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Recovering From Life Threatening Injuries And Developing Forgiveness with Jalyn Black
This is your host, Taylor Smith, health guru, health expert extraordinaire. With me is the wonderful, Sean Entin.
I’m the stroke hacker.
Why are you the stroke hacker?
We are hacking a stroke, but not only that. We are hacking many things together and we’re finding the healing sources of our love and our heart.
You fell into a new practice.
I meditate every day now. If I don’t do it, my day is horrible.
I got connected with my soul. I cleared the clutter and I calmed everything down in my brain, all the noise. It didn’t happen overnight. I’m going on my second or third week now. It takes about three weeks to get anything going. The consistency of it is amazing because I’m high functioning, high stress, and multi-everything that my time in the morning when I do this calms me down and I’m clear. Thank you for being there because you’re the one who’s been saying it to me and finally, I took up the practice and I love it.
It’s a challenging practice because you don’t get it until you get it. In order to get into it, you have to commit to going for it without necessarily understanding where it’s going. It’s not one of those things you can reach out and grasp like a lot of other aspects of health.
It’s forcing me to sit down in a posture and shut everything off; the phone and the connection to the outside world and let my head go into my heart.
There are a lot of reasons to do meditation and there’s layer after layer. It’s most basic for everyone and anyone that will benefit from this is it’s understanding yourself, but specifically understanding how to manage stress in the body. Meditation, in my experience, is one of the most powerful ways to not only understand stress in the body but also to take action on reducing stress in the body. The simplest way to do that is to deepen your breath. They’ve done scientific study after scientific study that deepening the breath and getting into this state automatically calms the central nervous system down.
There are two main branches of the central nervous system. There’s the parasympathetic which is the rest, digest, everything’s okay mode. There’s the sympathetic, which is the fight or flight survival state. You’re biologically wired in the stress state to only be trying to survive. If you want to live a life that’s beyond simply surviving, you have to train your mind, your body, everything to come out of the stress state and into the unstressed, more relaxed, calm, parasympathetic nervous system where creativity happens. It’s where healing in the body happens and where you can almost sit back and take the whole scene in.
Please share this with your family and your friends. Please go to the iTunes Podcast store or if you’re on Stitcher or if you’re on Google Play, share this with your family and friends because this next star, Jalyn Black, is a story that you will not forget. I promise you.
Before we go into who Jalyn is, I want to go jump into iTunes and read you another one of our awesome five-star reviews. If you get the chance, jump over there. Leave a five-star view, a sentence or two about what you love, what you want to hear more of so we can start to incorporate the audience more. This episode’s title of the review is called, “Such Connection and Inspiration,” by user Hazz Design. “I listened to the episode with John Livesay first and was impressed by how sensitive and deeply the connection the hosts make with their guests. In this case, they provided him with both support and inspiration. I’m looking forward to much more.” Big shout-out to Hazz Design for leaving that review and we’re looking forward to hearing more from all our wonderful audience.
Send a review and maybe we’ll send you a shirt or a mug or something. We’re going to make all that happen. Our guest is Jalyn Black. Before I go into it, this guy was on top of the world. He was in school and all of a sudden, he got beat up and left underneath a car. His wallet was taken and the shoes were taken. This guy had everything. He was robbed and mugged. The jaw was busted in three places and his skull was cracked. How do you even get up from that and keep going? Now he’s built a company. He’s a friend of our friend producer, Nick. Nick and Taylor are on this show. My heart is filled with love and inspiration. I cannot wait to meet Mr. Black and thank him.
Welcome to the show, Jalyn. Welcome to the show, Nick. How are you all doing?
What’s going on Taylor and Nick? I appreciate you guys for having me on.
I’m doing well. I’m glad to hear your voice, Jalyn. It’s been a while.
It’s been a little bit.
Nick is the guy behind-the-scenes producing social media for the show. If you haven’t been over to Facebook or Instagram yet, go check it out and see what he’s been up to. Jalyn is a good friend of yours. How did you guys originally meet and get to know each other?
I played football and I got a little scholarship to play football out in Greensboro, North Carolina where I met Jalyn. He’s a good-hearted person. You attract what you put out. Ever since, we’ve been good friends.
Is that accurate, Jalyn?
That’s pretty accurate. That was 2011 when we first met. Nick was in school playing football and I was in school right down the street. I was a freshman and we had mutual friends so we met. In fact, my friends, the guys I was close with, stayed right down the street from Nick. I did an exchange program and they came and visited me out there. How long were you out there, Nick? You were out there for about a month?
I came out to visit you in Europe for about a month.
What part of Europe where you at?
I was in Plymouth, England. I did an exchange program. Nick came out there for a week and then we went to Rome. We were in Rome for a couple of weeks having a good time. Nick was having such a great time; he decided to stay another week or so.
If you’re going to do it, you might as well go big. I don’t know when the next time I’m going to be in Europe so I’ve got to make it count.Meditation is one of the most powerful ways to not only understand stress but also to take action on reducing stress in the body. Click To Tweet
I’ve heard stories before of people go somewhere for a weekend up there for two years or so.
That happens, you go with it.
The same thing happens when you come to Cali.
We’ll get into a little bit of Jalyn’s story because you’ve been through a traumatic experience.
Time tells all but it definitely was traumatic. I still think about it pretty frequently.
How many years ago?
It happened around April 9th, 2015.
Do you want to go into the story and let us know what led up to the event? Walk us through, give us the details.
What exactly happened to you?
To this day, I don’t know honestly. I can’t recall that incident or the weeks afterward, even during that time period I couldn’t recall. I do know I was in my apartment complex. I was a leasing agent in Greensboro while I was in college. I went to a friend’s party. He’s the guy that stayed in my apartment complex. I went over there. I had a couple of drinks. I was headed back to my apartment where I got into some type of confrontation with multiple people. I was assaulted and I broke my jaw in three places, cracked my skull in two places. I had some pretty bad brain damage. They pulled me under a car. I was found later under a car. I’m not sure how much time elapsed but somebody else who was at my friend’s house called the police. I took an ambulance ride to the hospital. I was in the ICU for two weeks. I couldn’t do surgery to fix my jaw originally because I had significant brain damage. They were worried about putting me under at the time. They wanted to stabilize me before they worked to fix on my jaw. I had a pretty broken jaw in three different places for at least a week. I don’t recall too much.
Once I went to the hospital, I started remembering bits and pieces. I remember I did have to learn how to walk, talking not so much because I have my mouth wired shut for three or four months. It was traumatic because to this day I still don’t recall. To this day, I’m still dealing with some residual effects of that. You get people like Kanye West or 50 Cent when you break your jaw especially where you break your jaw or where your joint is, you don’t get the same jaw function back. I lost some permanent feelings from nerve damage. That’s a daily reminder as well.
Walking home, you get blindsided out of nowhere by multiple people and you don’t even see what’s going on. Before you know it, you’re blacked out on the ground and dragged under a car.Your brain tends to repress memories in order to protect you. Click To Tweet
I can’t even tell you the sequence. They were trying to explain to me that when traumatic things like that happen, your brain will start with that memory. The weeks it took to recover, I still can’t remember some of those things. In a nutshell, I know for a fact I went to the house and I know for a fact that I was leaving the house before that happened. I know for a fact they found me under the car with multiple wounds.
I didn’t know about them finding you under a car. When I found out, I was told that you were found in the ditch. Either/or, it’s a terrible thing. They literally took the time out to drag you under a car.
The first thought that came into my mind was what if someone didn’t see you under the car and someone started the car?
I had to go see a neurologist for weeks afterward even when I was in ICU. The one thing I do remember people telling me was I was extremely lucky with the situation and even the recovery. I’m not sure where I’ll be if I wasn’t found. At the time, I had a concerned girlfriend. She was coming home around that time when she probably got led to people searching for me and trying to figure out where I was. I got lucky for sure.
You lose track of everything that’s going on. It’s completely understandable in that situation. You wake up in the hospital. What are the first thoughts going through your mind when you wake up in the hospital?
I do remember first waking up in between them fixing my jaw. I broke my jaw in three different places so my jaw was hanging down. My parents were there. I was confused. I didn’t understand or know what was going on. Honestly, I didn’t stay conscious long enough to start stringing thoughts together until about two weeks after that incident. I wasn’t in a coma or anything because I’ll wake up and then ask for my pain medicine and then go back to sleep. When people came and visited me, I can’t tell you who came and visited me when I was in the hospital, in the ICU. After that would be what happened and how I had ended up in a situation. Barely, my thoughts were able to come to and piece everything together.
I’m trying to put myself in your shoes, which is hard to do. I can’t imagine waking up and being disoriented and beat up and wondering, “What happened to me?”
I didn’t have my hat, my shoes, my phone and my wallet either, which is a story in itself. The first thing I remember was thinking, “Where’s my stuff?”
From that moment where you’re in the hospital, I imagine you have to go through some physical recovery, some mental recovery. What was the process like?
I had some pretty significant brain damage. Thankfully now I’m not experiencing the residuals of that anymore. I remember learning how to walk again. They would have me pace back and forth in my room. I had to eventually learn to walk up and down stairs again, which was tough. I do remember that being difficult. I was frustrated because I was out of breath and I was weak at the time. In between that, the head psychologist was coming in and a mental therapist was coming in to see my state. They were explaining to me that if I don’t remember everything, it’s okay because your brain tends to repress that to protect you. After the hospital, I’m seeing my neurologist. I saw him on a weekly basis for the first couple of months. I used him as a therapist and talking to him about how I felt. It was good to speak with somebody that could help you, a professional telling me what I was feeling was normal. It was reassurance knowing that I’m not the only one like this and there’s a light at the tunnel. If I stay strong and fight hard then I’ll be able to get back to my normal self.
What kept you motivated? You were getting frustrated with relearning how to walk and getting out of breath quickly and not being able to complete it. What kept you going to the end of the light?
The only thing I remember being in the hospital, even the small couple days after I finally was released after the surgery, was the support I got from my family and friends. I had it legit. My immediate family came up the night of or maybe the morning, sometime immediately. I started seeing my aunts and my uncles. Greensboro was about an hour-and-a-half, two hours from Charlotte which is where our family’s from. Seeing them gave me a little boost. I started seeing a lot of people from school and in the Greensboro area. It motivated me. My girlfriend at the time started a GoFundMe. I saw all these good things, people wishing me the best. I was on the news. That was my biggest motivational factor, having that support system through the whole process even when I was able to come to. People were wishing me well.Support is always key to getting you back better from adversities. Click To Tweet
When I was able to leave the hospital, I ended up moving back to Charlotte for about a few months just hanging out. The amount of support I got from my family and friends was single-handily my biggest motivational factor, knowing that I had people I could rely on and fall back on and people who were cheering me on. It was crazy because a couple of years later, I go to a barbershop in Greensboro and everybody in the barbershop recognized me as the guy that was on the news. They asked, “Are you okay? I haven’t seen you in a while. I heard what happened.” People having that genuine concern for my wellbeing was definitely a big factor for me getting better. It motivated me to want to get back to where I am. Honestly, that situation in itself is a motivational factor for everything I’m trying to do now.
You touch on a common theme that’s been coming up in the show as we talk to more and more people and tell their stories. That’s how important community is in our lives, especially when we’re in a time of need.
That was the biggest thing. I have family and friends around but even the doctors and the nurses, when they heard what happened, they banded together and helped me out a lot too when I was in the ICU and stuff. You could tell everybody was on it and pushing me to get back to being 100%. The biggest single factor was the sense of community, friends, family and strangers alike, people I may have seen once in my life and people I don’t know. That was definitely the biggest thing that pushed me through.
We’ve noticed too that you’re the one who went through the traumatic experience, but it has an impact. If a meteor hit the Earth, there’s an impact radius. You’re the one who was affected, but the ones that are close to you, the ones that love you are impacted by the event as well. I was wondering if anyone who saw you and heard what happened, did it stir up these feelings of, “We’ve got to go find these people. We’re angry and upset.”
A lot of people, family, and friends, we’re saying let’s figure this out. I have fraternity brothers definitely talk with it in Greensboro that helped me out. As I was recovering and as I was trying to come to, I was saying that honestly, I wouldn’t wish anything like this upon anybody. Whoever did that knew who they were because I was in the news in Charlotte, Raleigh. They had me all over the place. Whoever did that knew who they were. They knew that people or at least the law enforcement were looking for them. I hope that alone can be a learning lesson to see that maybe they didn’t need to impact my life the way they did.
Honestly, going through that I don’t wish ill will on anybody because I don’t want anybody to go through this. People took that and fell back from trying to spiteful about the situation and focus more on helping me get better. To this day, I generally don’t wish any ill on individuals that did that to me, but I definitely do hope they learned something from that. I don’t think that you have to be punished or go through some type of physical disparity to learn. That’s how I feel about it. To this day, we never figured out who did it.
That’s a powerful perspective and I’ve got a tough question for you. If they were sitting in front of you right now, what would you say to them?
I would tell them that the decision they made impacted my life forever. It’s something I already came to peace with. I want to let them know that I don’t hate them for it. We all make mistakes. Hopefully, they will grow from that and see their viewpoint on everything, to see what exactly happened and the follow-up that came from that. Is there anything that they took away from it? Where are they now as a person? I will let them know that I got some nerve damage. I’ll be more interested to see what they would say about what they took away from that.
That’s the turn of the cheek, that’s the Martin Luther King approach. That’s why I befriended you. You have a good, kind soul. It’s only right that the community backed you up. You were a fraternity brother, a staple in the community. You were the treasurer of UNCG.
I was a leasing agent for a popular apartment complex in Greensboro where that incident happened. I had a tremendous amount of support from them, from UNCG, A&T, Greensboro College, all the universities around that area. Their general support got me through.
That hit me what you said, that you want to understand where they’re coming from and hope they learned a lesson because that’s a hard pill to swallow. It reminds me of something my mom used to tell me, “Always be the better person.” I remember that to this day. It plays over and over in my head whenever I get frustrated or if I have no one to lash out. It’s like, “No, I’ve got to take solace in knowing who I am.”
Especially because it happened in the past. No matter how mad you get, no matter what you do, it’s not going to change what happened. You’re just focusing negative energy.When you feel like giving up, always just give it one more day. Click To Tweet
I was frustrated. I wanted to figure it out too. I was doing my research. I was telling cousins, uncles and all that good stuff that I’m good. As time went on, maybe a few weeks later, I turned a different side. Years later, I don’t hate anybody. I don’t hate the person or people that did this. You want to know what happened, see if they were able to take something from that without having to deal with the repercussions other than whatever’s on his conscious and psyche.
You’re a strong man. I don’t know if people have been paying attention because we did say you had graduated from college and studied abroad, and this all happened after the injury. Not only did you have the strength to recover but you also had the strength to get back out into the world, finish college and go overseas. If I remember correctly, didn’t you say you played some football over there as well?
I played American football. I got to play collegiate league over there. I told everybody too that I wouldn’t have done the exchange program if that didn’t happen to me. After that happened, I was like, “I need to do something.” It pushed me to do the exchange program. Looking back now, I look at that incident not as a gift because a gift is something that you want, but it’s definitely something that stimulated and spun me in the direction where I am now. I got to be more grateful for something like that, to get out from something like that. I would have never done that exchange program if that hadn’t happened. Essentially in college, I had that happened conflict in the semester and I had decent enough grades to where my professors gave me my grades as well, so I didn’t take any finals or anything that semester. I had the summer to take a break.
During that late spring, early summer time, I’m trying to get my thinking back to where it was. I had to take some time the first semester going back to school. I wasn’t reading as fast, I wasn’t understanding concepts as fast. This was something that was totally going to happen due to brain damage. Having that support, having the motivation and the determination from that situation, at this point, I definitely was looking at trying to do an exchange program. To have that exchange program was fuel for what I wanted to do. It pushed me and now nobody can tell that I still have some disability from this situation or I got used to it or overcame it. I can’t know the difference. I was able to graduate and do the exchange program and get back to contact sports and playing football, which was fun. That was motivation between the family and the community and all that. I was given a gift to overcome that with my family and friends and a community. Being able to overcome that made me a stronger person. Looking at myself, if I can overcome that, there are not too many things that can’t be done in my life on a day-to-day basis, that I can’t handle or that I can’t at least tackle and try to overcome.
I don’t think there’s nothing too much your boss or anybody else can do to you worse than that.
It’s inspiring to hear that you took this event and allowed it to propel you into new adventures and new growth rather than sitting back and asking those questions like, “Why me?”
I went through that too, “Why me?” and all that. You sit around doing that you’re not going to get any type of answer you’re looking for. You realize that you can shield yourself all you want, but that’s not going to change the situation or what’s happened. What’s done is done. You got to move forward from that. The fact is you’ll pass the “Why me?” as you’ll pass that little spiteful stage where I was figuring out what I got to do and figure out how I can get back out there and what have you. All that problem pushed me past that. I’m grateful for whatever happened. I wouldn’t be where I am now and be the same person now if something like that didn’t happen in my life.
I didn’t know you before the injury, but you sound great to me. It sounds like you’ve done the work and made that full recovery.
I appreciate it. I would be lying if I tell you guys I don’t still think about it every other day or most days. I look at it in a different light. This is my first time having a full conversation about this since the whole time period. It makes me appreciate where I am now, where I was, and where I could have been. It’s given me reassurance knowing that I do have that support group and that support behind me and they’re all sharing to make it. It’s a double purpose pushing me along.
When you said you’re talking about this for the first time, how does it feel to go through the whole story and share it?
Would you guys believe I went through that whole range of emotions when I said that I went through when it happened? I still am confused about it. I still think about it. I’m a little angry about the situation. Most importantly, I think about before I had it and the transition of being from angry to accepting what happened and the willingness to want to get better and to better myself in the situation. It’s my first time thinking about and reflecting on it. People ask about it every now and then when I talk. When they came to me asking about it, you’re not going to give them much stuff because I’m working day-to-day and stuff. I got lucky going on to be sitting here and talking about it to somebody feels good. If I share it more, I never going into depth mainly because it triggers some emotions for me.
Now, it’s going to be in the archives. Instead of telling people the story, you say, “Go read it over here so I don’t have to relive it.”
I don’t have to go through that range of emotions. I generally believe that people can benefit from the experiences of others. I do that every day. I travel around for work for a company. I travel to different accounts, meet different teams from these different accounts and develop and motivate teams. I’m off setting up accounts and establishing teams. I’ve taken so much from different people’s experiences and their stories. That also shapes me as a person and I use that for my job. The fact I can share my experience to hopefully benefit anybody, not just one person, it makes it worth it 110% every time.
I’m definitely glad you shared your experience. From hearing you talk, it’s releasing something off your shoulders. Getting to talk about it releases some tension from your experience.
Tucking that tension away over the years, it is nice to pull it back and release it a little bit. That does help.
Thank you much for coming on and sharing your story. I got one more question for you. To anyone out there who’s going through any trauma, whether it is physical or emotional, what’s your message for those people?
It will get better. Keep a positive mindset, which is impossible to think about sometimes. You can get to that point. There’s always a better day. Even when you get frustrated or feel like giving up hope, just give it one more day. That’s how I look at it. Also know that you can’t do it on your own. You can try to reach out to people or you can try to handle it internally, but you can’t do things like that on your own. The support you have, whether it’s one person or 100 people, that’s the key to getting you back better. Let them help you.
Jalyn, thank you so much.
Those are strong words from a strong man.
I appreciate this opportunity. Like I promised you, it’s my first time talking about the situation. I hope to help motivate and inspire others who have similar situations, any type of adversity, and any type of struggle. Get up and take it because after you overcome that, you will become a stronger and better person, not only because you know how to deal with that but dealing with that molds you into a stronger person.
Thank you. We appreciate you.
Thank you, JB.
About Jalyn Black
Business Administration major with a minor in Biology. Entrepreneur. Aspiring Medical Student.