Wrestling with Gratitude

Have you ever just had a memory come out of the blue of a bad moment, and realize it was probably the best thing that ever happened to you?

So lately I have been dealing with writer's block. It's bad enough that I'm not posting anything about a timetable for the next installment of Ki-Chan: Demon Hunter until I am much further along. Making things worse, my health hasn't been so good. My migraines are out of control again, and a recent flare of eczema got so bad I had to be put on super strong steroids.

I have been told I need to relax more, so I'm doing what I always do when I need comfort.

I watch pro wrestling.

I have a good collection of wrestling apps on my Roku box, plus there's a few things I watch on YouTube. Today has been no different, as I just randomly picked a few programs from the WWE Network app.

And then I was triggered.

So they have a new program where the WWE allows Bruce Pritchard to post a video version of his podcast once every so often. (He used to be Brother Love back when The Undertaker was a rookie.) This past week, he answered a few questions about Wrestlemania 11, and I found myself triggered. Just the mere mention of Wrestlemania 11 made me grit my teeth It's not like he said anything horrible, mind you. But just thinking about that show made me cringe.

Bear with me, dear readers. There is a Ki-Chan related point to be made.

So in the back of Ki-Chan: Demon Hunter Book #1, I made mention that I earned my fourth concussion in April of 1995.

It happened at school and it was the result of bullying. I was a Chicago transplant living in New Jersey at the time.

Wrestlemania 11 was the reason for that concussion.

Now I was the only wrestling fan in my class, until the Friday leading up to Wrestlemania 11. We had about 15 minutes of free time before the bell was to ring, so the teacher decided to just talk to us for the hell of it. I remember the teacher asking us who was going to win the big celebrity match, LT or Bam Bam Bigelow?

All the New Jersey children said it had to be LT, despite the fact that he is not from Jersey and does not represent their team. (He played for New York if I remember right.)

I voted for Bam Bam Bigelow.

The class turned on me. "Why do you think Bam Bam should win, Koriander?" Asked the teacher.

"Because he is a trained wrestler, and it makes no sense for a trained, agile wrestler to love a wrestling match to an untrained football player who blows up just by running."

At eight years old, I think I had more sense than certain people who book wrestling, because it also made no sense as to why this popcorn fart of a match would also take the main event spot away from the Heavyweight Championship match, which had received so much publicity the week before. But much to my eternal dismay, the referee let LT win the match with virtually no offense. It was slow, sloppy, methodical, and I haven't forgiven the WWE for this match.

... But wait... should I?

I'm not going to repeat what happened next, since I already talked about it before. But if you would like to read about it, please see the following links:

1. Here, I talk about getting concussed from school bullying, and the subsequent closure I did get later on as an adult.
2. Here, I talk about Tommy Dreamer, and how his program with Raven on rival company ECW gave me the courage to go face my demons head on as I was recovering from the concussion.
3. Here, I talk about how the concussion led to me having a series of dreams that led me to writing Ki-Chan: Demon Hunter. (See? I was getting there.)

Okay okay, so I've written about this time and again. And I do have permanent damage from the concussion. I had been diagnosed with migraines at age five, but after the four concussions between ages seven and eight, I can definitely say that they are much, much worse and more frequent. I had problems with temper and mood because of this last concussion, and there is a permanent spot on my brain where my last round of doctors found healed over damage. But, I think I have come to a point of gratitude.

Let's review.

I earned my fourth concussion because I couldn't fathom why Bam Bam Bigelow wouldn't win a show-off celebrity at Wrestlemania 11.

But because of that concussion, I had a series of dreams that led me to writing my most important books. If I hadn't have landed on concrete and gotten the worst beating of a lifetime, I couldn't have dreamed about Ki-Chan and her friends, and I'd probably just be a struggling cartoonist, if anything at all. And my art may not have taken the turns it has over the last few years, honing my original craft of cartooning to begin with.

And because of the torture I endured, faculty changed at that school, the school was bought out, and they now have an incredible anti-bullying policy based off of the little girl they called "Miss 1995" who happens to be me. No child will endure what I did to the level that I did, without the school dropping some major justice onto the bullies.

I still hate Wrestlemania 11. I still say it makes no sense why Bam Bam didn't win and the overall card was all over the place, but now, I can finally say I understand gratitude. In a weird, brain damaged way (litterally) I can say that I am grateful this PPV happened at all.

I can still make the joke that this card was so bad, it gave me a concussion, but now I can show gratitude too. The concussion I earned from this entire episode set me on a path I never would have imagined otherwise, and now, I can loosen my teeth and stop gritting them.

Mine is not a normal existence, but it makes for some good demon hunting.


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