4/5/2017

My daughter is my hero

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I’ve been getting a lot of calls lately. I answer and hear a sniffing, shaky voice on the other side. It’s barely audible. It’s my daughter, reaching out from her adolescence, searching for some guidance. 

She is my hero.

Her world is beyond her now. Her confident and spontaneous childhood is being replaced by the expectations and uncertainty of puberty, of the public school system, of unspoken rituals. When she feels like she doesn’t know what to do, she calls me from school. Sometimes I don’t know what to do, either, so we breathe together. Sometimes we cry together. She is brave for calling, for being so vulnerable from the science room’s telephone. She is standing alone in the empty classroom, the tile cold and hard below her feet, the room dim from missing lights and the emptiness of first lunch, and she stands there holding the phone with two hands, alone, but not alone.

She is my hero.

When she is at home she is still our Lolo, the one who stormed in to our lives like a tornado, making everything fresh and new and uncertain. She’s the same girl who creates worlds and characters and imagery. She still leans in to her dad when we watch Dr. Who, still dances with me in the front of the car while I ferry us around, doing our best arm motions and head bobbing to the music.  She still plays with her brother, a small if decreasing portion of the day, where they coordinate minecraft tools and build houses across the street from each other.  Continue...

4/4/2013

Adult ADHD, or How My Brain Works

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I was counting the railroad tiles out the window when my facilitator read, “Is often prone to daydreaming…” Yes, I thought, my daughter does that! I take a note to remember that frequent daydreaming is a sign of ADHD.

I fidget and look at the clock. How LONG is this meeting? It’s been 45 minutes already. My foot bounces at the end of my leg, a habit that irritates nearly every office mate I’ve ever had. I swirl my foot in circles and take more notes. “Fidgeting, constant moving, even in adults…” Impulsivity, forgetfulness, distractibility. If I hadn’t been diagnosed a year and a half ago, this might come as a shock. Today, though, I sit, fidgeting, for nearly TWO HOURS (mygod two hours!) in my first Adult ADHD Women’s Support Group with many others who are only learning this isn’t “normal.”

In my world, I am normal. In my world, I’ve always been this way. I’ve always had to work out daily or I can’t sit still. I don’t like going to the movies because they’re too long. I thrive as being a “big idea person” and the one who “drives projects”, the one who “loves change”, the person who will show up in Amsterdam having not thought about what I was supposed to do once the plane landed. In my world there was NOW and NOT NOW. I write notes to remind myself of important events and forget where I put the note. I make plans and forget I already made plans. People who love me cherish this about me and those who don’t? They don’t stick around for long.

Nearly two years ago my world crashed down on me for those “cherished” attributes. After 35 years of coping mechanisms, the tiny rock-chip of balance broke in to a full crack, splitting my life in two. Projects, Marriage, Children, Friends, Family… everything fell to the ground from their balance on the high wire, the very high wire I carefully walked my entire life.

tightrope Continue...

8/4/2011

Sticky Notes

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I have these sticky notes. They line my computer background, they clutter my virtual desktop, the travel in my portable office. They are text files I keep open to remind myself of my goals, todo lists, small notes. I have one that I keep open nearly all day, every day. It is titled, “People I want to emulate.” 

On this text file I keep a very short list of people I admire and dare to imitate. It’s like my own version of the, “What Would Jesus Do” bracelet.

What would Amanda say to this quest I’m on?

Would Scott Berkun forget to submit a speaking proposal?

I bet Emily Lewis would take the time to code this correctly, without shortcuts. Continue...

2/7/2010

Being a human is a messy business

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I remember telling my old boss, years ago, my plan for vacation. “Well,” I started, “I think we’ll be getting in the car and taking a right on the freeway. After that? I have no idea.” He was surprised at this. “No lists? No plans? YOU?” I was just as shocked that he’d expect me to actually plan until I realized I’ve nicely compartmentalized my life in such a way I can live in two extremes: The To Do List and The Not.

Now I worry less that I’m some sort of bi-polar schizophrenic and more of a well-balanced human being. To be successful at work and organized enough to accomplish the tasks at hand, I’m willing to place my items in neat little boxes. Tiny little boxes all sitting in a row. But at home, in my own space, in my own self, I refuse. I want passion, adventure, and not a single task on my todo list to mark off.

Less dichotomy, more necessity.

Perhaps this is the juncture I sit at now. Life with children and a mortgage and after-school gatherings are prone to lists, todo items, organization. I’ve been failing for five years to be the “organized” mom. To actually get a child to school on time. To pay a bill. To remember every field trip and every sheet of home-work.

I’m less likely to condemn myself for that right now. Continue...

8/6/2009

Confessing

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I’ve been sitting here ignoring most everything a grown up should focus on: Kids, Bills, Work, Laundry, Dishes, Life. I’ve been sitting here scouring the Internet looking for something.

Or someone.

I’ve been retracing the last thirty-three years of my life and watching images of memories. I’ve been seeking people I know and love online and the community I’ve grown so fond of. I’ve been re-reading comments and emails from my college friends looking for any signs of endings.

I can’t find them.

I can’t seem to focus on anything today. Continue...

2/3/2007

Herding Buffalo

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I have this disease Mr. Flinger calls “Herding Buffalo.” It usually occurs when life is in complete chaos and there is little time for anything.  It usually happens when an idea enters my busy brain and suddenly it can’t get out. The single idea turns in to fifty things that need to be done RIGHT! NOW! and suddenly there is the sound of herding buffalo in my head.

Right now, I have Herding Buffalo.

I last got Herding Buffalo when we were moving to Seattle. It came up often during the moving process, since moving is a bit stressful, especially moving states and jobs. Instead of writing a list of simple things such as “Sell House. Get rid of Crap. Buy House. Get moving truck. Move.” I started getting dizzy with details. Once the “sell house” entered my head, I was crazy with lists of things we had been meaning to do for two years. “Fix stairs in backyard to playhouse” “get rid of dog pot-holes” “plant flowers” “re-landscape!” “Add on second story!” “Have roof replaced!!”

Each item gets louder and bigger. Each item grows from necessity to complete obscenity. Each time there is another buffalo and suddenly I’m crying under the kitchen sink because OH MY GOD THERE IS SO MUCH WE HAVE TO DO. Mr. Flinger would look at me and say, “I have “sell house” on my list. That’s. It.”

Sometimes I wish I was a simple man. Continue...