Please pardon the length of my About section here on Medium. It's only until I can figure out a more succinct way to describe myself...
Anyone looking for me via The Google will actually stumble upon my mess of a social media presence and a relatively long history of Internet use going back to 1991. Much of that activity has been intentional. However, my use of social media was something that I engaged in either to keep in touch with friends over long distances and for extended periods due to circumstance or as a body of work that I would use for future analysis re: communicating context in online communities and related academic interests which, I should mention, I have yet to actually explore in a graduate context- but would really like to.
So- here’s something you will not learn about me (via The Google) but which should provide sufficient context to my efforts to raise visibility on diverse perspectives:
* I was born in Upstate New York, and, prior to college, attended a mix of public and private schools in New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Wisconsin. I've traveled to every US state except Alaska and also traveled more prior to joining the military then I did during my time on active duty.
* Yes, I’ve been in the military: Wisconsin Army National Guard 1989–96; Army Reserve 04/2002–11/02; and Active Duty Army 11/2002–03/2011). Oddly- and definitely not the result of any conscious decision on my part, my only deployment was to Iraq (07-09), but I was medivac'd in 2008 prior to my unit going into Sadr City. (Some may say what happened to me is a good thing- but it I would reply by saying it was my job to be there, and I wasn't. If anyone is going to offer up uniformed opinions about my life, I hope they think about it like that- and from my perspective. Also, Staff Sergeant/E-6, US Army (Retired)- in case anyone is curious.
* Yes, I have an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire: A BA in Communication with a psychology minor (1995).
* Yes, I have worked in technology- including some nifty roles in Silicon Valley mid-1990s to 2002- and was primarily self taught. My last role, in 2002, was as the head of technology for the second largest media monitor in the US.
* Yes, I have been diagnosed with ADHD Inattentive Type (at 38), PTSD, anxiety, depression (all in my early 30s) and agoraphobia (somewhere along the way)- and I am very open about all of it
* Yes, I am trying to recover from a post-service spinal cord injury as the result of an alleged assault by a healthcare provider. March 8th, 2022 was the 9 year anniversary of my injury.
* I am a very religious and devout atheist who is a conservatively liberal independent. In addition, I am LGBTQ+ but not out.
* Due to my SCI and mental health, I am primarily home bound (at the moment), but I do hope to get out and about again once I build up some confidence (through writing).
* I think my story is a great use case in support of a Universal Basic Income. I haven’t worked since 2011- but I am not bragging about that. Throughout my SCI (since 2013) and trying to navigate my mental health since retiring from the US Army in 2011, I have relied on my Army retirement, VA Compensation and Social Security Disability as my income- which, for the first 2.5 years I was out of the Army was only $1,400/month (as my VA compensation troubles- like many others- made the news). Now I am trying to start a business- I Can't Sleep Productions and Publications, LLC- and I could not be doing any of this, including managing my mental health and SCI, absent that income. (It may be worth mentioning that the compensation I am receiving is not unlike the compensation received by many US Veterans who then go on to start businesses of their own.)
* I have wanted to attend graduate school (in something, but I'm still not sure what) since I was an undergraduate student in the early 1990s. However, the reason I'm not actively using VA benefits for any kind of schooling is because my VA does not, as of this writing, offer any support for Veterans with ADHD- and that is something I hope to explore and write more about as it may be complicating mental health care for Veterans more broadly.
* My use of hashtags on social media- such as #BeSmarterThanAVirus- are often related to my business or academic interests. I hope to turn at least some of the hashtags I've used into full blown campaigns with matching websites and a well developed social media presence. For now, though, I'll probably start with a newsletter which can fork as things evolve.
* I am actually excited about the energy transition and the UN Sustainable Development Goals and how they could help make the world a much better place for all.
* However, with that last bullet point- and all the others before it- I'm also one of those people who is quite aware that one of the biggest threats we face today in tackling a variety of issues- including Covid and Climate Change- is misinformation.
That said, I really don’t want to be known for… selling t-shirts. Or selling anything, really, especially stuff that doesn’t actually make the world- or the people in it- better, somehow.
Here, on Medium, I will try to share my story- not just about specific experiences from my time in tech, in the military or in starting my own business or trying to manage my mental health as a combat veteran in the context of a post-service spinal cord injury- but as a neurodiverse person trying to make it in a non-neurodiverse world while I explain- at least, from my perspective- why the world needs to change, why it needs to change now and how we can get there together- and preferably soon.