I was just 13 when my whole life changed forever. On December 18th, 2005 I was shot in the head at point-blank range. Not knowing if I was going to live or die. The doctors were really reluctant to pull the bullet out of my brain because of the swelling but they took a chance. Half of my skull? Gone, it shattered from the impact. My family was devastated because I wasn’t a bad kid, made all A’s in school and wasn’t gang-affiliated which was the norm where I’m from (Little Rock, AR).
On December 25th, 2005 was the day I awoke from my coma and the whole hospital was calling me the Christmas miracle. I had to learn how to walk, talk, move my right side of my body and learn hand-eye coordination (Xbox really helped me a lot.)
Living with TBI hasn’t been easy. Learning how to walk was difficult but learning how to talk is a hill that I will never get over. I still struggle with my speech I feel like. It may seem normal to you but it’s a challenge for me. My mind runs faster than my mouth, even though I hear that’s normal I still struggle in different situations. Now I get fatigued really fast and can’t control it no matter how bad I try. Even though the incident happened in 2005, I still am experiencing headaches and live life with confusion some of the time.
It was hard fitting back in school. To know the surrounding school districts knew your story and them looking at you differently. Going up to the middle school at lunch and being supervised because you had to wait six months for a plate to secure the left side of your head. I wanted to be normal again but I knew it was going to take some time.
Fast forward to now. I moved to Atlanta, GA to pursue a career as an actor but something inside of me wanted to use my voice and my skillset in a different way. So I started this organization where we speak on the dangers of gun violence, gun safety and how you can overcome your situation no matter what you’re going through.
My company is called Revive Minds and my slogan is “change the way you think, reverse the way you live.” We hold speaking engagements on the subject of gun violence, the damages it can cause, gun safety and how you can overcome your situations including having a traumatic brain injury.
We also have a clothing company where we provide positive messages for the youth. It’s like positive streetwear. There are so many negative things out there including clothing and their sayings and what they put on them so we wanted to give you a different perspective. Your T-shirt’s should be walking billboards so we try to use positive messages to grab the attention of the ones that are coming up.
I’m most proud of my company for actually being able to talk about the subject of traumatic brain injuries because it’s extremely needed. Open dialogue goes a long way and we feel better every time we’re able to touch a person and make them feel differently than what they felt before one of my presentations or just having a conversation with them on the street.