HeavyI became known as Heavy back in high school. There's definitely a heaviness to what I do. "Heavy" is not just the weight even though I’m a big guy. I’m very artistic and it’s in the moment for me and the way I do everything from my work with epilepsy, to theatre groups for important causes from social justice to mental health. I play the bass guitar in a couple of bands and I’m a motivational speaker. I speak to how to cope with post-traumatic stress disorders, panic attacks and avoiding substance abuse as a coping mechanism.
Before all this, before I got diagnosed with epilepsy, I got kicked out of school and I couldn't maintain a job. So my mother took me to Ecuador, our motherland, to kind of clear my head and try to get my life together.
Over there I got into severe car accident and that left me in a coma for a week. I went through brain surgery and after brain surgery couldn't read, I couldn't speak and I couldn't understand what feelings were. And that's where I was diagnosed with epilepsy.
Talk about turning your life around. Prior to that, if this didn't happen, I'd probably be in jail or drunk and high right now.
When I got back here, I had to re-learn everything. Soon enough, I wanted to get back in to the community because I wasn't doing anything. I found music again, I played in a band and got into spoken word and hip hop. I also needed to build my confidence so I joined a theatre group and got to do presentations on social justice. While all of this was going on I wasn’t having seizures yet.
I remember just going to a studio one night and while in the car, I just couldn't breathe, and my head was spinning and I'm hearing cars honking, traffic, dogs barking and then boom. That grand mal was the grand entrance into me having seizures.
I got on medication but I was ashamed. My best friends didn't want to hang out with me because they said all these seizures could be contagious and I was going to “kill a moment.” Yes I've had a seizure on the TTC, the theaters and at City Hall. I even had one while performing but I was able to educate my band mates ahead of time and everything was okay. I have auras and I’m usually able to lay myself down to the ground and put myself to the side and then have a seizure. You learn from negative things, it becomes a lesson.
I do everything under one heavy dream and what one heavy dream is the mindset that you can accomplish everything if you put your heart into it. I came from a point where I couldn't read, I couldn't speak, I couldn't do anything to where I'm at right now. I was kicked out of high school when I was 17 and I was 32 when I finished Adult school. I always tell people that you know it's never too late to learn anything.
You've got to be determined to make something happen.
*stories have been condensed and edited