Anxiety is the worst. Sometimes it’s really hard to hold onto the positive when my brain gets overstimulated. Imagine being in a classroom trying to take notes for an important lesson while the marching band is practicing outside the window, your best friend is trying to share cat videos with you, there are two people chatting behind you, and you’ve got a splitting headache. That’s how crowded it gets in my head on the regular. I’m just one giant raw nerve and everything in the world around me is imploding at once.
Like right now, I’m trying to write this post, and I’m thinking “SHIT! I forgot to pay the lawn mowing bill. How overdue is that?!” And I can pretty much promise you that if I don’t get up this second and locate the bill, I will forget again. There’s just so damn much happening at once and this morning, while I was swimming at the gym, I was wishing that I were stupid rich so I could just do whatever I wanted and life would be chill. But you know what? Although money would definitely solve a bunch of shit on my list, it isn’t going to change the noise or the doom spiraling in my head. Truth.
Case in point, what exactly do I plan to do with all this free time money is going to buy me? What do I actually want out of life and what could I be doing right now that doesn’t require money that I’m not doing despite having a lot more free time since going part time? I want to travel, make my podcast, and…well, that’s about as far as I’ve made it at this juncture. Look, I’m gonna give it to you straight, sometimes it absolutely is about the money - to make house repairs, pay bills, fund trips but more times it doesn’t have anything to do with the dollar dollar bills ya’ll.
It’s about mindset and getting clear about what it is you actually want to do with your life. What will make you happy? What do you want to do before you die? What does a life well lived look like to you? We gotta dig deep and find the real answers to these questions inside ourselves. Not the bullshit we tell other people to make ourselves look good, but the truth that will set us free.
That’s the reflection I need to be making. I’m going to think long and hard about it, figure out where I’d like to be heading and how exactly I’m going to get there - just as soon as I pay that damn lawn mowing bill.
Tonight I offer up a haiku for the loves of my life, may they dream the sweetest dreams:
Their tiny toe beans
Warm fuzzy little bellies
My heart is so full
Fell out of routine and missed a post yesterday, but I’m back at it swinging today. The older I get, the more I find that routine is incredibly important but also really difficult to establish with my ADHD. I feel better when I have routine, but I also fight really hard against creating it. I do something or a series of something’s for a day or two and then peter out because I would rather read a book or watch Netflix. It’s exasperating.
That’s another reason I’m forcing myself to sit down and write this damn blog. I wore the same dress every day for 100 days to simplify my life and prove to myself that I in fact could do something I put my mind to and now I’m applying that same sense of single minded focus to writing. The dress taught me that I need a lot less in my life than I previously thought and took the decision fatigue out of getting dressed in the morning. Writing is cathartic. Getting my thoughts out helps me process. I highly recommend it (even if you don’t post it on the internet).
You don’t have to write something prolific everyday - today’s post is a glaring example. Just sit down and put your thoughts on paper (or Google doc). No quota, no criteria, no judgment. Hell, you don’t even have to write complete sentences. Grab a notebook and just free write what’s in your head for 10 minutes everyday. You might be surprised at what comes out.
A friend sent me a really great video about a thing called The Wall of Awful. There are actually two parts - defining what the wall is and how to get over it. But, suffice it to say that I’m staring a wall down at this very moment. Basically, the WOA (wall of awful), is the inability to do even a simple task because of the enormous amount of baggage that stands in front of it. Previous bad experiences, trauma, negative self talk, anxiety, doubt, just a whole shit load of bricks piled up between you and the thing you want/need to do.
On the other side of my current wall is my podcast and the Mic Drop Workshop, two things I’m excited and terrified by in equal measure. Yes, ADHD and executive dysfunction are part of the mix, but the other part is fear of failure (or even worse, insignificance). What if I put all this energy and time into creating a podcast and writing a keynote speech and literally no one gives a shit? Or worse, the internet trolls come out from under their bridges and validate all of the things I secretly fear about myself? Oh, well - I guess.
That’s a new mantra I’m trying to make stick “Oh well”. I got the idea from an Instagram Post by Jess Ekstrom (who is one of the top 5 most inspiring people I know of). Instead of falling into a well of what if’s and despair, we decide to let the negative be part of the growth process. When something bad happens, say “Oh well” and see how that feels. No one listens to my podcast? Oh well. No one wants to pay me to speak? Oh well.
It might sound a little callous or even counterproductive, but hear me out: what if it is really teaching us to just let that shit go? We’re going to try, we’re going to fail and sometimes epically, but so what? I just read the most incredible post from a family friend who had to stop running a 250 mile marathon he’d been training to do for over a year because of a knee injury. In talking about the experience, he said, “If there isn’t a significant chance of failure, then what you’re doing must not be very difficult. I will heal-up, learn, adjust, move on, improve, and fail until I succeed.”
That is the embodiment of “oh well”. Take on the challenging things, the things that terrify you, and embrace the possibility of falling on your face. We will never know what is possible if we don’t try.
There’s a traffic jam in my head,
The circus is escaping out the back while no one is looking.
Somebody forgot to make a plan for contingencies,
We always forget the damn contingencies.
Why do they never account for shit hitting the fan?
It’s inevitable, unavoidable -
Stop being a pessimist they say at the meeting,
But it’s not pessimism, it’s pragmatism.
Somebody has to look out for the Spanish Inquisition,
Or that shit will blindside you every time.
There’s something so satisfying about seeing another person’s success story. You get the difficult beginnings and the shiny, beautiful, perfectly packaged end result. What we so often forget about is the messy middle and the new beginnings that inevitably follow because almost nothing in life is static. The best lived lives are those that constantly evolve, taking joy in the challenge of discovering each new possibility, and understanding that with possibility comes risk. The goal isn’t to avoid failure, it is to be fulfilled, to be passionately alive.
On this morning, I wish with every fiber of my being that I were at that perfectly packaged end. I’m looking around at my house that is so utterly chaotic and disheveled (a bi-product of my neurodivergent brain) and wanting order. I want to tame the clutter, get rid of ALL the shit I will never use, and then somehow stumble on the pile of money it’s going to take to remodel this 1921 craftsman bungalow. I want to sit in my Pinterest worthy final product sipping my morning tea and look back on how far I’ve come and how good it feels. But, today is NOT that day.
I wish I had advice for you, that I could tell you I have all the secrets for mastering your ADHD brain and finally getting your shit together, but I can’t. What I can offer you is honesty. I am trying really hard, experimenting with the fervor of a mad scientist to find the things that work, that help, that bring a modicum of sanity into my chaos. I am learning to forgive myself over and over again every single day - reminding myself that I am human, and our humanity is what makes us beautiful.
I may never have the Pinterest house of my dreams, but that knowledge won’t stop me from trying. There is joy in the trying, self discovery in the attempts, and today I chose to embrace the chaos and hold onto hope with both fists. Sometimes the best part of life is in the becoming.
I had my last personal training session at the pool this morning and decided to swim around a bit afterwards when a minor miracle occurred. I did a few freestyle strokes and my shoulder didn’t feel like it was trying to disconnect from my body! I’m not saying that I could make it through repeated laps, because I was entirely too tired to try, but it definitely raised my spirits.
For administrative professionals day, my work provided us with free massages (how cool is that) and the massage therapist did some work on my shoulder. It never even occurred to me, or maybe I have forgotten, that it’s called therapeutic massage for a reason. I don’t expect to get full mobility back, but this definitely changes my outlook.
I said at the beginning that I didn’t know what was possible so I was going to go out there and see what my body can do. It’s small victories like this which make me hopeful - not because everything hinges on my shoulder being cured, but because I am reminded that I actually don’t know what is possible. Not everything in life is going to be a disappointment. Sometimes we get to be pleasantly surprised.
Take this moment to remember that for all the heinously bad unexpected shit that happens in our lives, there is also magnificently good unexpected shit. We simply can’t imagine every possibility, and that my friends is why we must get out there and embrace the adventure of living.
I’m the kind of tired that makes you question whether 5:53 pm is an acceptable time to just call it a night. I missed my blog post yesterday because I couldn’t get a connection to the site I publish on at our Airbnb, but I choose to forgive myself. My husband ran 13.1 miles in two hours and 41 minutes and I couldn’t be prouder. Sometimes you miss things because the actual living of life comes first. Enjoying a post race dinner and the Greyhound Hall of Fame with an awesome partner trumps trying to find a suitable wi-fi connection any day.
Set your goals and aim high, but be willing to adjust and forgive yourself when things don’t go according to plan. One missed blog post is no reason to throw the whole challenge out the window. The purpose is growth, not perfection - know what I mean?
Putting pen to paper -
Giving voice to the thoughts that echo
In the early morning hours.
As I lay here contemplating,
Life, the universe, and everything.
Douglas Adam’s was right,
We forgot to ask the question.
Now it’s just perpetual limbo,
reaching out in the dark for something,
Not quite tangible enough to grasp.
Today, I don’t feel like writing a blog post, but I’m here because I committed. Sometimes we just have to dig deep, deep inside ourselves and grab hold of our “oh yes I can”. These are the moments it’s most important to have a clearly established why - a reason we can fall back on when we’ve started to forget the point of doing a thing in the first place. So, what is my why?
I could have chosen a million things to do for 100 days, why exactly did I choose writing a blog post? Because, for as long as I can remember, writing has been my most authentic means of self expression. I kept a dear diary or journal all through middle school and high school (which I burned much later in life as an act of catharsis and letting go of some serious trauma). I have notebooks full of poetry I’ve created in some of my darkest times. Writing is what has kept me sane, but at some point over the last decade, I just kind of let it lapse. I started a blog, quit a blog, started a new blog, quit that blog, wrote this very blog for a while consistently and then vanished into the night just as quickly as I began.
Somewhere between the ups and downs of living and all the shit that goes along with ADHD and chronic pain, I forgot the power of writing shit down to get it out of my head. That’s why I chose this challenge. That’s precisely why I’m writing a blog every day for 100 days - to remind myself of the power of writing for expression. I’m forcing myself to let go of my agonizing perfectionism and to just sit down and clickety clack on the keyboard and see what comes out. I mean, I didn’t think that I had anything to say today and we’ve got three paragraphs. Clearly, I’ve got a lot more to learn from this exercise - here’s to day 10.
Creating my own sunshine 🌞