Most people fall into the category society calls "normal". "Normal" is...well, crap. I'm actually not sure what "normal" is because...well, here are my normals:
- My normal is procrastinating on a 1,500 word essay until the day its due, then busting ass for six hours to get it done, add another hour for the minimal research sources I would need to get the assignment done.
- My normal is deciding to become a professional horse trainer/professional barrel racer/writer.
- My normal is impulsively giving up a barn job (which was legitimately cutting out a large chunk of time I could use to leg up horses) for building wire harnesses for a local custom car shop.
- My normal is jumping between reading five books within the space of three hours/
- My normal is looking at a garage/storage shed and thinking how I can fit a tack room, mini-library, and yoga room into the space...and then using a new place to practice yoga, like in the middle of a barn (no, I haven't done that but I would...I totally would).
- My normal is blurting out whatever comes to mind...before it even registers
- My normal is wanting a huge grain silo as my house with a spiral staircase and a slide inside it.
Because of the "normals" those with ADHD and other disorders see, we end up trying to change our version of "normal" to match up with society's version. Problem is, that isn't going to happen. It's like those shape-matching games we had as kids: you're trying to match up the square with the circle and and even though you know why they won't match up, you still need up frustrated about having to reach for the square piece instead. ADHD norms are like circles: they're too non-linear to try and match up with the square slot. No matter how hard we push, pull, or change, we're still circles that can't fit into the square slot.
And with that, comes the self-loathing.
I was at that self-loathing stage. In some ways, I still am. But I've slowly been learning that I need to stop trying to accept society's norms as my own and just accept my norms for what they are. I recently took a huge step in that when I picked up Stacy Turis's book: Here's To Not Catching Our Hair on Fire: An absent-minded tale of Giftedness and Attention Deficit-Oh look, a Chicken!
I'm not joking, that's the title. It's hilarious. I nearly peed my pants laughing over some parts of her book. But it was also her book that made me realize that I needed to stop viewing myself and ADHD as two separate entities, when they aren't. My ADHD is a part of who I am, how my brain works, and how I function. Sometimes, my functioning isn't that great and I end up overwhelmed and anxious. But being ADHD has also given me the ability to roll with the punches. When everyone is trying to block the uppercut with another punch going underneath their defenses, I'm able to duck past both hits and move out of the way. A good metaphor would be from Joss Whedon's Serenity: "I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar." Even if I get caught up in the wind shear of a hurricane, I can still ride it out and come out in one piece by the end.
I'm not saying I don't get hit by life's debris, especially when the ugly side of ADHD decides to rears its head. I do, quite often in fact which is probably why I run up the data plan by playing Spotify and drink copious amounts of caffeine and Coca-Cola just so I can get some semblance of focus. Not to mention my sleeping pattern is horrible and no sense of time management (remember procrastination?). But those are some of the ugly traits I've learned to take along with the fun stuff. I have too. A lot of Eastern philosophy talks about balance and by accepting the bad with the good, you can have balance and peace.
By learning to accept everything being ADHD comes with, I come into better balance. I may not always be at peace - honestly, being ADHD is anything BUT peaceful - but I won't get tossed by the wind shear or unbalanced when hit by debris as often. And if I do, I know I have a good support team of friends and family to help me re-balance in my ADHD hurricane.
Maybe this whole acceptance thing isn't about trying to make a circle fit into the square slot while still being a circle. Maybe its just letting yourself be the circle within the world's square, like in DaVinci's drawing. Or was it a square inside a circle? I can't remember. But what it comes down to it, despite the ups and downs of being ADHD, I'm finally learning to accept what it means to be ADHD and everything that comes with it. Before, I was trying to live with it and try to change the bad parts of it. But now, I've learned to lovingly embrace my brain and actually live it, both the good and the bad.
Honestly, I like this philosophy more.