Introducing Our Newest Wordsmith by Justine Amodeo
Published Date: 10-09-2015
Our “Food For Thought” dialogue is a unique landing spot for news, thoughts, events, research and interaction with Bluebird Canyon Farms. While guest writers will contribute to this forum, our main contributor will be Troy Thompson, a participant in the farm’s Growing Skills program. Thompson is a remarkable 25-year-old writer /artist/musician who was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis II at an early age. Over time he lost his ability to hear and became visually impaired but his mind, as you’ll see from his writing, is as sharp as a tack. The team at the farm communicates with Troy through his iPad (thank you, Siri), and so far, it’s been hard to keep up with his creativity. We asked Troy some questions to introduce him to the Bluebird Canyon Farms community.
Well, I’ve been disabled all my life, actually, though primarily in a visual capacity up until recently. The deafness – just another complication of my underlying condition – is a relatively new materialization in the ongoing saga that is my personal affliction. Both prior to and, in light of the deafness, however, I seldom if ever allowed my limitations to get the best of me. I participated in extracurricular activities – music, sports, painting, and sculpting – and, though I can’t necessarily say that I’ve succeeded across the board, I can definitely say that with assurance that at least I tried, right? Above all else, I developed a keen ear for music and composition over the years; one that’s persisted even to this day. And, even though I’m now deaf, I can still perform, compose, and am deeply passionate about my musical endeavours. In my free time, I’d generally write poems and short stories and have read various genres of literature. I’ve been social, to a certain extent, though that was never a major priority in my life. I’ve found a great deal of peace in the realization that true happiness comes from within. I attended grade-school at a private, Christian school, St. Mary and all Angels, in Aliso Viejo, California, and Aliso Niguel High School. After graduating from High School I went on to attend California State University, San Marcos, and received my Bachelor of the Arts in Human Development. I also hold a separate certification in Massage Therapy from the State of California.
What do you want to do with the gifts you have as a writer?
I’ve always had this dream of being a full-time writer – of poetry, and non-fiction, autobiographical humor, as well as possibly branching out into other genres over time. I recently wrote an autobiographical humor-based memoir that I’ve since titled Blessing in the Skies, which I hope to publish in the not too distant future. The title is a play on words for “Blessing in Disguise” and is largely premised around the sentiment that everything that happens in our lives, happens for a reason, and that reason is generally a lot broader, and thus, has deeper implications than we’re likely to perceive in the moment. I’ve won several contests over the years with my poetry and essays, as well, and generally like to write short stories with biblical implications underlying them whenever time permits. I also plan to set up my own website and blog within the not too distant future, as well.
How did you deal with the initial knowledge that your life had changed so dramatically?
Well, as I mentioned before, I’d been visually impaired from birth, though I wasn’t aware of the fact that I’d be visually impaired for life until about the age of three. My diagnosis with NF2 at the age of 13 is when I initially found out that I’d eventually be deafened. “This is just a staple of the disease,” my otologist claimed at that time. So I’ve had over a decade to “prepare,” so to speak, for what was impending – even though the reality, itself, didn’t set in until I actually had to face it two years ago at the age of 23. It was difficult at first, no doubt about it. But, as I mentioned before, it’s not like I didn’t know it was eventually going to happen. And so I think the foreknowledge of what was impending helped me come to terms with that, and I’m just doing my best trying to adapt to the changes that materialized in light of the loss. It hasn’t been impossible; it’s just different, though not necessarily in a bad way!
What is the most difficult thing about losing a sense?
It’s hard for most people to imagine losing a sense. Some of the most experiential facets of human life are sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. I’d honestly have to say that, in light of my personal experiences, the most challenging aspect of the loss is simply coming to terms with it. This is not a life-long, ongoing adaptation, however, and I believe that most people in my current condition are able to move on with their lives after a certain amount of time has elapsed. I believe that time heals, and time reveals things; it takes of what otherwise might appear to be broken or of limited value, and eventually puts the concept, as a whole, into perspective, while shining a brighter light on the circumstances themselves.
What do you want to share with the world?
At this point in my life – having experienced what I have, and, by the grace of God, living to see the day – what I think the world needs to know is that we all have a purpose, and life will always move on. We are not guaranteed XYZ number of years here on planet Earth, but we are given an amount of time, nonetheless, and thus, we should utilize this gift to our advantage and always dream as big as possible. Life is but a dream, and to die is to awaken from that dream. Irrespective of our limitations, we all have something to contribute to the world, in some capacity, and often have more of an impact on our fellow man than we think possible. It’s all about honing our abilities, interests, talents, and perspectives into something larger than ourselves. That’s the essence of life, if you ask me.