2016 did not start as expected.
My story “Dissonance” was supposed to be published on January 1, but it wasn’t (in case you hadn’t noticed). I had been anticipating this for so long that it was a major let-down—not to mention the blog posts I had already written. So instead of spending the day reading and sharing my story, I spent the day worrying. I worked for a literary magazine for four years, so I knew that they probably just had to move things around. But this story has been through the mill to reach this point, and there was something deeply symbolic for me about starting 2016 with the publication of this story. And what if they never received my contract? What if they changed their mind and they don’t want to publish my story after all?
Don’t worry, though. Abyss and Apex got back to me right away. They did have to move things around at the last minute. “Dissonance” will be coming out April 1.
So my first goal for 2016 is not to spend the next three months worrying that this is a giant April Fools joke.
Side note: I did put up some of the things I was planning to post alongside “Dissonance.” I added a section on the stories behind my stories to this site, and I posted The story behind “The Collector” there. Check it out, and I hope you enjoy. I will add the story behind “Dissonance” when it’s published.
But my week wasn’t over. On Tuesday morning, I woke up to find a good chunk of my vision in my left eye extremely dark and blurry. I have aniridia glaucoma, which meansI don’t have irises and the pressure in my eyes is higher than normal. Two years ago, the pressure in my right eye skyrocketed, and my retina detached. I lost my vision in that eye, spent two months in incredible pain, and finally had the eye removed. I have been experiencing some pain in my left eye for the past several weeks, and I was already taking eyedrops. When I opened my eyes Tuesday morning and could barely see, I was really, really scared. It looked like what I could see out of my right eye right before I lost that vision. I am the first one to admit that I use my vision a lot, and not only for everyday tasks. I enjoy watching television and drawing. I don’t know how to be totally blind, and I do not want to find out.
After several hours at the Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary and my eye doctor’s office, we determined that there was nothing obviously wrong with my eye. My pressure is low and pretty stable. My retina is not detaching. And my eye is not hemorrhaging. We don’t know what happened to my vision, but it has been steadily returning since Tuesday, so I’ll take it. Right now, the plan is to keep a closer eye on things (pun intended).
When I started this post, I meant to talk about my goals for 2016, like I did last year, but everything I thought of seemed small faced with what happened this week and what could happen next. There are definitely things I want to accomplish this year. I want to revise two novels by the end of the year: my honors novel and my first memory wiping academy novel. I want to get back to something I tried a couple years ago and write blog posts from Mopsy’s point of view. I have a challenge on Goodreads to read a hundred new books this year.
But my biggest goal is that I don’t want to be afraid anymore. When I was in Italy, every time I stepped out the door I was terrified that I would be hit by a car and injured or killed, and that fear has stuck with me, attaching itself to anything it can. I am facing a huge transition in my life later this year—going back to school to study something I have never studied before. I do not want to be afraid that I won’t make friends, or I won’t have time to write or play the clarinet, or I’ll fail everything, or I’ll discover that I actually hate law. I do not want to live in fear that I will lose my vision. I do not want to be afraid.
So I won’t be afraid. Instead, I will take steps to ensure that these things don’t happen. I will make friends. I will make time for myself to write and play clarinet. I will study hard, which will not eliminate the possibility that I fail everything, but it will certainly minimize it. And I already know I enjoy law, so where did that even come from? I will go to my eye doctor more frequently, and I will continue to use and enjoy the vision I have.
This week has been emotionally exhausting, and I am determined that this whole year does not follow suit. Yes, I am coming up on some big changes, and change can be scary, but I will not let that intimidate me into stopping. I will not be afraid. So get ready, 2016, because here I come.