Yet another book chapter update!
Well if the universe isn’t apologizing for the last few decades of hell and torment, I’m not sure what’s going on, but good things seem to be happening. I’m not going to question it so when I saw an email recently about the latest with the book chapter I got very excited. It sounds like the book, along with my chapter, will be coming out very soon.
It’s been a bit since I’ve talked about it and if you haven’t been following along (or even if you have!) you may not remember this. I certainly didn’t forget, but it wasn’t at the forefront of my mind either. But what feels like forever ago now, I saw a request for disabled students to tell their stories. The idea was simple, send a paragraph pitch, if they like it you would be in (here). That was basically when I started my PhD journey and man how time flies. Well as I mention in that post, I was selected to tell my story.
Since that time I wrote out my short, but heartfelt chapter about my depression, my suicide attempt, and the general feelings I struggle with. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I started this process honestly. Between the writing, submitting, edits, and repeating that cycle my incredibly rough story was refined into something that, if not great, was better than my average writing (more here) see the literally thousand or so examples here on my blog for instance (wow, just checked we’re almost at 2000 posts, wow…).
The last time I wrote about this (here) we were wrapping up the edits. Apparently I didn’t mention that we had finalized the chapter and the rest was history. It’s been almost a year, roughly nine months so close enough, since that update and there was no real news on my end. But as of today I’ve been notified that the publishers gave the green light and the book, after some further edits, should be going to them for print in the next few months.
I guess I didn’t mention this in the last post, I skimmed so forgive me if I have, but I had a choice to make with this chapter. I could either be open about who I am and attach my name to the story, or I could be anonymous. The decision kept me up at night and I couldn’t decide. On one hand this story is no longer “my story” I have no control over it. While I could, in theory, shutter my blog and remove the posts (the internet saves all I know, but still), there was no way to undo this.
While I don’t generally mind telling my story, it still is incredibly scary to do it. I would, for example, be hard pressed to stand in front of an audience and read my chapter. The thought makes me uncomfortable. I don’t like being the center of attention if I can help it. More importantly I still harbor a lot of those unhealthy feelings about keeping my emotions bottled up inside. I have and do cry, even in public, but this feels far more intimate. So the question was, am I ready to put my name and face to my story.
After deliberating I decided that I wasn’t ready for that, but I did it anyway. Because sometimes growth means stepping outside your comfort zone and I would regret seeing my story with me removed. I’ve fought the VA (veterans affairs, the people who deal with health care and compensation for veterans) for decades for instance and simply acknowledgement that what happened to me actually happened. Turns out that isn’t an easy thing to get and even after my MRI, the VA still refuses (at last attempt anyway) to admit that my TBI was due to my service (as if I wouldn’t remember bashing my head in somewhere).
The point being that I had a choice to make and while I’m still uneasy about it, it was the right choice for me. I know for certain there are a few who decided remaining anonymous was the best choice for them. I respect that and to be perfectly clear, there’s nothing wrong with that, I 110% support it. But I’m tired of the VA and I’m tired of having my story taken from me, so my name will be attached to this. It still scares me, for whatever reason, but I’m doing it anyway.
I believe at this point that if all goes well, the next post I make on this will be a link to where you can get the book. I’ve gotten the chance to see the semi-final author list and I have to say there are a lot of us. I can’t wait to get the chance to read the stories of others, but I’m also excited, despite my nerves, to share mine.
It’s odd to think that I write so often here, but a single chapter in a book has made me so nervous. I’m proud to be part of this effort and I hope that taking this little leap will help someone else who sees their own story within mine.