Inspiration for TJ’s Hydrophobia in The United
1st, his sensistivity to bright lights. You may recall from the book that whenever he was exposed to bright lights, he got a headache. Tgerefore he always wore sunglasses. I have that same problem. When i step outside on a bright day without my sunglasses, i sneeze, and on occassion get a headache. I have a couple friends and a couple brothers who also sneeze in sunlight which i have learned after doing a quick google search is fairly common, effecting approximately 25% of the human population.
Second is TJ’s stutter and omission and odd phrasing of words. This trait to him is naturally occuring, but for me it is the result of a concussion caused by a traumatic blow to my head that litterally knocked my head on straight. No seriously, all the curvature in my neck was straightened out. The consequences of that blow extended beyond the stutter to other cognitive issues, such as a constant dull headache that lasted over ten years.
The third physical trait TJ suffered from was hydrophobia.
I am a natural born hydrophobe.
The only time in my mother’s life she was afraid of water was while she was pregnant with me. While in open water, or thinking about being in open water, or dreaming about open water my breath gets short, i get light headed, i clench my fists, i am told my skin turns pale, and I am afraid.
The one good thing i have learned from dealing with hydrophobia is to not allow my fears to control my actions.