Clarity

I am feeling like my mind is a lot clearer in the last day or so. I suddenly have clarity about some things. I've had some epiphanies and I've redacted some somewhat ranty posts that helped me get to this point of clarity, but some portion of it is clearly biological.

My oldest son made some remarks today about falling asleep at maybe 4:30 this morning when he was expecting to only "fever nap." That's a term he uses and I'm not sure I entirely know what he means by it.

Anyway, he thought he would lay down for maybe twenty minutes and not really sleep. He fell asleep and he slept for a few hours and would have kept sleeping except his brother woke us both up to insist on doing snacks and drinks.

And he talked some to me at some point today about the significance of him falling asleep like that. He's been having trouble falling asleep. He's been unable to sleep without being just completely exhausted and it's been messing up his sleep cycle.

So he spoke today of his own significant sea change in terms of something biological and I'm also feeling like something important has changed in my body and like it is having important impacts on my mental function, though I also needed to write those maybe crazy-sounding posts in order to work through certain things and draw certain conclusions.

Those conclusions wouldn't have happened magically without working through it. Just feeling better physically wouldn't have, by itself, caused me to go "Oh, I see."

Many years ago, maybe around 22 years ago or something like that, I had this epiphany that I'm fairly good at math and I have a fairly strong math background, especially for a woman. I don't know what girls are up to these days, but when I was growing up, math was kind of a boy thing and I was really good at it and took a lot of advanced math classes in high school.

I mean, it was high school. It's not like saying "I have a PhD in math" or something like that, but in most environments, I'm usually one of the most mathy people in the room.

Except Hacker News. I don't bother to identify as "mathy" on Hacker News because for that crowd, my math background isn't particularly noteworthy. I would probably be made fun of if I tried to claim I was "mathy" on Hacker News.

But I think that's the only place I ever really felt that way. I'm usually the strongest math person in the room or one of the strongest.

And so at some point I decided to quit trying to "save the world" with aspirations of girly pink collar ghetto type careers, like social work. I decided I wanted to do something with the built environment and I went through a book about all the colleges in the US and read through all the majors related to the built environment and I read through the kind of education and training involved.

I think I had maybe six or seven majors listed, though I don't remember them all. I remember Civil Engineering was on the list and I decided against it because it requires a bunch of calculus classes and I don't like calculus. I could probably do it if I had to or felt strongly about becoming a civil engineer, but I don't see any reason to torture myself pointlessly. There are other kinds of jobs you can do related to the built environment.

I also remember Architecture was on the list and I decided against it too. Architecture programs don't take any general electives. They are separate programs from the entire rest of the college system and none of your general studies classes, like math or English, transfer. So I would have been starting over from scratch, as if I had no college.

So I ended up picking Urban Planning as a major that appealed to me and that was kind of my goal for a while. But then I spent time on an urban planning forum and kind of decided that wasn't really what I wanted and now I don't qualify. I no longer drive and most urban planning jobs require a driver's license.

This is meandering and I'm not sure it's good communication. It's me processing, which may not serve my audience well.

Suffice it to say I started a new sub last night on Reddit called r/SolanoRail which is related to a research project I worked on while I was a student pursuing my dreams of becoming an urban planner. I never quite know how to characterize it. I have called it "a student project" but I feel like that sort of misrepresents it.

I was in school and every time a class called for "Use some real world thing or other to do some analysis using the tools this class is teaching" I would do something related to the Solano Rail plan. And out of that, over time, I developed an independent research project.

And then my life got derailed by divorce and health issues and I stopped going to school without completing my Bachelor's. For a time, I worked in insurance and then I was homeless for years and I began doing freelance writing while homeless.

During that time, the Solano Rail project mostly was ignored. I didn't do anything with it, but I still kept a copy of the original presentation and I periodically would try to make a new website to showcase it or something.

Anyway, I started this sub and I am trying to wrap my brain around how to proceed with creating the life and career I desire. To hell with The Job here in town that I applied for and to hell with what other people want for me. What do I want to do in this life? How do I wish to spend my time?

And, so, that's psychologically significant in ways that I maybe am utterly failing to explain but it's like my mind suddenly works again after years and years of not really working and I'm more centered than I have been in a long time. And I am returning to wondering how to further my own agenda and resist being used by other people for their agenda.

Don't get me wrong. If someone has the right deal to offer me that fits with my agenda for my life, I would say "yes." But I've spent too many years focused on what other people wanted from me or wanted for me because I wasn't functional enough to be genuinely self determining.

I didn't have sufficient executive function to decide what my agenda was and begin doing what was necessary to work towards that. And I've felt like a pawn of people around me and I've felt a tremendous need to try to fend off other people and so forth.

I don't actually know what r/SolanoRail will end up being. Maybe it will never become a grass roots movement or political thing that makes a difference in the actual rail plans for Solano County California.

Over the years, I have thought about alternate interpretations for the phrase. Like maybe "Solano Rail" is a place for railing about transit related pet peeves or something like that. I don't know.

But the independent research project that I titled Solano Rail is a thing I chose to work on because it expressed my interests in the built enrivonment and GIS and making the world a better place. And I'm getting back in touch with that impetus.

Not to impress a potential employer or something, but just because that's my thing.

Maybe that's how you end up with a serious business or a serious career. I don't actually know.

But Solano Rail is a thing that grows out of Doreen Traylor and her interests, not out of what Doreen Traylor thinks she "should" be doing or thinks other people want from her, etc.

That latter thing is a stereotypically female thing where the world expects women to accept being pushed around and it's hard to stand up to it. It's nearly impossible if you are sick.

Concisive self determination is something I tend to see as an indicator of health and functionality and in some important ways I haven't had that in a long time. I've been too worried about what other people around me in this small town wanted or were doing in a way that wasn't constructive.

I don't know if people will see this post as belonging on a health blog. To me, this state of mind thing is significant and it speaks to underlying physical health and I don't know how to explain it without talking about some of these "irrelevant" details.

I still haven't slept enough and I still don't know if I will get freelance writing done this weekend and I'm still stressing about a lot of the same old, same old. But I'm feeling less pushed around by life and less like I have no choice but to react. I'm feeling more able to make a decision and work to create what I choose to create.

And I'm quite sure that this mental shift is related to improved physical health and says something about my underlying state of physical health. And whatever it says, it is something positive. It points to a kind of strength I have not had in a long, long time.