We're a little crazy, about science!

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.

9 responses

  1. How wonderful!! Congratulations!! A book chapter, I can’t wait I want an autographed copy please. You are encouraging and I envy you being able to tell your story. Maybe one day I’ll work on telling mine too. I love reading it have for a long time now. Hope you have a book signing and go on tour!!

    Liked by 1 person

    May 11, 2022 at 8:08 pm

    • Thank you! It’s a group effort, I’m just writing a single chapter, but I’ll definitely let you know when it gets published. I’m not sure what form it will take, I assume since they are working with a publisher we’ll get a print copy which would be an interesting result, but it could be digital too. Since I’m not the one organizing it, I’m not sure.

      Like

      May 12, 2022 at 5:47 pm

  2. I was wondering if and when something was going to happen with this! I was half afraid to ask … but I guess publishing just takes a long time. Congratulations on being in print soon!

    I’m glad you found the bravery to put your name on it like you really wanted to. It is yours.

    I think I’m fairly comfortable talking about unpleasant things from my past now, but there was a time when it was more intimidating. It took me a while to figure out that I’m not a powerless teenager anymore, and not as easy to hurt or push around – I probably don’t need a strict policy of hiding my blood trail from predators. I hope you find your way to that sort of confidence too.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 12, 2022 at 1:17 am

    • Yeah it’s been a slow process, but I think they’ve been working on funding and what not too. We actually got paid to write our chapters! I imagine working with a publisher isn’t easy too and the two who are organizing it both work full-time, so things take a bit longer.

      I’m glad you’re comfortable telling your story! I’m not sure exactly why I felt so anxious about this, probably because I’ve never done anything like this before and the internet is always doing shitty things in general.

      Liked by 1 person

      May 12, 2022 at 5:50 pm

      • Yeah … sometimes it can be hard to predict what’s going to get noticed by the wrong people, and become the subject of a weird moral panic or outrage fest. Hopefully nothing like that ever happens to you. I wouldn’t think it likely for a book like this.

        Liked by 1 person

        May 12, 2022 at 6:24 pm

  3. While I’m usually pretty open about my feelings, overly so, I think I get how you feel. There’s a risk putting your name to things, and I had s good think about that before I published my book. Part of my decision was just throwing up my hands and saying “this is me, and this is what I do.” Another part was my thesis. My friend and my advisor both told me to play it close to the vest, and I checked the little box that said there were security concerns. And now, great or terrible as the thesis was, I am not part of the academic record, and now they use better tools for recreation.

    But the act of writing gave me peace, and I hope it helped you, too. Not sure I want to read those stories, but I’ll sure support people telling them.

    Liked by 2 people

    May 13, 2022 at 7:51 pm

    • Hey! Good to see you around again! I understand, sometimes reading stories like that can be hard. I am glad I got the chance to tell mine, despite the concerns.

      Like

      May 14, 2022 at 12:11 pm

      • Took me a hot second before I realized I can still keep up with the blogs. Sometimes I’m not very smart. 🙂

        Always happy to be the one in the room just in case someone needs to talk.

        Liked by 1 person

        May 14, 2022 at 1:19 pm

      • Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind!

        Like

        May 15, 2022 at 10:29 am

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