On Being a Geek with RA

Okay… so…  I’m a professional geek.  I work in IT.  And I have RA (but RA does NOT have me).  I’m starting to FINALLY (after mumble mumble mumble years) realize that neither of these things necessarily define me. Now who I am.  Now what I am.  They are a part of me, but they are not me.

That said… IT does keep me (and my family) in drugs.  Looking at what it costs for the drugs we all take every single solitary day (or in my case every other week for my Humera)… IT keeps me able to keep myself and my family reasonably healthy.  Prescription medication runs about $5000 a month for all of what we all take.

This past week (and quite likely for the next at least 4 to 5 weeks) has been bad for work.  Extra hours, weekend work, and stress.  We don’t plan always overly well… and this is no exception.  The systems I work on don’t “make the company money” so they don’t really matter as much until the last possible moment then they matter a WHOLE lot and I have to scramble to make everything okay.    I know that by the time everything is said and done, I’m going to hurt and be exhausted.

When I started being the kind of geek I currently am, it was kind of easy to work 900 hours in three months.  I missed spring, but I got a bonus and it lead to my first book.

It isn’t so easy now.

I’m currently fighting a flare in my knees that has me gritting my teeth and trying hard to not look like I’m limping.  And I’m only a couple weeks into it.

It used to define who I believed myself to be.

I’ve let a lot of things (through the years) define me to myself.

But I’ve realized (a lot the last few days) that… much as I have been allowing what other people think or what I think because of it…

I wasn’t born in a cream can (thank goodness) so I don’t have to worry about the fact that they wouldn’t have opened it if I had been.

Yes, I melted crayons on the registers (coal heat is a HOT heat) and on the guts of the hot water tanks that littered the pasture field.  But the colors ran together is such beautiful rainbows.

I shot crayons out through the holes in wire spools.  They launch awesomely with a ruler.

I scribbled in notebooks

I colored outside the lines in my coloring books when I was 6.

I was touched inappropriately.

I was called little boy all the time by a relative

I played dress up (in gowns and heels) with an awesome little boy who loved dressing in dresses.

I buried dead toads and butterflies under the pine tree in the play yard.

I believe with all of my heart that the shanty in the play yard and the workshop at grandpa’s house are haunted.

I gave up trying to be as good as older siblings.

It took a long time before I was able to say the words “I am a writer”.  I had several published geek books before I was able to say the words.   I still have trouble saying it… but it’s true.  I have been a writer since I was in 4th grade.

I realized today that… if I hadn’t grown up the way I did… If I hadn’t experienced the things I experienced… I wouldn’t be who I am now.  I wouldn’t be able to understand the things I understand.  I don’t know who I would be. I don’t think I want to know who I would be.  I do know that there are things that I can understand that I KNOW I wouldn’t have been able to understand had I not lived what I lived.

If I could have picked a childhood… I might have chosen one more full of “yes you can” rather than one full of “people like you can’t”… but then I wouldn’t be me and maybe I wouldn’t be able to tell my babies that they can do whatever they want to do… to follow their dreams no matter what they are and no matter where they lead them… maybe I would be a person I don’t even like.

What about you?  How do you define you?  By other people’s standards and the way they talk?  Or by the way you want to be?

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