At the age of 10, an accidental pointblank shotgun blast to my face by my best friend, completely change my life's perspective as it left me without sight or smell.  Yet I couldn't ask for a better life or story.

It would be nice to be able to choose the life we were born into, but unfortunately we must deal with the hand we are dealt.  Although I was born in the land of the greatest opportunity, those opportunities were buried deep in a tangled web of drugs, alcohol, gangs, sex, violence, and unfortunately the devastating accident that happened to me. My memories of my younger years before my accident were that of chaos.  My mother was an alcoholic, my father was the president of a notorious biker gang.  Me and my 5 step brothers and sisters, were left to fend for ourselves as our parents raised Hell. After my parent's apartment was damaged in an earthquake, at the age of 4, me and my younger sister were sent to Utah to live with my grandparents.  My dad left my life, but mom returned several months later because she needed the welfare and child support checks to continue with her drugs and alcohol use.  I was in survival mode at this young age as mom and the adults around me continued with their activities.  At the age of 7 my sister, brother and me were placed in foster care for the first time after our house caught fire and we lived in a burnt, gutted home for more than a month.  Foster care proved to be no better as I was physically and emotionally abused by my foster care parents and their children.  After a year and a half we were returned to our mother.    A short time after reuniting, at the age of 10, my mom sent me to my best friends house to spend a few weeks as summer kicked off.   After a fun morning of playing in the creek and chasing rabbits, we went back to his house where we stumbled upon a gun cabinet in his brother's bedroom.  As I sat on the bed facing the blue wall where the gun cabinet was, my friend grabbed a shotgun.  Although we had grown up around guns our whole life and knew it wasn't a toy, my friend, messing around, inadvertently slapped the gun as he held it up and pointed it at me; however, we did not know a rusty shell had been left in the chamber from the year before.  I remember telling him to remember what dad said, "Always treat a gun as if it was loaded."  My friend did not pull the trigger but rather the inadvertent slap to the side of the gun caused the firing pin to drop, but due to the rusty shell there was a delay in detonation.  After saying those words I looked back at the blue wall when the lights went out.  I woke up in the hospital after a month in a coma with my life altered forever.  I spent the next two years in and out of hospitals enduring numerous surgeries and countless hours of therapy.  After returning home, I found much of the same only I couldn't see or smell it, but the pain of life continued, although at the time it was all that I knew.  Life was hard and there was not much sympathy for me.  I had to learn to adapt or parish.  My mother, drinking more than ever, manipulated the foster care system several more times accusing me of being uncontrollable, when in fact it was her life that she couldn't control.   A near 7 figure insurance settlement apparently made for a good time for my mother and friends as when I turned 18 I learned the money was gone, and my house was taken from me.  

Mark's trials and tribulations