I was born on December 17th, 1973, in Decatur, Georgia, at 11:35am.
I was adopted at two weeks of age by my loving parents, Edward and Hazel Castellani. I have one adopted brother, David Castellani, and one half-birth sister, Vera Anne Stover.
Currently each of my family members live on complete opposite spectrums of the United States. My Parents are in Florida, brother in Washington State, my half sister lives in Texas.
On Decemeber 4, 1993, I was in an altercation where I suffered a head injury. I was in a four day coma and when I came too, my eyes had crossed, I had trouble speaking, I lost all equilibrium and mobility on primarily my left side, and could not walk unassisted.
I was at Harborview Hospital in Seattle for a month doing physical therapy and speech therapy. I eventually left the hospital in a wheelchair, later graduated to a walker, and then for some time after, I used a cane. The doctors prognosis of my injury upset my parents and friends a great deal, and it is probably one of the lowest points of my life. Doctors conveyed that physical rehabilitation would be a life long process, and that people with traumatic brain injuries have little to no hope of significantly changing.
In retrospect, the information was sparse and fragmented and the negative “sentences” that the doctors gave was more of a poor legal disclaimer. Even though there are effects today, it wasn’t an accurate hypothetical of my situation. Life deals tough breaks, and in many head injury cases the situation is much worse. How was I to know what would happen in the future? How is anyone supposed to know, for that matter? They didn’t, and no one can foretell the future.
I had never been in a position where my reality had been so altered. There was nothing I could do but accept and adapt. My eyes were crossed and my left foot would not “sync” with a regular pattern of walking. There was nothing I could do about it, I had to focus on what I could do because I couldn’t understand half of what was said to me for years to come. For 8 years I found myself off balance, quite literally. I practiced my pronouncing words in a mirror for over a year and a half. Even today, I will stop mid sentence and re-start a sentence if I feel as though I am saying it improperly. Some people think I write this for understanding or a need for compassion, …maybe at one time, but now I just want to move on. The incident has has altered my life enough. I have accepted it as being a part of who I am and I’m ready to move on. I have carried so much rage over the circumstances of December 4th and it effected me to such an extent, that they have shadowed the entire decade of my twenties.
In 2008, I made the discovery that I had a younger half-sister Vera Anne and also confirmed that my roots are Greek, Cherokee and slightly Welch.
Regrettably, my birth mother Mary Jo Stover passed away April 22nd, 2005.
Today I have close relationships with my adopted family and a distant but amiable relationship with my sister. My conclusion? We don’t choose our family’s, they choose us.
I remember many things about my mostly loving childhood, but above all, the reoccurring theme that stands out to me is in the 7th grade, when I first noticed a world beckoning to me.
I am not a theoretical person, I am quite literally a creative “take your time, but hurry up,” kind of person. Some believe that life is about suffering silently, and that by remaining silent a person can remain cozy in their safe suffering… and one day they will graduate to the new society of real martyrdom. Skeptical bosses and skeptical employees are two sides of the same sad little fat pigeons in the park. Being a nay sayer makes you incredibly backed up and will not save you either. Being a nay sayer makes you negative, manipulative. Silence will not save you.
I started yoga in 2006, when I first started working at Yoga Journal Magazine as a temporary employee. I was then hired on permanently, and my practice continued to flourish. Today, with regular and consistent practice, I have seen huge improvements in my physical, mental and emotional abilities, in every area – but, particularly my left side.
I am now doing things that I seriously never thought I would be able to do again…like regaining range of motion in my left leg, getting better with balance and (oddly enough, because I don’t wear my glasses when I practice) my depth perception. Yoga humbles me on a regular basis and I am constantly amazed by how my life continues to change. With the best of intentions, I would encourage anyone to start today.
I have since left Yoga Journal to start Yoganomics, continuing to work in fields related to yoga. I am currently more engaged with individual studio’s and individual teachers, than I ever have been.
Yoga has opened up the world to me in so many different ways and now it my intention is to give back to the community that I now call home.
In November 2009, I started Yoganomics. I spend a great deal of time alone because I am in the most unknown territory that I have yet to experience. Sometimes I am completely terrified and other times I think I just might make it.
I try to practice yoga 4-5 days a week. Feel free to drop me a line if you’re in town and want to go to a class. Yoga has given me a worldwide community of people I love being around, and each person I get to meet, I always walk away feeling blessed.
© 2006 – 2010 Yoganomics®. Design & Production by Brian Castellani. All rights reserved.