There’s a lot in motion in my life right now. I’ve found out so much about myself over this past year, and had so many small revelations. Some seem inconsequential, or nearly so. Others can be puzzling, or encouraging. All are enlightening in their own ways. I only have 30 minutes to write this, so I’ll try to fit the pieces together quickly, and worry less about readability than I might have, otherwise.
To begin with, I’m nearly finished with my copyediting certificate course at UCSD. I’ll be wrapping up business and marketing classes in two weeks, then taking one last class on heavy editing in January and receiving my certificate in March. However, with 20 years of previous editing and proofing experience in other types of jobs, I’m ready to be an editor now, even without the formal document in hand. I wish it hadn’t taken me so very long to find the courage to believe that I could do this. Now that I do believe, it seems very silly to have waited so long to move forward.
I’m still working my day job, but probably not for much longer. When my boss was fired without warning in August, it threw me into a tailspin and forced me to confront some things about myself. Why was I doing this job? What should I be doing? What would I be doing if I wasn’t scared? And while my coworker and I waited to find out what would happen to us now that our manager had been so unceremoniously disposed of, I scrambled to create a path forward, in case I also got canned. I decided it was time to start my business. I picked a name, started an LLC, and began building a website. Then I told my friends that I was looking for work. To my great surprise, work arrived.
Since making the announcement last month, I’ve edited a full-length horror anthology, a business website, and a white paper. I was offered a part-time job as a copyeditor for an energy consultant (not my dream client, but still very interesting, and it means that I’ll finally have the word “copyeditor” on my resume, which is worth its weight in gold to my fragile psyche). I’ve also spent a great deal of time mulling over work/life balance, income requirements, and how to live my best life. How much money do I really need? How many hours do I want to work each week? How do I arrange my life in such a way that it becomes second nature to include time for physical and mental health? How do I set up a farm in my backyard by next spring? How do I carve out time to walk the Camino again next fall?
So there’s all of that stuff happening. But also, there are so many other bits and pieces.
For instance, there’s my sobriety. In five days, I’ll have been sober from alcohol for 10 months. I don’t miss it. I don’t want it in my life. I’m kind of annoyed that it was sold to everyone I know as a cure-all, and a requirement of adulthood. My head is clear enough now that I can look around and see how alcohol has stunted the lives of my favorite people. And I am friends with some truly fucking brilliant, creative, wondrous people, y’all. People who love so hard. People who bring their gifts of design and music and heart into the world every day. But also people who hurt, who hide themselves, who accidentally dampen their output in an attempt to lessen the painful input. And it sucks to finally realize that, and to really have no way to do anything about it. I am just barely scratching the surface for myself, anyway. There’s a long way to go, and being self-righteous doesn’t look good on anyone. What I can and will do is be here, and fight hard for me, and be really vocal about that, so that anyone who is looking for a way out will see me and know they can use me as a guidepost. I hope to the gods that it makes a difference.
There’s also the ADHD. I was diagnosed over the summer, and what a relief to be able to spot the patterns now. It’s very affirming to have someone tell me that I’m not crazy, and that just because I was an exceptional student in high school doesn’t mean I haven’t struggled my entire life with this thing. I honestly wonder if I’m on the autism spectrum, as well. There are multiple markers. But it’s enough for right now to just have the one diagnosis.
For additional fun in the mental category, I realized maybe a year ago that people actually had inner voices. For my entire life, I’d thought that the concept of hearing your own voice in your head was a literary trope. Then I saw a post on Facebook about how nuts it was that some people didn’t have a literal inner monologue, and that was the beginning of a trip down the rabbit hole for me. So yeah, no voices in my head, thank goodness. But then there’s also the aphantasia. About a month ago, I belatedly realized that if everyone who said they “heard” their conscience actually had some sort of voice speaking to them in their head (or multiple voices, which is so creepy to me, but anyway), then what if people who said they were “visualizing” things actually saw pictures? Because yeah, you guessed it, I definitely do not. So. Here we are, 40 and just realizing that my mental processes are considerably different than 96% of the population.
But all of that is helpful information. I’m not stunted in any way. I’ve got a great imagination; it’s just that I don’t see images the same way that it sounds like most people do. I get fuzzy outlines of ideas, and I write them down to make them clear. It explains why drawing and painting from imagination has always been incredibly difficult, but writing comes easily. The written details help me understand what something would look like in my imagination if there was anything to look at besides a void.
This might also help me understand some of my issues with keeping track of my wandering, overlapping thoughts. My ADHD boyfriend tells me that he hears all of his thoughts at the same time, overlapping, and it’s incredibly hard to concentrate on one thread. I have a similar issue, but with a different sensory experience. For me, it’s a “knowing” that there are multiple thoughts, all swirling together and overlapping under the surface. I guess you could imagine a bunch of pieces of yarn in a bowl of muddy water. You need to get one out, but they’re all tangling together and the water is so murky you can’t see where one piece starts and another ends.
Anyway, there’s a lot more “stuff” happening that should be written out. I want to talk about my upcoming vacation, my hopes for a future with my boyfriend, how I’m going to grow my business, what kinds of life changes I want to make to be healthier and happier. For now, it’s time to take a shower and head over to pick up my friend for a thrift-shopping adventure.