In the same way the plant was suffocated because its environment had become too small to contain its growth, I allowed my fierce commitment to a job - specifically, my history of overwhelming success, the financial stability it offers, and the relationships I have built with coworkers in the past - to stifle my growth. That's not to say I'm not thankful for the growth the job has allowed me in the past. Like the plant, I needed the security of a smaller, safer-feeling environment to nurture the initial legs of my journey. However, as I grew and the role did not, it began to cause a tension and discomfort that only comes from being confined to circumstances smaller than your potential.

Protecting My Energy

This shift in my focus forced me to see myself beyond the professoriate, and critically imagine what it would mean live the remainder of my grad school life on my own terms. What would it mean to no longer stress myself out about academic publishing because I didn’t have a “sufficient” record for the job market? What would it mean to no longer care about “lacking oral dexterity” (a phrase that a professor used to describe me) when discussing complex, jargonistic scholarship with my peers? At the time, I had no clue. But I owed it to myself to find out

Black Man ADDing: 9 tips to navigate ADD as an adult without medicine

I take this perspective not to desensitize myself to the troubles of mental disabilities and disorders. Rather, this stance allows those suffering to develop habits that can help one maintain focus despite being diagnosed with ADD. As someone who was diagnosed with ADD in 9th grade, I took medication until I started my master’s degree. This medication only worked for a couple of years.