I am seeing a lot of people finding Aphantasia as something other than a condition…the “it’s simply a different way of experiencing life” argument. And I agree. Or Agreed. Until I realized that our experience is one in which we are literally not playing with a full deck…we are operating on a premise that is not providing us with only partial information and if we were afforded the same information or “abilities” (because I cannot forecast or foresee things that I have not already experienced in my life…I can recall things and impute things, but if it’s something that I’ve never gone through, then it’s not that real to me, as if I do not grasp the concept until I go through it). This altered my life and I have just recently realized it. And I’m pissed.
My whole story and why I’m pissed is in my Post in Discussions, the title is something like “How Has Aphantasia Affected You’re Life Decisions”. But, in essence, I was an attorney for 15 years (and I worked in the same law firm for 15 years before that because that was the “family farm”). So, I was there from 11 years old as a copyboy to 41 as a lead attorney, generating more income than the rest of the firm combined, was like a phenom at my job, won Best Attorney for years (even the year I quit), lived a extravagant life, threw money at everything, had bags and shoes and cars and boys and so much cocaine (which I’m realizing was my Happy Place escape…because one day that addiction just shut off and never bothered me again). It was everything you’d see in a music video. But, at the end of the day, I hated it because I never wanted to be a lawyer…I just could never see another way. Now I know I am unable to see forks in the road or to envision myself in a profession I have not experienced/worked in before. And even though I would end up being a great attorney, I knew (and I know) that I’d be good at anything I did…you know, except trying to figure out what to do when I grow up. And I quit all those times and sat there thinking how inadequate I must be because I can’t find something else to do. But it wasn’t me being inadequate, it was my Aphantasia and IF had I known I had this, then I would have sought counsel or something to help me. But without knowing that I have it, each time I looked at another profession, I couldn’t see myself doing it, and since I could always see myself being a lawyer, lawyer it must be, right? Even if my gut told me NO.
Then, in a perfect storm of events over my lifetime, I started becoming what I know now was falsely confident. The entire time I was running that law game I was increasingly feeling like I was manifesting my destiny and I kept getting more and more successful so I MUST HAVE been manifesting correctly, right? However, in reality, I was the best because I’m smart, I seek counsel or help when I need it and I never stopped working, up to 100 hours a week, I only knew to say yes to every client, and no matter how much staff I added, my micromanagement style is NOT supposed to ever be in charge of a business. But the money kept coming, WAY outside what is normal in the city I live, so again, I must be manifesting this, right? I believed or convinced myself that it was my “lack of goal-setting” or the fact that I was not thinking about my profession’s trajectory that was making that very trajectory happen. Thus, my “manifesting” was “do nothing to further your business and the universe is abundant so more will come” and more kept coming. Now, at this point, I was being reinforced in my erroneous thought that I’m following what every quote on Pinterest is saying by taking them ACTUALLY LITERALLY…like “BE YOU”, “Dance like no one is watching”, “Art is intelligence having fun” and I thought they were serious. In a factual sense, like go and dance like an idiot. And I suredid, ALL THE TIME while no one else really was. And people ate that shit up, they found it freeing and found me to be something to watch, a spectacle. My Snapchat and Instagram were popping because I was simply doing what I thought I was supposed to, and I must have some extra “je ne se quois” that makes me shine brighter than others, right? (Side Note: Literally today I was at the grocery store and someone I didn’t know came up and said “You’re Chetty, right? Omg, my friends and I watch your Snaps and love them. It’s a hard world, but you put smiles on our faces”. And I haven’t even been on Social Media since this all came down on me).
At this point, in my mind, from my journey I had become what in hindsight I can only label as “invincible”. I called myself a Lawyer-Non-Lawyer, other lawyers said things like “I only play a lawyer in real life”. I was breaking barriers and I’m gay so I gayed up the entire legal scene, never wore a suit, didn’t own one, was always all colorful, always making a statement, people hated on me behind my back but kept bringing me more work. I was one of the best in my arena, while staying humble always, always leanring, and perpetually gracious (well, that is, until someone did something that was offensive or wrong or when another attorney would try and to go all lawyer on me, at which point I would snap and would verbally destroy him or her because I am a lyrical genius, probably due to my aphantasia.
But I hated the job…always did. So, upon coming to the realization that I was invincible, I simply up and quit. Like, one day I said it, let my staff go, literally mf’d the entire industry on Instagram and Facebook in an 11 minute and 17 second video with a HUGE grin on my face, and then I closed up shop and walked out. I never made any attempt to sell my queue, or the business even…I didn’t try to do anything except bounce. I had hated it for so long and now I was invincible so I KNEW that if I just “walk confidently in the direction of my dreams” everything would all just come to me as it always had. (The word “dreams”, of course, being euphemistic there).
But then it didn’t come. Nothing came. And then those same feelings of inadequacy came back that I had before…like, where do I go from here? AND THEN IT DAWNED ON ME that the fact that I can’t see something in the future or envision myself doing something that I haven’t already experienced MEANS THAT I can’t see me in another profession. HAD I KNOWN that other people could extrapolate about things in the future and place themselves in professions and see if they thought it was a good fit, like trying on clothes, and work towards it if it was a good fit or immediately discount the idea if they didn’t think so, I would have asked people about it and tried to find a way around it. But, again, given the set of what I thought were fundamental laws about how all of this works, I KNEWWWWW for sure that I had this in the bag.
Now, as I look back, I can finally understand why everyone said I was so reckless and cavalier. I was operating without full knowledge, or without the full human experience like everyone else. Like I wasn’t playing with a full deck. And now, currently, my world is collapsing…condo is in foreclosure, I can’t find a job in what I used to do because I literally burned every bridge and remote companies keep rejecting me because I’m “overqualified”. Like, I purposefully destroyed my life, without knowing what I was really doing. I purposefully killed that goose that was laying all those golden eggs, thinking another one would just pop right into existence because “the universe is abundant and I’m manifesting that”.
Anyway, sorry about that rant, it’s just hard because I can’t really explain this to anyone. It sounds like an excuse and it sounds like I was just acting immaturely, but IN ALL HONESTY, I really had no idea. I knew I was different, but the way things panned out for me made me think that difference was like a superpower or that I was special, when, in reality, I am technically different or medically different or whatever, and I lack what appears to be a pretty amazing ability, and that leads to me not being able to FORESEE detrimental consequences to my decisions…if I did see them, I wouldn’t have traveled that avenue. This was the first big decision I made in my life based solely on my manifestation and now I’m crashing and burning because I had no idea I was lacking something that 98% of people have had their entire lives and take for granted because it’s so ingrained in their being. I’m not whining, I’ll find my way, now that I know what I’m working with (or not working with). I have to recalibrate EVERYTHING and gain my confidence back under these new sets of rules, but I’ll win this again. It just didn’t need to be like this…I just simply didn’t need to put myself in a world of hurt like this…it was all so unnecessary and I know I wouldn’t have done it like this HAD I KNOWN. (Further, how do you explain this to a bank that’s foreclosing on your home, you know? I thought something would just come to me and that thought is immature at best. It really wasn’t to me, though, until I understood.
Lastly, I’ve figured out a “goal” through all of this, too, it’s like my first real goal lol…it’s to make sure that kids know if they have Aphantasia…because operational awareness and situational awareness of this would have fundamentally changed the course of my life, and I would hate to see someone else fall victim to thinking they’re winning when they’re really just not playing with a full deck.