stories and draw the images in my head, because at eight I was reading, and comprehending, at college level.

I abruptly woke up to Kelly telling me it had snowed and that we needed to leave to take her to work.

I don't tell you this to expect responses, sympathy, pity, or any of that sentimental bullshit. I tell you this to get the images out of my head, even for a time, and to process some of what's been spinning around my brain for the better part of two hours.

Because of this accident, my unintentional internal, and often verbally external to the people close to me, mantra has always been "if someone says it can't be done, I say, it can be done and I'm going to prove it."

This morning's drive to work has been a lot of looking back and wondering what took me so long. I live a life of doing things people tell me I won't be able to do. I hid the aforementioned story away in my private memory bank, because I was ashamed that I'd be looked at as "less than" and never realizing it is a defining point that I am "more than." Not "more than" other people, but "more than" what I thought of myself.

Thanks to the support of amazing people I made a movie that I was told would never be made by close friends and people in the "industry." By force of will and the support of an awesome community of people, we made all the money back it took to make the movie and gave tens of thousands of dollars to charity. I stood next to my hero, with my sister (non-blood related), and presented him, and his chosen charity, with a check showing a portion of the work we did...with a movie I was told for, at least, two years would never be made or allowed to be seen. I'm working on a proof-of-concept short for my next film and I'm getting to work with people on my crew who's worked on TV's and Movie's that are in my DVD collection. Yet through all this...I never saw myself as anything other than someone who just wanted to be seen as "normal."

I share this because...it's time to make that shit intentional! I share this because keeping it inside is starting to feel a bit selfish. I share this for the people making noise, in my life and on the Internet, that think what I want to do is impossible or what I have done is "garbage" or caused me to think less of myself because of their own insecurities/inability to chase their dreams with all of the passion of a fat kid chasing a piece of cake...fuck them. The people that love you for the good and bad, unconditionally, no matter what are all that matter. The rest of them...it's just noise.

If you've gotten this far...thank you.
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