14 January 2017

paragraphs from quarantine

I woke up this morning with my right eye crusted shut, confirming last night's suspicion that I was developing pinkeye. MedExpress opened two hours later (what's this adult thing of waking up at workday time on the weekend?), so I wasted no time in seeking prescriptions to heal it. Now I'm quarantined alone at home until at least tomorrow.

I'm an introvert, and I appreciate my alone time. But there's something different about being told you're not allowed to be around other humans. I value the choice to seclude myself, or to seek others, or to be alone in a place where I might encounter someone. I had plans today! I'm supposed to be somebody's birthday wish fairy! Fortunately, their birthday isn't really until tomorrow, so I have a little time to let antibiotics work and make me less contagious. I'm upset with my body for spoiling somebody else's plans.

I'm reading a book that I'm really excited about. Uniquely Human by Barry Prizant. One of my autism research idols wrote a book reflecting on his 40-year career in the field. He trained as a speech language pathologist, too. It's been a while since I've picked up a book and wanted to keep picking it up until I read every page. The basic drive behind the book is that we ought to stop trying to fix people with autism, and try to understand them instead. I'm positively delighted every time I encounter someone who shares this belief and articulates it meaningfully.

So that's what I'm doing today. I suppose I could provide some life updates, too. I guess the biggest one is that I am legally divorced, as of late December. Happy New Year, indeed. Getting that piece of paper evoked such a complicated mix of emotions. Functionally, it changes nothing. We have lived apart for over two years, and most days, my life does not involve him at all. I am independent. The divorce decree represents the close of a chapter, the conclusion of a long, expensive, and emotionally exhausting process. People expect me to feel some kind of closure, but there is none. This is merely a long overdue legal measure that does nothing to change my feelings about him or the situation, and little to advance the stage of my healing. There is far more to my recovery from my abusive relationship than just the dissolution of my marriage.

An interesting thing happened right around New Year's. This is the calendar year in which I turn 30. Yeah, age is just a number n'at. But something about it feels significant. And maybe it is this realization: I am an adult. Therefore, whatever I do is what an adult does. Having that realization has relieved some of the pressure to act like a grown-up.

I still plan to apply to PhD programs, and I'm going to wait another year. I went to a big ol' speech pathology convention in November, where I made some connections and discovered that my niche is even smaller than I thought it was. I need to learn some more things before I can feel confident committing to spending the next several years of my life in a place. The likelihood of attending school in Pittsburgh is incredibly small. I am putting off confronting the reality of that.

I am okay.