You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.
– Winston Churchill
My friend, Samara, wrote the post that originally inspired this. However, other things have happened, too. They fall along the same line and also need to be addressed.
First of all, I have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). In medical terms, that means that there is a certain brain chemical which scientists have yet to isolate that is either in insufficient amounts or missing altogether from my head. In layman’s terms, there are certain baffles of thought that exist in your brain between your thoughts and your words or actions that either don’t exist or are faulty in mine. That means I often don’t stop to think before I say or do some things and I have difficulty staying on track in a conversation. Some kids grow out of it. Over 60% of kids never do. This should not be construed as some kind of lame excuse for me to say or do whatever pops into my head. I’m 45 years old and, ADD or not, I flatter myself in the belief that I think a lot more than I used to when I was a kid. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen any more, though.
It’s pretty common for ADD kids to be treated as willfully rebellious, thoughtless or shallow and I was no exception. With our short attention spans and how easy it is for us to get bored with a subject (both symptoms of ADD), it’s easy to think that this might be the case. I remember when my parents finally brought me in for testing. The person who tested me claimed my IQ was well above average (a common trait in ADDers). However, my problem was my difficulty with paying attention. I was diagnosed as “hyperactive” and prescribed Ritalin by my pediatrician. However, even though the medicine did make it easier to think, it didn’t stop me from embarrassing myself in public and being labelled as a weirdo or worse, a freak.
Then the molestation happened, and suddenly I was even more of a freak because I had problems none of the other kids seemed to have, mainly having to do with sex. (Yes, I said the word sex. Didn’t you read the title?) This carried well into junior high and high school, but, by then I had rather
firmly established myself as a nerd, loner and the semi-official butt of people’s jokes. Can you imagine someone with ADD, that difficulty in stopping thoughts from becoming actions and words, with molestation in their medical history? Kids tease each other because other kids’ reactions can be funny and they often don’t understand that sometimes their comments can hurt. Well, when I was a kid, ADD made it impossible for kids not to get a reaction from me, particularly if they mentioned certain subjects.
So, all my life, I’ve been told to “grow up” and “get over it.” I’ve been told that there are others who have it worse than I do and I’ve even spoken with some of them. For a while, it seemed to me like nobody was interested in trying to understand, or, at least, help me to do so. My parents and I developed a friendship that I’ve learned to depend on and, of course, my husband does the best he can to be supportive. However, most of the solace I’ve gotten in my life has come from escaping into books.
To my knowledge, I never read anything banned, but my natural curiosity, coupled with the impulsiveness of ADD did eventually have me reading books my parents wouldn’t have approved of, had
they known at the time.
Mostly, though, my interest ran more toward fantasy and science fiction. I adored the story of Stuart Little, a boy born in the shape and size of a mouse. Trumpet of the Swan was another favorite, the story of a trumpeter swan born without a voice. I devoured Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan series, about a boy born with severe physical deformities who must make his way through a world built on physical perfection. Of course, you all know my passion for Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles and its main character, the princess who couldn’t help but stand out. These books gave me hope. Each of the main characters found the place where they fit in. Some of them even made a difference in someone else’s life. How I longed for that. Still do, sometimes.
They also taught me a valuable lesson. Don’t waste your energy trying to be something you’re not. If people don’t like you for who you are, then the problem is with them, not you. Eventually, you will find the place where you belong and it will be with people who need you to be who you are and even love that person.
Recently, I learned that there are some people who believe that certain things I’ve published here are too personal and they feel uncomfortable. These people, whoever they are, think I shouldn’t share such personal things with the general public. I have a message for them, assuming they are among those of you who have read this far.
I’m not going to stop writing the things that I feel like writing here. If you feel uncomfortable about it, that’s your problem. I am who I am and I’m going to go on being that person, no matter what you think. If you find that offensive, for whatever reason, don’t read my writing or subscribe to my blog because, if you read far enough back you’ll find that’s exactly what I’ve been doing here all along.