7 votes

My Story...

I have realized after almost one year of posting and reading on this site that I have failed in revealing myself to all of you. I have enjoyed being a part of this great forum of ideas and adversity and will continue to remain as such as long as it exists. I would like to take some time to tell my story, rather bring to your attention the man in me.

I will turn 35 years of age on the 12th of August. I am Leo through and through, except the part about standing at the center of attention and demanding it. My childhood has left me a little more humble and a lot less judgmental, especially when it comes to issues of divorce, infidelity and neglect. My parents did the best they could to make it work, but their means to an end were mean enough and so the end was inevitable. They are both remarried now and happily so and the parts of their relationship that were sentimental to me are still sentimental, but without the needless guilt and fostering of the fight to bring them back together.

When I was 4 years old I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and spent my fair share of time soaking swollen knees and joints in hot baths with my mother at my side. I even was included in an old article in the Bend Bulletin and had my picture posted along with several elderly people who were also the focus of an article about our condition. I remember always feeling like I was different, not in the sense that I was special or above anyone else, but that I was different in the way I perceived the world. I was always very good with numbers and in 5th grade I became the fastest student to complete 100 multiplication problems in 1:34 seconds. My retention of geometry and calculus and applications thereof however not so exceptional.

I was active in baseball at a very young age and played it so until my sophomore year in high school, where my end to participation was catalyzed by the coaches cutting me in the first week of tryouts. The high school was steeped in favoritism and I feel like I left my 12 year stint in baseball with class and words better left unspoken. My mother, brother and I moved to Bend, Oregon in 1991, right before my 7th grade year in order to join our family with that of her new husband. To this day, he is a father second-to-none and although he isn’t related through blood, he is and always has been a great inspiration to me and a man to admire, not only for his years of hard work to provide for our family but also by his integrity and struggle to replace in many ways a father who was absent most of the time.

I learned at that young age what it was to be unpopular and the focus of hateful bigotry. Upon entering 7th grade I actually knew one of the most “popular” kids in school to my surprise and thought that just maybe it would get me one good step in the new door of a much bigger school than I was used to. However, after becoming friends with a boy of Hispanic origin and with a noticeably feminine character my whole world changed. I remained best of friends with him until I left for college at Oregon State University in 2000, however the ridicule I received in various forms was enough to test my loyalty of friendship as much as can be tested of a 12 year old boy. And not only was this ridicule, which came in the form of profanities and physical confrontations from my peers, traumatizing but also a weight on my conscience at home. At that young age I learned that even my parents and siblings had strong views on homosexuality and to say that I felt isolated and alone in my acceptance would be an understatement.

I attended Central Oregon Community College from 1996 to 2000, wherein I received my Associates Degree Oregon Transfer in Arts. I took a year hiatus after the start of my first year at Oregon State University to “live” and experience the party life. Needless to say living with four other guys, albeit one of them family, was challenging, exciting and endowed in all of us a sense of freedom and self-reliance. Out of the 30 positions/jobs I applied for, one small steel fabrication outfit decided to take a chance on a greenie. For the next 6 months I learned how to weld, operate forklifts, Z-lifts and overhead cranes and found a great deal of worth in being battered around and bruised up in a line of work that was unfamiliar and rough. If it wasn’t for my love of the piano, I may not have returned to college. In June 2003 I graduated with my Bachelor’s of Science, music minor AND the only reason it was a minor in music is because I flat out refused to do my thesis as a book report paper when I had spent 6 years of my life writing and playing piano. My proposed thesis was to present my music in the public forum, played for all to hear…but that was not covered under collegiate policy in order to attain my degree. I didn’t need the music departments ordaining of my studies to know I was worthy of the degree…to hell with them.

I play piano now for those who will listen (mainly my wife and son) but am working on getting some of my music online. I have been slowly teaching my son the notes and basics of the instrument I have been drawn to since 1996 and that has been the most rewarding part of my continued passion for this instrument and the sounds it can resonate. I had met my wife at Oregon State University in the fall of 2000 and we were married five years later. In November 2008 our son was born and we are now expecting a girl in March of this year. We have been very fortunate to have a healthy and intelligent son and so far the little girl has been right on track despite some concerns early on.

Our son’s birth was long but natural and it wasn’t until almost 9 hours after the birth that my wife had some major complications. Her uterus was failing to contract and heal which caused her to hemorrhage, resulting in a transfusion and the loss of over ½ of her blood mass. Let me say that I was reduced to rubble and prayer at the possibility of her not being at my side to help raise the miracle we conceived and to this day we are still somewhat traumatized from the event that was the greatest and most frightening of our lives. The pregnancy of our daughter began with ill news. On August 5th, 2012 we were told at the ultrasound that no heartbeat was detected and that the baby has ceased about 1-2 weeks prior. We opted to have a follow-up ultrasound, mainly so that we could have a picture of the life that we had conceived, regardless of the fact that it was deceased. When the mid-wife began the ultrasound we immediately noticed a heartbeat and movement. The baby was alive! After 6 days of despair and grief at the news of a second miscarriage in 2 months, we were devastated and it felt as if we were changed in so many ways.
And this was another nail in the coffin I’ve crawled out from in order to stand and question professionals, every last one of them. If we wouldn’t have opted for a follow-up ultrasound we would never know that we had committed and been complicit in the murder of our own child.

We have been through our share of rough patches but have also been through many more shares of the opposite and despite the changes that come with marriage and children, all of them have been necessary in allowing me to realize how wealthy and fortunate I truly am…I work with money each day of my life as a consultant and am blessed in what I do. The awakening of my consciousness and spirit over the last two years has come from, in part my knowledge of the monetary system and the fact that I am witness to its ineptitude and coming failure by the descriptions of the job I hold. In the past two years I have awakened to the realization that one must question everything, not to imply futility in questioning, but to question as a right of life. All of us can attest that it is the lack of questioning that has promulgated the demise of our Nation and has led to a static apathy in the people who are now becoming governed by force and fear. Enough! Say it loud and say it with words…ENOUGH!

I have been remade! The last two years have me questioning medicine and its practice in the modern day, the pharmaceutical onslaught and carelessness that it promotes and the purposeful shutting out of alternatives and holistic remedies. The last two years have me questioning government and its ultimate role in our society, which has been abused, usurped and criminalized by decades of special interest lobbyists and unelected non-officials. The last two years have me questioning our school system and its disgusting propagation of lies and half-truths about this Nation’s history and secession from tyranny so long ago. The last two years have me questioning and I will continue to question for my family, my community and my fellow people. Long live Liberty! Love to you all.

Peace and Love first.

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Michael Nystrom's picture

Peace and Love first

Wow, thank you for sharing your story with us.

He's the man.

Thanks for sharing your story.

I've always been too self-conscious to lay out my story in one chunk. Just a dribble here and there.