Thursday, June 15, 2023

The Best Day

This is a series called "Finding Kansas Revisited" in which I read my book for just the second time and give you a glimpse into why I wrote the chapter and what I think of it now. If you haven't read it yet, Finding Kansas is available on most book sites as a physical book, or a download.  

Reading what is the first chapter of the book took me back to two time periods. The first was why I wrote that chapter to begin with. It was 2002 and I was in Mrs. Wilcox's College Comp 101 class at Saint Louis Community College Meramec. The assignment was, quite simply, write about your favorite day. My favorite day was simple, it was my first race, and the assignment required the use of analogies and such, which is why there's some unnecessary and forced figures of speech, but Mrs. Wilcox really enjoyed the writing, but I didn't think much of it as it came easy to me. Side note: I have always wondered if Mrs. Wilcox ever knew that I wrote a book, or went on to become a public speaker?

The chapter also brought me back to the time period where I wanted to be a race car driver. As I said then, "That's plan A for my life. There is no plan B." It was that black and white. There were no alternative thoughts. It was all I knew, and what I thought I'd always know.

In an interview, my dad said that the cruelest thing he ever did was tell me I'd win the Indianapolis 500, but I disagree. Only a few select few ever achieve that level of racing immortality, but at that race, and in the subsequent cars I drove, I showed an extreme level of natural and raw talent. While stating plainly that I would win might be seen as grandiose, it was the fuel that kept me going through life. 

The following years would be difficult for me. The year of my first race I was being homeschooled, but I'd eventually go back and the social difficulties would encroach on every aspect of my life... except racing. It was the constant and it was the driving force. I shudder to think what my life would've been like if I didn't have a finish line to strive for. I've wondered if the thought of seemingly unobtainable goals is a good thing, but without a dream, what is there? 

While I didn't end up winning the Indy 500, I think I've done one better in my life. I'm only the eighth starter (aka flag man) for the race. I'm not sure if my dad could've envisioned just exactly how my life would play out from that day of my first race in 1995, but having the seemingly impossible life goal of winning the race turned into achieving a more impossible goal I might never have had if I had ever been in the race. And because of all that, my story has made it to many different media outlets which has raised my voice on what is possible for those that are on the autism spectrum.

No comments:

Post a Comment