Who Do You Think You Are?

Dealing with people for the better part of nearly 45 years has taught me something. People are shit.

People like to prey on the vulnerable, take advantage of the kind, walk all over the meek, and generally assert their dominance over anyone in their path.

Something happened to me over this winter. This winter had me sick and laid up more than any winter to date. I broke bones, I fell a few times, kept getting sick and my arthritis was at a 10 most days.

Now, I don’t know if it’s the menopause, or the amount of time I spend alone thinking, or the many videos and research I’ve done into dealing with narcissistic abuse from family and friends, as well as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), but I feel like I’ve aged in wisdom about 10 years or more.

I grew a backbone.

I’ve learned not a lot of people don’t enjoy my new found confidence, joie de vivre, my way of living, my lack of fucks to dish out.

Tough.

Who do you think you are judging others? Judge not lest ye be judged – Matthew 7:1.

The most effective way to be judged yourself, is to judge someone else. You don’t know what a person has been through, is dealing with, whether they have support or not, whether they’re being abused. So it’s best to keep your judging mouth shut unless you want all of your skeletons pouring out of your proverbial closets.

Who do you think you are to give me medical advice about my conditions? Last time I checked, your were slinging cannabis, not getting your degree in medicine.

Who do you think you are giving out life advice when your own house is a mess. If you’re a mess yourself, why let that influence and affect another person? Keep your mess to yourself thank you, and kindly fuck off.

Who do you think you are that because you have 1/3 interest in this home that you think you’re the boss? How dare you criticize when you’re a bit of a head case yourself? Do you NOT realize what we’ve endured during our tenure as your roomate?

Who do people think they are these days? Self absorbed, entitled, selfish twats.

Have you ever noticed how heartily someone will argue something they know virtually nothing about? Ignorant twat. The Dunning-Kruger Effect is at maximum throttle in our society.

To all the Brendas and Karens out there sporting your let me speak to your manager haircuts, who do you think you are? What are you doing hun? (We’re all huns here) Do you think you are the only women with children? Problems at work? Customer service issues? Wrong order sent to your table? Incorrect change given? Did someone cut you off in traffic, or take the parking spot you were gunning for at Walmart?

I think I need to remind you, you are not a unique snowflake.

What makes you so special above everyone else? I’d really like to know. Maybe write a little comment explaining why you feel you’re more important than anyone else in our world.

Who do I think I am? I think I’m just a busted up ol’ broad, blogging for free therapy, struggling to get through one day at a time. I stay humble. I am not better than anyone. I have issues and I recognize those. I am here merely by the grace of God.

It would serve us more if we could all be a little bit more humble. A little bit more compassionate, just a tiny bit more empathetic to others.

Stop the judging, the gossiping, the putting yourself on that pedestal that no one sees but you. Stop interfering with other people’s lives and focus on your own.

Because, who do you think you are?

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously.

S.

Image Courtesy of

https://churchsermonseriesideas.com/who-do-you-think-you-are/

Article Courtesy of

https://www.verywellmind.com/an-overview-of-the-dunning-kruger-effect-4160740

Don’t Take Shit From People

So I’m laying here tonight trying to relax after the week from hell. (Impending eviction)

Fumbling through my old Facebook photos, you know how that goes. you start nosing in on people you’ve lost touch with over the years to see what they’re up to. Tonight, mine led me to a face that I haven’t seen in over 9 years. My mother.

For the past couple of years, I’ve missed her. I’ve missed having a mom I could call up and ask for advice from. I’ve missed having a mom that would be there for me when I needed her. Most recently, I’ve needed my mother to deal with this illness. whatever it is is. Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, something neurological. I really don’t know what the fuck is going on inside my body. I know I’m in early onset menopause, I know I have pretty severe osteoarthritis as it’s throughout my body and leaves me pretty crippled in the damp and humid weather. I know I have something seriously wrong with my spine and am waiting to see a specialist about it. I know I have PTSD.

I’ve also needed my mom to deal with my father. His in and out presence in my life. His oblivion to my pain. His inability to recognize how seriously he has damaged me.

Then I browsed through some more photos. Saw her and my stepfather got another dog. Got a new motorhome I see. It baffles me how my parents were unable to attend my wedding years ago (I’m divorced now, thankfully and am with the right person, finally) but are apparently able to travel in a camper. You couldn’t even send me a card when I got married.

I remembered how my mother was never there for me. When I called she couldn’t be bothered to take the time to talk to me on the phone. Her TV shows were more important. No matter if I was in a jam and needed help, or just really needed to hear her voice when I was down or needed life advice.

I had no one to go to for life advice.

I look at my stepfather’s smug face in his profile picture and remember how he always looked at me with contempt. Like I was gross. Some kind of fucking slimy garden slug. A garden slug with a bad smell. Yeah, that’s how I would describe it. Oddly enough, it’s the same way my stepmother always looked at me.

I feel like I’ve gone through tremendous mental growth over the past few years. I’ve terminated friendships that were not healthy, balanced or kind. I don’t need that. I’ve ended associations with people because I don’t share their views or ideas. I have different values, I have strong morals. something that seems to be lacking in this world.

Funny thing is, I didn’t get these morals or values from anyone in my family. Not my mother, not my father, and most certainly, not my step parents. I have absolutely nothing in common with my stepbrothers. For the most part, they’re egotistical, selfish, immature, and well… they’re kind of jerks. Who needs that? Nope.

I developed my own code as I grew up. As I made mistakes or failed, I learned lessons the hard way, on my own. Some values I received from my grandmothers. My paternal grandmother was a woman of faith who taught me about Jesus and the Bible at a very young age. I loved it. I found the time we spent reading the Bible together, I read it out loud to her because the printing was too small for her eyes, to be peaceful and reassuring. My maternal grandmother taught me about strength and perseverance. She taught me how to cook. Both grandmothers taught me to stand up for myself and, in their words, “don’t take shit from people.” They were sassy ladies. I probably get my sassiness from them as well.

No. Looking at my mother tonight brought me to a conclusion. A closure even. I don’t know this person, and she doesn’t know me. She’s never been that kind of mom you could call when you needed her. She’s never been that kind of mom that puts her (only) child(ren) first. She’s always been more concerned about her own needs, her own wants. It was proposed to me that perhaps my stepfather is too controlling. Well, yeah. he is controlling, sometimes an outright asshole but, I also know this. What my mother wants, my mother gets. My stepfather has always been a “Yes Dear” man. He’s not entirely to blame. My mother had a choice, and she chose to pretend I don’t exist. In the photo of my mother’s most recent lap dog, she’s a better dog mom than actual mom, I zoomed in on the shelf behind her. There were pictures of stepbrother one and his woman, next to it was a photo of stepbrother two and his wife. There were no other photos on that shelf. No, I’m sorry, their past dead dogs’ photos were there. But that was it. I didn’t make the shelf display cut. I simply don’t exist.

Last year, this would have sent me spiralling down the depression hole quicker than a squirrel up a tree with a cat after it. But tonight something in me clicked. I’m done grieving my father and my mother. It took some time, but I think I’m done. They’ve sucked up enough of my time and energy. No more.

I cut these ties.

I am just going to focus on building what I have with the love of my life. I’m going to enjoy some happiness for a change. As my paternal grandmother would have said, “Fuck ’em.” So sassy.

I feel remarkably stronger and lighter. My love is intact, my faith is stronger than ever. That’s all I need. We have overcome worse things in our lives, we’ll overcome this too.

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

S.

ARGH.

Stressed out womanWe were served one week ago with an eviction notice. For one week I have been unable to sleep more than three or four hours at a time. Unable to eat more than one small meal a day. I’ve had migraines. I’ve vomited, and I’m in a flare up. I’m having some pretty bad PTSD nightmares. My speech is slurred and I can’t stay out of the loo.

Thanks so much for this.

The vacancy rate in Halifax is 1.5%. There was just a piece published in the Chronicle Herald yesterday about how young people aren’t able to come to Halifax anymore because the rents are not only ridiculously high, but you’re lucky if you can even find housing.

So you tell me in what world two decent tenants are facing homelessness by the word of one person?

How can one person have the power to throw our lives into such upheaval? We had been nothing but kind and considerate since we moved in. If this individual didn’t like us, she had three months while we sublet, to change her mind about signing a lease with us. Yet she chose to.  She had ample opportunities to tell us if she had a problem with us, but she didn’t.

Every time I asked, (and I asked multiple times because I am not an asshole, and certainly didn’t want to disrupt anyone else) whether or not we disturbed her, or bothered her, we were told, “No, I never hear you guys.”

Any time she was rude to us, which was frequently, we took it on the chin and just went upstairs. Throughout ten months of incessant barking, we said nothing. Her girlfriend practically lived here, contributed nothing, but again, we said nothing. Why? Because we honestly liked these two people, we thought we were friends. But now I see we were just being taken advantage of.

Even though we did ALL the cleaning inside and outside (except lawn, that was the roommate’s only job), we said nothing because we wanted to live in a clean home whether she pitched an effort or not. We are not dirtbags.

The backyard is piled up with items that don’t belong to us. A bio composter of some kind, prior tenant. A wooden flower bed, prior tenant. Coffee table, roommate, stool, prior tenant, wagon, roommate. Pallets, roommate.  You get the drift.

We have spent the better part of 10 months living in a room together. The couple of times we attempted to use the living room (after we cleaned downstairs for hours) we were kicked out and ended up retreating to our bedroom.

We have felt disrespected THE ENTIRE time we have lived here. It’s not a good feeling. Again, we never involved the landlord because this was not a long term solution for us, and you DON’T INVOLVE LANDLORDS IN ROOMMATE DISPUTES in Halifax.

I’m going to have to schedule an appointment with my doctor because I’m having difficulty coping with all the stress this has brought on. I’m in menopause and I suffer from PTSD and Fibromyalgia, so that means I go from angry to crying in a flash. A hot flash. yuk yuk.

One thing I do to cope is clean, but this place is sparkling and I have run out of things to clean now.  I have begun packing, in case we are tossed out on to the street after our hearing.

Who needs this shit? Honestly.

I feel like I’ve been bullied my entire life, but none more than being a grown, disabled woman.  From constantly having to prove my disabilities, to narcissistic abuse from family and a few friends. I have taken so much shit from so many people over the years, that I have finally reached full. The shit runneth over.

I just want to lie on a beach with a book and forget all this ever happened. Including moving to Halifax.

To address our need for immediate housing, we have started a Go Fund Me to assist with moving costs, utility hookups, damage deposit etc. If you are able to donate, it would be greatly appreciated, if not, a simple share or prayer helps. Thank you so much for your kindness. I really appreciate my online friends and the blogging community.

 

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

S.

 

Image Credit

http://www.clker.com/clipart-634242.html

Welcome to the Circus That is my Mind

I have a racing, wandering, rambling mind.  I always have.  It has at times, distracted me from doing schoolwork, doing actual work, carrying on conversations, running errands, reading books, completing my house work, having sex and most certainly- sleeping.

The best way I can relate how it feels would be to equate to having a job to do at an office.  You have to get those reports in by 5 and it’s already 3 pm.  You’re just able to focus when the phone rings, and it’s an important client.  Then, Susan from accounting stops by to review numbers.  Two minutes later, your co worker has a melt down at your desk.  You’re trying to finish this damn report but Dan from sales is re-enacting a scene from Breaking Bad while standing directly behind your chair.  Your boss pops by every 15 minutes to track your progress.  While this is going on, there’s a visiting travelling Circus in your office complete with a petting zoo, trapeze artists, tumbling clowns,  Firedancers, sword swallowers, helium filled balloons, and that traditional circus music blaring from all four corners of your office.

Each random thought that pops in to my head is like a different act in that circus.

The Circus of my Mind
Basically… My brain
The tumbling clowns are all the funny things I have seen or heard that replay back in my head.  This act is reserved for things like old Seinfeld episodes, my favorite Saturday Night Live sketches, and Family Guy gags.  It also includes funny things my partner or friends have said, and contains the time my cat got a bag stuck on his head and he peed the entire length of the hallway, running, while the bag flapped behind him like an unfortunate parachute.

Then there’s the Trapeze act.  These are things I think I should be doing but am still only in the thinking stage, not the acting stage.  I’m afraid of heights.  I’m afraid of people.  I’m afraid of foods past the expiration date.  I’m afraid of a lot of things.

The petting zoo consists of all the animals I want to pet.  Baby goats, poofy dogs, fluffy kitties, that arrogant dog down the street that won’t let me pet him, rabbits, hedgehogs, squirrels and pigeons.

Subdermal Implants
Why? Would you do this??
Then there’s the sword swallower.  These are all things that make me go Yeesh while shaking my head wondering why anyone would want to do such a thing.  This includes but is not limited to; subdermal implants, RFID chips, eye tattoos, collagen fillers, Trump supporters, racism, random acts of violence, the Kardashians and general crime/politics.

The fortune teller encompasses all the things that perplex me.  Things I am curious about.  Things that have led to me being labelled a Conspiracy Theorist in the past.  They say Conspiracy Theorist, I say truth seeker or just curious is a more accurate depiction.  I mean, I’m not one of those people that think the world is flat but I do question things like possible false flag attacks, fake news and what the government tells us.  I questioned the whole 911 narrative, the JFK assassination, the moon landing, whether aliens are A) real B) here C) demons D) the original inhabitants of this planet and maybe WE are the aliens.

Aliens or Demons?
WTF ARE they??
The Freak Show are aspects of myself that I try to hide.  My insecurities.  My quirks.  My obsessive compulsive behaviors.  This is where I clip and examine my toenails and remove my blackheads.  This is where I listen to and sing along loudly to the formidable Kelly Clarkson.  This is also where I borrow that voice I talk to my dog in.

The tiger and elephant parade reminds me of things I can appreciate and value but not touch.  The beauty of the sun gleaming across the Atlantic ocean, my gratitude for some of the wonderful people present in my life or my lover’s laugh and smile.  This is where I store the way I feel when she puts her arm around me in the middle of the night until I drift off to sleep.  My dog’s face is there too.  The face she makes when I hold her and rub her head, the face she makes when she’s running through the grass.  These are the precious things.

The Firedancer envelopes all the things that frighten me.  Impending war, losing my love- my partner, running out of money and food, the future, whether being gay will lead me to the fiery pits of hell.  Will I get fat again? (even though I’ve kept it off for a decade) Will the world just get worse?  Just how dumb are people going to get??

helium filled balloons
All my shitty ideas
The helium filled balloons represents each idea I have had that has either popped, backfired or I never got around to.  The big red balloon just out of my reach?  That’s my book.  The blue one that’s floating up up up to the ceiling?  That was my art business.  That annoying yellow balloon that keeps bopping me in the face despite me trying to swat it away?  That was when I moved to Newfoundland for a fresh start and lost all my belongings.  Everything I owned.  The little ones floating away?  Those are my exes.  Quick!  Give me a pin!

The Ringleader or Ring Master, is God who tries to keep me on track.  He tries to organize my thoughts in to manageable compartments and keep me focused on the task at hand.  He tries to make me a better human.  He gives me warm peanuts and sticky cotton candy.  He gives me hope that the next act will be better…

Ringleader
The Ring Master

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sam

 

 

Images

Old Barnum & Bailey Poster  http://blog.tripbase.com/photo-essay-history-of-the-traveling-circus/

Subdermal implant  http://randomstory.org/bizarre-body-modifications-in-different-cultures/subdermal/

Three Grey Aliens  http://ipost.christianpost.com/post/aliens-extraterrestrials-are-really-demon-spirits

Floating balloons  http://balloonsdelivered.com.au/balloons/floating-balloons/

Ring Master  http://www.thedrawingclub.com/workshop/ringmaster-2010-theme-photo-and-artwork/

Diet Coke and the Rape Basement

Today my love and I had lunch with her mother and two aunts, they’re in town for a few days.  We hit up the Urban Deli which is one of the best lunch spots going here in Saint John.  I had my favorite, the peanut butter burger fries and a Diet Coke.  I know I know,  it’s diet it has aspartame and all that shit but I love it and I limit myself to one a day.  I usually crack my can (never plastic) of liquid gold in the afternoon when I start to feel sluggish.  It perks me up and it’s oh so cold and bubbly (we call it picky in our house- oh so picky).  I often quote a scene from Family Guy in a highly caffeinated voice, “If you see the green shirt go around 30 times in 5 minutes you get to have a Diet Coke!”

 

 

Lunch was delicious.  The peanut butter sauce snuggled the bacon on my grilled burger before it ran deliciously down my fingers and hands.  So juicy.  We strolled the city market while we waited for our table.  The ladies checked out all the crafts.  These women are serious about their crafts.  They have entire rooms full of fabrics and craft supplies.  They can make anything.  They’re like a team of sewing MacGyvers really.  Afterward they critiqued the crafts which was funny.  “The craftsmanship was NOT worth THAT price.”  Or “That’s not how you make a hat really but..”  We stopped by The Baking Stone which is a little corner spot bakery that offers an array of sweeties.  At 5 ladies deep, two of which PMSing, it wasn’t even discussed.  We just kind of all congregated in front of the glass displays of desserts.  Much like when you were a kid during the Christmas season looking at all the window displays of toys at the mall.  I showed much restraint after having a fight with a pair of zip up capris prior to going out.  I balled them up and tossed them in the closet like “take that evil pants!  You can come back out when you can behave.”  Now, I can’t be sure because I have no corroborating evidence, but I suspect someone has broken into my apartment and switched out all my pants for identical pants only a size smaller.  I settled on one cannoli.  Gotta make it count right?  

 

I was up late blogging last night and out during the day, walking around in the sun so I’m already getting tired.  I started yawning at 5pm.  Starting to have that pain shooting down my neck again.  Ugh.  So sick of wearing Magic Bag scarves all the time.  I do laundry for a neighbor of mine and told him I’d do it tonight which I am now regretting.  Our laundry room is in the basement.  Our building is 140 years old so the basement is dark, cold, dusty and creepy as shit.  It looks like something out of a horror movie actually.  I prefer to do laundry during the day, I refuse to go down there after the sun goes down.  We call it “the rape basement” because it looks like a place that perverts would love with it’s dim light and many dark corners.  “C” says it looks like something out the Saw movies.  I have included photos for your viewing pleasure.

The Rape Basement

I didn’t intend to write a lengthy post today.  It was mainly just to have written something.  Anything.  

 

How was your Monday?

 

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

 

Sam

I Used To Be Pretty 

Ugh. I used to be pretty.” I mumble to myself in the mirror as I tweeze the stray hairs from between my eyebrows.  Like most women, my eyebrows are not naturally perfect.  In fact, I have a unabrow that I have been taking care of since junior high.  I really don’t care who knows because there are pictures of me floating around out there sporting big black thick caterpillars so I’m not fooling anybody.  In the nineties, it was all about the skinny brow.  I wore those too.  Back then I looked constantly surprised.  We all did.  It was a frightening time.  That’s where The Macarena lives.  I take my eyebrows seriously now.   I have left specific instructions with my partner as well as close friends that if I am ever hospitalized for any length of time, for the love of all things holy, please have someone come in and do my eyebrows.  Anyway, moving on, I used to be pretty.  I’m really noticing my age now when I look in the mirror. 

I have creases and lines around my darkened eyes that I try to hide with concealers and light eyeshadows.  I have noticeable lines around my mouth from laughing out loud and deep frown lines in my forehead from wincing in pain, and from saying “what in the actual fuck?” too often.  I have coarse gray hairs sprouting where my soft wavy auburn ones used to be. 

Things creak and snap and pop in a much older, much rounder version of a girl that used to dance with reckless abandon alone in her room to the B52s.  The girl who used to stay up all night finishing a Stephen King novel before she went to school now, at 43 holds that Stephen King book much farther away and prefers e readers because you can make the font large and these days, I’m all about less squinting.

I’m aging.  It seems to have snuck up on me somewhere between season 1 and season 7 of Game of Thrones.  

One night you’re washing your bar makeup off and when you splash your face and look up, it’s 20 years later and there’s some old broad standing where you once were with an “I’m too old for this shit” look on her face.  She thinks your music is too loud and that young people suck.  

I guess I’m not at that aging gracefully stage as there seems to be nothing graceful about it. Things drop, sag and hang and all the push up bras and Spanx in the world can’t hide the lie forever.  Why are my hips widening now?  The time for babies has passed.  It really seems like overkill.  

I’d like to conclude by saying something like, “oh but I am so much wiser.”  I am.   I’m wise to the fact that I’m looking and feeling haggard and old.  


This blog post brought to you by Queens of the Stone Age Villains.. On repeat. Thank God for Rock and Roll…

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Tell Her She’s Pretty,

Sam
Sam Clattenburg

The Mysteries of the Lesbian Relationship Revealed

Cannoli
Mmmm Sweetie…
The quintessential lesbian breakfast traditionally begins with a hefty portion of bacon ideally served with a warm croissant. Money and time permitting, that is followed by a Second breakfast. The ultimate Second breakfast is made up of a delicious sweetie like say, a cannoli perfectly paired with a hot cup of Saint John’s finest coffee- Java Moose, Foghorn if you please.

We will enjoy our morning coffee on our Sesame Street style stoop while the sun is shining and discuss today’s plans (namely, what we will eat) and observances. There was an overweight Robin Hood and a Value Village Xena walking down the street today. Bizarre yes, but this is an artsy area. We live across from a Performing Arts center so we concluded it was for a play. I know people wonder what it is us lesbians do at home. I’m about to reveal an age old secret. It’s not all late night cable soft core porn as many people would choose to believe. We talk about food. There aren’t sexy pillow fights happening, there is Masterchef, Kitchen Nightmares and anything else Lord Gordon Ramsay (he really should be a Lord) has a hand in.

In addition to our many hours of Yahtzee and Star Wars Trouble with the Pop’O’Matic Bubble, we like to compete in the kitchen. Coming up with different techniques and seasonings to try to blow each others’ taste buds away and tease each other over who’s the better cook. I say it’s her.

At some point today we’ll play hide and seek with the dog. We have a miniature dachshund named Lucy. Well, I have a dog that she lays no claim to; more of a cat person she insists. We’ll do some housework and Netflix for the day. We’ll curse my laptop as it craps out a dozen times. Then we will cook dinner. The star of tonight’s dinner will be chicken, frankly it’s the only meat ‘C’ will eat unless I make pulled pork.

Sometimes we send each other dirty mind reading text messages like,

“I’m craving chocolate, are you?”

And wouldn’t you know it? I am!

I’ll literally be fantasizing about ice cream when I receive a message from ‘C’

“I was thinking about ice cream, should I get some?”

Hell yes.

Food is prevalent in most lesbian relationships I’ve learned. I’m just glad that I found someone who likes the same food as me (barring seafood). Our snack preferences are the same and our cooking talents measure up to one another. My partner- my life and food partner.

Our relationship is no different than anyone else’s. We do the same things other couples do, there’s no mystery or evil or “agenda”. We’re just two people who love each other, love food, love the same things, (barring my dog) who happen to be women. Period. Sure, we boob bump (chest bump) when something goes our way but I mean- who doesn’t??
Also.. Who couldn’t adore this face?

Wire haired Mini Dachshund
Lucy the Dog
Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sam

Another Night, Another Dreamish Sleep

A guest blog post by Ocean Hayward

 

Anxiety

Here I am, up again. I start off well- I  doze off into dreamland and then am awakened from my slumber (usually because I need to urinate); then it starts. I try to go back to sleep, but I worry.  I worry that I won’t be able to get back to sleep. Then I worry that I’ll be tired in the morning because I didn’t sleep. And then I worry about all of the things I didn’t manage to get done and the things I need to do. And the worry goes on, and on and on (till the breaka-breaka dawn, yo!)

 

Anxiety.

 

So this morning I awoke, and I started thinking about my anxiety, and the fact that I have always had it. Or did I?  When did I start feeling anxiety all the time? Was it, in fact, always a part of my life?

 

I tried to remember the first time I felt really anxious. My first thought was that it was my very first day of school (which is ironic because I am a teacher now and tomorrow… no, technically now, today is my first day of school for this year.) So my first day of grade primary, I took the bus by myself and got to the school. All the kids at the elementary school were playing in the school yard. I remember sitting on a bench in front of the school by myself. Worried. Worried because I didn’t know where I was supposed to go.

 

Before the summer, they had given us an orientation to grade primary and I went to my mom to see the school and all of that. But I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to do or where I was supposed to go. Did they even tell me? Then the bell rang for the instructional day to start, and I sat on the bench and cried. I didn’t know what to do. A little girl saw me outside by myself, sobbing. She was arriving on a late bus. She asked me what was wrong. I replied that I didn’t know what I was supposed to do or where my class was. She said, “Maybe you’re in my class.”

 

Now, you may be thinking this is a happy story about how I made a new best friend who helped me find my way on my first day of school. Let me stop you. She did not become my best friend. In fact, I never made any real friends until I myself was in grade one. But that is another story and does not relate to my main point here and the epiphany I made this morning in my sleep-less state. Or maybe it’s not an epiphany at all. Maybe it’s just the ramblings of an extremely over-tired, worried, crazy teacher lady.

 

The kind little girl led me to her classroom. I arrived to a class full of strange faces. The girl told the teacher my situation and the teacher asked me my name. “No,” the teacher said. “You’re not in this class. This is grade one,” and she asked the other little girl to take me down the hall to the grade primary classroom.

 

I thought about this moment in my life- yes, I thought- it was all the people and commotion, this was the defining moment of when my anxiety started. Or was it?

 

It wasn’t.

 

I thought about the time my mother and I went to visit my Great-Aunt Evelyn and Great-Uncle Allison. (Yes, Allison is a man’s name too. Men with typically female names are prevalent in my family- my grandfather’s name was Beverly and I have other family members named Laurie.) Anyway, I was playing on the floor next to the Grandfather Clock in their sitting room. I guess I must have been too loud or something because I remember my mother snapping at me, “Children should be seen, not heard.” After that, I always worried about being too loud when we went visiting.

But no, that wasn’t the first time I felt anxiety. My mother was always yelling at me. “Clean up your toys” or “It’s time for bed” or “Get ready to go.” It was my mother yelling at me all the time that really triggered my anxiety. It wasn’t her fault though. My mother always acted like a bitch, but she really wasn’t. She would yell at me out of frustration. You see, she would ask me to do things, but I would be zoned out in my own little world of thoughts, play or television. As a teacher, I totally understand her frustration- you ask a child to do something again and again and again and they don’t listen. It makes total sense that she would eventually explode into a tirade of yelling and crazy bitchiness. In fact, I had such a problem with listening to both my mother and the teachers at school, in addition to a speech disability, that in grade primary I was sent to have my hearing checked. The result: I have perfect hearing. Not so great at listening.

 

This may be all coming together for you by now. Or maybe not. I’ll spell it out for you. I have recently been diagnosed with Adult ADHD. All of a sudden, my entire life makes sense.

 

Being diagnosed was a struggle. Throughout my teaching education and career, I learned a lot about ADHD and I suspected I may have it. Zoning out, daydreaming, messy, hyper… Of course, when I was growing up, ADHD wasn’t a thing. Or if it was, it wasn’t well known. But when I was sent to see a psychiatrist due to anxiety attacks, I asked if he could test me for ADHD. His response was that since I was a teacher and had been successful at life, I couldn’t possibly have ADHD. But he didn’t know my history, and how could he? Psychiatrists don’t have the time to learn our histories in this age of information overload, unequal work-life balances, and Donald Trump where everyone has some kind of mental illness. (Really, it should be called societal illness since we seem to be creating a lot of this madness ourselves!)

 

If he knew my history, he would know everything I’ve just explained to you. He would also know that throughout school, my assignments were often incomplete and late. He would also know that I struggled with attendance and drinking too much during my early university years and actually flunked out. I returned later, and turned that anxiety into motivation.

 

So this morning I had an epiphany. Which came first? The chicken or the egg, the ADHD or the anxiety. They are connected, you see. But if I had to articulate what came first, I think it is the ADHD. You see when you are constantly living within your own mind, you miss things. A LOT OF THINGS. Instructions, conversations, deadlines, places where you put your things. You miss out on so many things because of your inability to focus, and then comes the anxiety. What was I supposed to do and how was I supposed to do it? How come I can’t remember that my husband told me about Trump watching the solar eclipse when we had an entire conversation about it? (He thinks it was a conversation only because I nodded and said yes and no to make it appear that I was listening. When you have ADHD, you become an expert at faking attention.) When are those grades due again? Where did I put the keys? Where did I put the keys?

 

Then there is the hyperactivity aspect. I can do everything! I’ll volunteer to do this or that, because I always want to be busy. I will have these amazing, wonderful ideas and start planning something, then be overwhelmed by the amount of detail, effort and organization involved. This leads to procrastination due to the overwhelming workload I’ve created for myself. Then things either get done in a sloppy way or don’t get done at all because people with ADHD take on too many tasks due to our constant need for mental stimulation.

 

And so here is the equation as I see it: an inability to focus + a need to be active= ANXIETY. That is my epiphany in the early morning hours of dreamlessness.

 

Proof positive: in the time that I started writing this piece, I started making oatmeal for breakfast and got focused on writing, forgetting about the oatmeal cooking on the stove. Yummy, burnt oatmeal for breakfast. Just another day in the life of a person with ADHD.

 

Did I mention I ran out of my ADHD meds? It’s going to be a great day of chaos- I hope I can find my classroom.

~ Ocean

Image

“Thoughtful Young Woman Sitting on Red Sofa” by Ambro  www.freedigitalphotos.net