Dave Mattingly started a GoFundMe for me because of my health issues. I’m embarrassed to have to ask for help, but right now, I have little alternative. The MRI offered no answers, neither confirming nor ruling out anything, so I’m probably going to have to go to a neurological clinic. My insurance lapses tomorrow, and my funds have been exhausted already. Getting a confirmed diagnosis seems like a far away dream.
I don’t want to whine too much, but these neurological issues are making basic day to day functions difficult. It will be a little while before I hear anything about disability, so I’m stuck in this hellish limbo with no job, no insurance, and no means of fending for myself. I’m also behind on child support, which eats at me every minute. My sons are everything to me, and it pains me deeply not to live up to that obligation.While it’s hard for me to admit it, I truly need help right now.
The MRI revealed nothing. I’m out of money and out of insurance. Not really in the mood to discuss anything with anyone. I appreciate everyone who has been there for me, but right now, I have no idea what’s next. If you message me, I probably won’t respond for a while.
I made this vow over the weekend, and it should come as no surprise to anyone who really knows me: Regardless of my diagnosis on Wednesday, I will fight this neurological disease with everything in me. It has no idea the mistake it made coming at me, son. And once I’m back to feeling like myself, I’m hitting the world like an emeffing tornado. Stand back and watch because the show will be entertaining!
As a general rule, I don’t like to write advice pieces because who am I and what have I done to warrant offering advice to others, but here’s something I want to share because it’s important:
If you are going to attempt to pass yourself off as a professional in a given field, you need to learn the ropes of your field before you feign a stance as an expert. We all go through growing pains as we find our footing in our careers, and we all make mistakes from time to time. However, if you are going to request to share your knowledge of a specific subject at a professional gathering, proceed to demonstrate zero knowledge of that specific subject, and then get called out publicly for not knowing what you are talking about, instead of acting pompous and superior, go back and do a little research into your profession. Furthermore, once you have revealed how little you know, just stop talking. Don’t proceed to paint yourself as an arrogant buffoon by attempting to explain your ignorance away. It’s better to save face by showing a modicum of humility than to keep saying ignorant things.
We live in a highly competitive country. Moreover, in this age, creative endeavors are some of the most difficult fields in which to establish one’s self. Fans who attend conventions tend to take things seriously and have high expectations for creative folks. Mediocrity will not last for long on the steep climb, and ignorant pomposity will be met harshly by fandom. It’s not a sin not to know something on the periphery of your specialty, but it is a sin to volunteer to share your knowledge specifically about that periphery and then show up empty-handed. In the information age, it is unpardonable to show up to a professional presentation and not even know the basic definitions of the topics you asked to discuss. If you are going to climb into the arena, you had best train for the fight ahead of time. If not, don’t be surprised by the ass-kicking you receive.
To all of my friends, readers, fellow writers, and former students, please know that I share these words of warning out of love because I want you to be successful in your endeavors. I’m not going to share details or name names, so please don’t ask, but the person who committed this particular blunder last weekend should be glad that it happened at a first year show with only a handful of audience members at the panel, and not at Dragon*Con with a packed room. The latter could be career suicide. The former will pass by mostly unnoticed, but it serves as a teachable moment. When you choose to represent yourself as a professional in any field and are in a public venue, please for the love of all that’s decent in this world, show up prepared.
I’ve forgotten what it feels like to feel normal. I don’t mean in a behavioral sense; I’ve never fit into society’s definition of normal, which by the way is a myth at best. No, I mean I’ve forgotten what it feels like not to have this neurological condition. I’m aware that not so long ago I had energy and could concentrate on intricate tasks and could function at a high level, but now, because of the multitude of issues I’m dealing with, I can’t remember how it feels to feel healthy. It’s similar to how in the summer when the heat is oppressive and sweat coats your skin it’s hard to recall the chill of winter and the need for a sweater. I know I once felt strong and virile, but the memory seems as if it belonged to someone else’s life.
Mentally, I was not designed to be disabled. I know there are people in this world who would relish the opportunity to lie in bed or sit at the computer most of the day, and if I could concentrate long enough to write throughout the day, I might be able to adjust. But I am not the kind of person who likes idleness. I’m happiest when I feel productive. Every time I look at the yard and see how far behind I’ve fallen on the upkeep, my stomach aches. As I watch all of the progress I had made on the property being reclaimed by nature, a piece of me cries out internally. As the days roll by and book five still isn’t complete, I just want to scream. I have too much to do to feel this sick.
Once I have a confirmed diagnosis, I’ll hopefully be able to receive treatment and feel better. Once I have that diagnosis, I’ll try to describe and explain in more detail what the symptoms are like. For now, I don’t want to go into much detail because I don’t feel like speculation on my part or anyone else’s will be helpful. I know people mean well when they ask if I’ve considered X, but it’s really not productive. Most likely, yes, either I or one of the doctors has considered X, and it has already been ruled out. Again, I know you mean well, but after three years, we’ve covered all the easy stuff two and three times.
I also don’t like being at the mercy of the system. So far, all it has done is let me down at every step of my life, so I don’t have much hope for it to take care of me now. That said, I’m blessed and grateful for the dear friends who have reached out to help me navigate this new reality. You know who you are, and I’m more appreciative of you than I can express. Once I have beaten this illness and am back to my rowdy self, I hope I can repay the kindnesses. That’s all for now. Physically, I’m quite uncomfortable today.
My friends Kevin and Sarah Jo are trying to expand their con circuit business. They make custom soaps with fandom themes. Please, take a look at their Kickstarter page and help them out. All levels of pledging receive samples. Kevin has been a big supporter of mine for several years, so I’d love to help drive a few backers his way. If you can, please help them expand their business.
I’m trying not to grow angry and bitter, but we live in such a short-sighted culture. The old cliche “But what have you done for me lately?” comes to mind. Years of loyalty are tossed aside at the slightest inconvenience, and the vast majority of people are only interested in today, now, right now, this instant. The future does not exist, and the past never happened. If you are not valuable this instant, you are worthless, or at least made to feel that way. For now, I’ll bite my tongue; it’s not worth any more energy from me right now. I’m trying not to grow cold and callous, but it gets harder every single day.