Your music. Better.

David Francisco Platillero

Am I a Victim?

On April 27th, 2016, I was hit by a distracted driver while riding my bicycle in Nashville, TN. 9 witnesses testify that it was no fault of my own. I woke up with no leg function. I had no idea how much of a life-altering accident this would be. Am I a victim?

option 1: I am a victim.

It's been the hardest year and a half of my life. To be honest, every day I worry that I'll pee in my pants. It could happen any time. I wear diapers to sleep. I still can't poop without using a glove. It's embarrassing. I'm a virgin and will never experience intimacy normally. I get weird looks from people sometimes when I walk into a room. I can't bend my knees while walking without falling straight to the ground. And walking with straight legs puts a lot of wear on my knee joints, so I wear knee braces to minimize the long-term damage I am doing. My feet get swollen and purple when I stand for more than 5 minutes. I can't sit for more than 10 minutes without my back hurting. I used to wakeboard, mountain bike, run a 4:44 mile, climb. Things I can't do the same way anymore. These things were taken from me at no fault of my own. I am a victim.

option 2: I am not a victim.

YOU AND ME.jpg

I have an incredible family. I'm engaged to the most beautiful girl I've ever seen. I've met and played music with some of my heroes in the past year. I've played to a full house at the Bijou Theatre. I've gone from no leg movement to being able to walk almost anywhere on forearm crutches. I've completed audio engineering school at Blackbird Academy. I've recorded 20+ songs in the past year. I'm independent. I'm alive. I'm breathing. I still have my brain. I still have my arms. My hands. I have purpose. I am not a victim.

So am I a victim?

Every day I wake up with a choice. I can let the things that happen to me define me, or I can define my life despite my circumstances. I sometimes find myself choosing to be a victim. It never helps. Yes, I can justify it. Yes, it's hard. But guess how far it's gotten me. NOWHERE.

I don't think I would have progressed as much as I have, done the Bijou show, or be engaged, had I chosen to be a victim. I wouldn't be happy. I wouldn't have purpose. I wouldn't have joy. I don't even like thinking about where I would be as a victim. I wouldn't have the platform I've gained, because no one wants to listen to someone complain about their lives. I AM NOT A VICTIM.

We live in an age of victims

I don't know your story. Your struggles. Your journey is your own. I can't tell you how to deal with whatever you're going through. I have only experienced one kind of struggle. But I do know that mindset has been key for me. Please, please don't be a victim of your circumstances. Please fight the fight. I can guarantee that you will find joy. You will find purpose. Others will be encouraged, because the fight is contagious. You'll find that you can do more than you realized. You'll find you are the only thing holding yourself back from joy. 

I may never fully heal. In fact, I've never heard of someone fully healing from a spinal cord injury. But I've embraced the life I have. And if I focus on the right things, it's an incredible life. No comparing. No complaining. Just thankfulness for the good. I've never experienced such highs and lows in my life. And I think they generally come hand in hand. The lows that I've experienced have made the highs that much higher. 

What if everyone decided to take ownership of how they respond to their oppression/trials? What would the world look like if people pushed harder when the going got tough?

My Brave Desire

I wrote this song a while ago about a desire I had to be brave. I love playing it now, because I've been forced be brave since the moment my back was broken. It represents how I am facing my trial. You may find yourself in the same place. I hope it encourages you.

I AM NOT A VICTIM. Are you?

Comment below with your thoughts.

"Thank the Lord I Got Hit By a Car"

April 27th, 2016. The sun was (probably) high in Nashville, Tennessee. I just got out of class, and was on my way home. The short distance and feeling of freedom/eco-friendliness were reasons enough to ride my bike (bicycle, like no motor) to class every day. But that day as I went through the traffic light, I would not sail through as I usually did. A distracted driver would come through the red light and T-bone me at approx. 35mph.

I mean... Dang!

I mean... Dang!

2 rods, 8 titanium screws...

2 rods, 8 titanium screws...

My spine was instantly crushed at the L1 column. I had what now looks like a bear claw gash on my back. Collapsed lung. Severe concussion (I think I'm still with it lol?). My arm must have shattered the windshield, because it was bleeding out badly. One of my arteries had been torn open, so much so that a Jimmy John's driver across the road saw it and came to help. She made a tourniquet around my humerus (lol?), and had someone hold my head straight. I was unconscious for a while, but apparently a few minutes after the tourniquet was made, I started coming to. An ambulance came and rushed me to Vanderbilt shortly afterwards.

The following weeks were the most painful of my life. Headaches, back pain/soreness, leg pains, general weakness, nausea... the list goes on and on. But worse was the mental pain. Not a day went by without a new realization of what my new life would be like. My legs didn't move a wink. No more soccer, biking, wake boarding, hiking, going anywhere that wasn't "accessible". Could I have kids? Could I even use the bathroom normally again? This hit me hard. I sometimes wondered "why live if it's so difficult?" It's hard enough to take a step back, but now I couldn't step at all. 

It was also extremely difficult for family. My parents lived with me for the two months following the accident in a small hospital apartment. They totally altered their lives to make sure I was ok (super grateful for them :) ).

In my situation, one must ask ,"What did God have to do with this? If he's in control, why does he allow tragedy to happen?" Here was my train of thought:

"This accident just "happened". God isn't really involved in my life, or anything on earth below a macro level. He wouldn't do this to someone. A broken and fallen world sure would though. The world is messed up as a result of sin, and I'm just glad this won't happen in heaven. I guess God wants me to make the most of this."

While I think I was close, there was something I didn't yet understand about God:

GOD IS IN THE BUSINESS OF REDEMPTION

All of the stories have a theme: God using broken situations/people to do incredible things. Joseph. Saul (Paul). Jesus, who is really the ultimate example as he was killed and God used it to give Him and us eternal life! It's clear when you look in the Bible, but it takes on a whole new meaning when you experience it.

There are so many ways God has redeemed this accident, it's almost ridiculous. First of all, my legs are literally being redeemed, and there's a chance I will walk again someday. Second, I have joined the "sufferer's club". It's actually not all bad! In the club are people who understand through experience how to live without, how to suffer well. And people in the club have a story that's compelling. My words have more weight than they used to (you're reading this aren't you? :)). And I have something real to say. More than just the picture perfect life, I have a life that's been broken and is being rebuilt. We as humans are drawn to this narrative. Just watch any movie ever. 

I listened to Viktor Frankl's book "Man's Search for Meaning", in which he details his experience in concentration camp as a Psychiatrist (he's also in the sufferer's club x10000000). One of my favorite lines from the book is:

“In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.” 

Suffering is an opportunity to find new meaning. I have a hope that the meaning of all this suffering is to gain a platform from which to proclaim the God who takes broken situations and redeems them for His glory and our good! Talk about a thesis statement for life!

I will end with some incredible wisdom from James 1:

"2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. "

This is why I can thank God that I got hit on April 27th. He's given me purpose and hope. I would encourage you to see suffering as an opportunity to be mature and complete!

Dave

My Speakers Are Bigger Than Yours

This is the world we live in:

Let me start by saying I'm an Audiophile. And I have to be, because it's my job. I don't want you to become an audiophile, I merely want to share some things with you that you may never have thought of, from my perspective, specifically about speakers. This is meant to be informative, like one of those food documentaries on Netflix. I'd love your thoughts in the comments!

We want to hear more music than ever, to have access to every song made, but do we actually care about how it sounds when we listen to it?

To me it's odd how, as a whole, Americans have decided to care about screen size of their phones, but not speaker sizes for their music. Large companies like Apple and Beats are encouraging these trends in the way they advertise larger screens and smaller speakers (pic above), informing us of what we should get in a speaker. Without realizing it, we think smaller speakers is what we want, because the big guys are making them that way.

Why do I have a problem with small speakers? They are more convenient, aren't they? The problem lies in this fact:

Music travels through the air, and the more air you want to move, the bigger a device you need to move the air.

Low frequencies, where the bass and kick drum normally lie, are completely gone with a small (3" or less) speaker. Because to make a sound wave that big, you need to move lots of air, and a small speaker cone doesn't physically have the capabilities. 

For example, I listened to one of my own mixes on computer speakers before releasing it and realized the song sounded like it was one chord the whole time, because the chords changed in the bass line! See for yourself.

Do you see the trend in the diminishing value of the music experience? 

Here are some reasons I see this trend taking place:

1. Convenience. We've put speakers in the technological category of smaller is better. The value has shifted from quality to ease of use.

2. A new music listening paradigm. "The Spotify Effect". See my first blog post for more on that. The average listener cares more about a catchy hook than hearing a great balance of sound. I want infinite music, and I want it now.

3. The big guys. When Bose and JBL are producing more and more of these wireless speakers, they're promoting this way of listening to music for the hook. But they're making bank off of the convenience of these "tweeters".

I'm not saying you should go buy two 12" speakers and put them in every room of your house, but many homes I go into these days don't even have a set of speakers! Just computer speakers or earbuds. Or a MONO bluetooth speaker.

Let me end with an illustration of the problem I see with the listening mediums we use today.

We need to seriously up the last part of our signal chain. "A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link"

We need to seriously up the last part of our signal chain. "A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link"

Again, I think it's more the fact that we don't think about music quality as much as convenience or efficiency, which I believe is also the reason we have streaming services... Give me convenience, quick and easy. I liken Spotify to a "buffet of sound".

This is a gross over-generalization, but I think most people would agree that:

As a whole, the audio playback mediums have greatly diminished in quality and size over the past 15 years.

A dorm room from the 70s. This guy knows how to move air :)

A dorm room from the 70s. This guy knows how to move air :)

As you can see from this guys haircut, it used to be cool to have big speakers. Let's make good sound cool again. Let's value the music experience again. I don't want my speakers to be a stocking stuffer :)

How do you listen to music, and why? Am I totally missing it? Leave comments below!

David