A lot can change in a year, especially when all of it falls outside your control. It makes it more frustrating, haunting you as you fall asleep wondering in vain what you can do to fix it. That's where I'm at right now in life.

October 2011, I was en route to a newspaper assignment for two football stories. It was a two-way "highway" in Thurston County. The traffic slowed to a stop ahead of me because the car in front was wanting to turn left into his driveway. I stopped, but noticed another car coming up behind me at a pretty fast rate of speed. All the while I'm thinking to myself, "she's going to stop, but she's getting awful cl--"


And just like that, I was hit by another car. The speed limit was 55 miles per hour, and I later looked to find that there were no marks on the road showing attempted breaking. I didn't hear any breaking sounds. This led me to believe I was hit with the speed limit, if not more. I took a few moments to call police. When I stepped out of the car, I heard her daughter crying in the backseat. Thankfully the little girl was fine, only startled. The driver of the now destroyed (at least her front bumper was) Mazda, was apologizing and worried if I was okay.

Other than a headache and a copius amount of yellowish colored liquid shooting out of my nose, I was walking and talking, even taking pictures in case the insurance company wanted them (I did say I was on an assignment, right?). But I definietly caught myself slurring a few sentences. The police talked to both drives, but I didn't have to say anything when she admitted fault.

I was able to get my car to drive down to the assignment, where players and coaches noticed I wasn't myself. I was feeling blurry and had a headache, but got the information needed for the two stories I wanted to write for the upcoming issue in a week. Got back to the office, the headaches got worse, so I went home. I didn't want to go to a hospital because I didn't think anything of it. But my insurance claims manager said I should at least be seen once.

The doctor at the walk-in clinic said my headaches should pass, as well as my neck and back pain. As for the liquid pouring out of my nose, "Well that could be spinal fluid, but you would have been unconscious." As to what it could have been then, I heard nothing.

Weeks passed, I saw another doctor. My muscle functions were normal, but I was complaining about neck and back pain, mentioning the fluid. No concerns from her.

I had tried to be an effective reporter, but I was criticized and mocked by my co-workers. When told I had two weeks to fix my issues, I went to a therapist, which the insuance provider at the time recommended. She said everything seemed linked to the car accident and I file a claim with the state department of Labor and Industries. Showing once again that living in a state for a few years doesn't make you an expert on all state laws.

I filed the claim over the phone on my way to work, an hour or so drive. Hours later, I was let go. I was told I had minutes to get my stuff and get out. When I said I left my book in the office, they wouldn't let me go get it. They refused to give me notes they took from me involving a story I wrote. I was embarrased, ashamed, but angry.

For the months after that, I made several attempts to get into another newspaper. One company posted a position and I sent my resume out within minutes, only to get an e-mail response (within a day or two) of "We're already in the interview stage, we are sorry."

It was clear to me that the company I had worked for, which had major involvment in the state publishing association, may have something to do with the end of my career. But this is my opinion, based on the events in the last year.

I've dealt with L&I and doctors, state unemployment, personal injury lawyers, and today, I am stuck in a financial rut with a job that is only part-time and barely paying bills. I keep trying to get into another newspaper or a radio station, but it's frustrating when you don't even hear if the position was filled.

The highlight of my last 365 days is becoming a married man to my lovely wife, who is now expecting our first child this February. I'm so happy for all of these gifts I've been given.

My only issue now is how I'm going to provide gifts to those who have been so good to me in these stressful and painful months. I still see doctors, I have an independent exam coming up, and I wish that it would all be over. I wish that my life to go back to some realm of normal, where I wasn't working weird hours and I could see my family on a regular basis. Where we didn't have to worry about how we were going to pay the bills.

But I'm reminded by the Bible, and by my wife, that there are priorities. Money is not one of the top ones when you look at family, health, shelter, food, etc. I have a family, and people that support me. They've given me courage to step out and keep trying.

In May, I released a book on Amazon called "Hometown U.S.A." and despite the grammatical errors that one reader told me were constant throughout, I've been told by others that it is still a good collection of stories. So I'm working hard on another book, a more focused novel. Hopefully I can have an editor or two before I decide to have it published to the public.

While the majority of things can make some people just give up, I know that I can be a good writer, a good journalist, a good radio personality, husband, father, and friend. But it's frustrating when there are some people that may or may not have put giant walls in front of you, topped with electrifying barbed wire and spikes.

Maybe it's an unwinnable battle, but isn't it better to fight than to flee? Just like it's sometimes better to vent than to hold in everything that pisses you off, or else it builds up like cancer and eats away until you die.