i have adhd

I am 33 years old, and I have ADHD. I was diagnosed at the beginning of December.

But we need to go a little further back than that.

When I left medicine, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do, but I was lucky to have the circumstances to be able to take some time and figure it out. What I settled on was this: I want to write and tell stories full time. And with any luck (and a whole lot of hard work), I’d manage to get published at some point. I wanted (want) to be an author.

So I threw myself into it at the tail end of 2017, reading craft books, figuring out metrics, setting up daily goals. I’d be able to do it consistently for a month, two months, and then there would be an emotional and mental slump that would last anywhere from a couple weeks to a stretch of months. A slump during which it was so hard to get started and put even one word on the page. I didn’t understand what was happening.

It must by my processes, I thought. My systems. After all, the shift from externally driven structure and goals to purely internally driven ones is a difficult one to make. I had a lot of learning to do.

So I read more books. I read process book after process book about hustling, about struggle, about passion and productivity. I heard over and over again, if you can’t do this every single day, you don’t actually want it. Because the flipside to the message “If you love something enough, you’ll just do it,” is that if you can’t, it’s your fault. You didn’t love it enough. You didn’t want it enough.

We don’t talk much about what is hidden in that “just.”

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thread crafty

I accidentally picked up a new thread crafty hobby.

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If I’m going to learn embroidery, I’m obvs going to start with swears.

Things I learned: Satin stitch is hard (and this thing was mostly satin stitch). French knots are kinda fun. Stabbing yourself with a needle is startling no matter how many times you do it.

Finished most of this while listening to MRK copy edit.

interlude: taiwan

I spent the last week and a half or so in Taiwan on a family trip. We spent a few days in Hualien, visited Taroko Gorge National Park, and then spent the rest of the time wandering around Taipei. A ridiculous number of steamed buns were consumed. (Also, shaved ice. So much shaved ice.)

Now I’m back home and jet lagged and looking forward to not taking another 16 hour plane ride for a long while. That’s entirely too long for any human person to be on a plane.

But! If you’re looking for a fun place to vacation, I’d recommend checking out Taiwan. The geography is interesting, the food is great, and it’s surprisingly affordable to tourist in.

Now, despite the fact that it’s around 8p, I’m going to go to bed. I managed to not take a nap today though, so I count that as a victory.

dinosaur ranching

The hubs and I recently started playing ARK: Survival Evolved, a survival crafting adventure game where you tame dinosaurs. It is unforgiving, but, you know, in a fun way.

Highlights of our first session include:

  • A small army of tamed dodos!
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Two of the dodos are named Dodger and two of them are named Mogs because I thought the first of each had died when they hadn’t. In my defense, all the previous ones got eaten. …which doesn’t sound like much of a defense now that I say it.

  • …that were quickly eaten by wild wandering dilophosaurs. (Womp womp.)
  • Taming a pair of parasaurs!
  • …that also quickly met their end. RIP Hellyeah and Ruby. Hellyeah died trying to defend Adam against a school of piranhas when he overzealously jumped into some water chasing after an oviraptor he wanted to tame. Ruby died trying to protect me against titanoboas (Fuck you, titanoboas.)
  • Taming a triceratops!
  • …that died trying to defend us against another trike we were trying to tame and who was mad at our efforts.
  • I got chased up a mountain by two titanoboas (seriously, fuck you, titanoboas), ran out of stamina, and threw myself off a cliff to escape. And then died from falling, obvs. (Adam talks about this on episode 217 of Coffee with Butterscotch, starting at about 18 minutes in.)

I feel like there’s a pattern in there…

ARK is primarily billed as an online multiplayer game.* You can form up tribes and go to war against each other or try to carve out a peaceful settlement for yourself, though good luck going that route if you’re playing on open servers. Hubs and I play on our own private server so that we can hang out and game together without having to worry about randoms intruding into our space and fucking up all our shit. (As though dinosaurs fucking up all our shit wasn’t enough to begin with.)

Here’s what we learned so far after we muddled through our first few sessions on dino island.

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This seems effective.

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unexpected car expense

I took my car in for an inspection yesterday, and got a call this morning that there is a part that needs to be replaced. (He told me the part, of course, but I promptly forgot it because my brain is a sieve when it comes to car stuff.) Unexpected, but also not. My car is something like ten years old. That it hasn’t needed more maintenance up to this point is a minor miracle, really. Especially since it handles the bulk of our road trips to various parental units.

But when someone says to you “It’s not technically a safety issue because it’s not completely broken yet” and it’s about a car part that seems important for general car-ing…

escape pod!

It is internet official now, which means I can announce it — I am one of the new associate editors for the Hugo-nominated science fiction podcast magazine Escape Pod!

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LOOK AT HOW OFFICIAL IT IS

I’M SO FLIPPING EXCITED, YOUDON’TEVENKNOW. (Apologies to Shiv and Phoebe for drawing over their bios a little.)

Excuse me while I go squeal some more in the corner.

two years-ish, and an update

I didn’t make it out of the semifinals for the Podcastle flash fiction contest, and I got waitlisted for Viable Paradise.

I was a reasonable level of bummed, but honestly, that feeling was outweighed by burgeoning feelings of… momentum? possibility? improvement? And maybe, even, dare I say, pride? Making it to the semis is nothing to sniff at, and I’m in excellent, talented company on the VP waitlist. (They tell me that many of the submissions relegated to either of those categories are publishable. Whether I can find a place to publish my submissions is another matter entirely.)

In the face of these (I hesitate to call them failures because they don’t feel like that, though ostensibly, that’s what they are. Let’s go with rejections. That seems more accurate, and it’s good for me to make that distinction for myself.), I keep reminding myself, it has only been about 1.5 years since I started writing seriously, with the aim of improvement and (hopefully) eventual publication. I can see how much better I am now compared to when I began. I’m starting to write things I actually like, things that I believe in. It’s a good and delicate feeling. In MRK parlance, I’m leveling up.


And on the heels of that thought is the reminder that it has been two years since I left medicine.

Last year, this point in time passed without much acknowledgement on my part. At least not out loud. I noted the timeline, of course — I wonder how long it’ll take until July no longer reminds me of radical change. When the heavy heat of summer is no longer associated with the lifting of weight. But I let the month slip by without talking about it last year because I felt like I had talked about it enough.

And honestly, there were still nights when I would startle awake thinking my pager had gone off. There were still mornings when I would wake up and wonder if I had dreamed the whole thing. It still felt new and fragile and a little unreal.

There are days that still feel like that, but they’re far and fewer now. In the weird stutter-skip slippage of time, it feels like a lifetime ago. (Except, of course, for the occasional moments when it feels like it was yesterday.)

I still don’t feel any regret about my decision to leave medicine. I don’t think I will. Even though whenever I think about it (which is, again, far and few now), I do so carefully, gingerly, tenderly, on the look out for any points of pain.

And I suppose there are echoes of pain. Fracture lines that haven’t set quite properly. The anger is fading, though there is still some bitterness. But not about the leaving. More so about the staying for so much longer than I should have. One day, I think (and I hope), I’ll be able to forgive myself for that.

an aside

Why is writing a cover letter (or personal statement or the like) so much more difficult than writing just about anything else? The first draft always sounds like a prolonged apology. I am terrible at talking about myself without immediately diving into self-deprecation. This is one of the many reasons I hate it when interviews or conversations include periods of time where I’m just supposed to monologue. I invariably feel like I’m taking up too much time and space.

I’ve been so socially/culturally trained to downplay my achievements and desires and expectations that I can’t even be forthright about them to a metaphorical piece of paper without apologizing for having them in the first place.