I feel pretty good about my life right now. My projects are developing as they should; my day jobs are serving their function until my income from my creative work is back in post-graduation action; I’m on track to walk in graduation in the Spring; I have awesome pets; I’m dating an awesome person; I have an awesome roommate. I have great friends and feel good about my place in my community.
I also feel good about my mental health. I’ve learned a lot this year about myself, about the pros and cons of being me, about how to operate myself most healthfully and effectively. Because we’re talking ADHD here, yes, I constantly have to remind myself of the same things…yes, I have to always be open to new ways of trying to do things, to get myself over obstacles when the old ways just don’t work anymore. To borrow Scott’s image: I’m driving along with uneven tire pressure.
Clearly this means I have to stop along the way to make sure I have the best journey possible. I know that low blood sugar impairs me terribly. I know that uneven tire pressure, aka ADHD is something that I need to address. As such, I make pitstops to eat, and to fill up my tires (aka, visit my therapist and take medication). I pull my little vehicle into filling stations on a regular basis in fact, to make sure that I have what I need to make my journey awesome…and to make sure that they journey is safe, for both me and my passengers.
Passengers? We all drive around all the time with passengers…people we have allowed to join us on our journeys through the day and through life. And that’s the key thing to remember…WE have allowed them to join us. Even if our permission is passive, we have still allowed their presence.
Some passengers are awesome…they trust you, let you drive since it’s your turn and they know that they never would have gotten to see such amazing new sights if they hadn’t joined you on your wacky road trip. Sometimes they might actually see something in the road ahead, before you do, that poses danger, and they will tell you, because that’s a legit thing to do for those you love, warn them of real and actual dangers. And they like your fuel stops because they see the need, and they appreciate that you see it too.
Then there’s other people in your car at times. The ones that you always hate to travel with because they make things so miserable. They’re in a hurry and don’t want to honor your pitstops because they think their destination is more important than your journey. They forget to pee at the filling station and make you pull over in the middle of nowhere and then run off into the woods because they think it’s funny. They bring a bag of road sodas (translation from Northern New England dialect to normal English: beers to go) promising they won’t get YOU in trouble, and smoke some butts (cigarettes) even though they know it will make you sick and refuse to roll down the windows so you can see through the smoke. For whatever reason, you thought you were obligated to transport them. They’re your oldest friends. They’re family. They can help your career. They’re cooler than you. They think they know more than you do, and you might agree with them sometimes because this is kind of a new car, and kind of a new journey.
They scream while you’re driving and question your ability to do so, even if the road is clear, and you’re doing a great job. They wave hands in front of your face when you won’t take their detours. They talk so loudly that you can’t concentrate, even though you may have already politely asked them to give you a few minutes of quiet time (after all, it’s a long journey ahead). They question your pitstops…what do you MEAN you are stopping for gas and food and to fill the tires, that’s INSANE they try to tell you. As they run past you into the store to stock up on road sodas and butts, get back in your car, and leave trash all over the floor.
These are not good passengers. They don’t appreciate where you are trying to go…they don’t appreciate that you travel by car, they don’t get why you are even interested in this journey in the first place, and they really, really don’t appreciate that you won’t join them when they suggest that perhaps another type of transportation might be better. Something BIGGER. Something FASTER. Something that will let you skip right over the inconveniences of a nuanced trip, something that will make you move so fast you won’t even remember where you came from!
Finally they’re so loud that they convince you to drop them off at the nearest train depot because you really just want to shut them up. You get there, you stop the car, you get out, and you try to reason with them about why what you’re doing works for you. How you really get sick to your stomach when you ride trains. How you need to drive your own car because you need to make the right pitstops, and not on the train conductor’s schedule. They laugh…they snicker…they tell you you’re nuts…and then they argue about how to sneak the road sodas and butts onto the train. You follow them, you forget to even lock the car, bring your keys, or shut off the lights.
You get on the train with them because you are determined that despite the obvious obstacles, they will hear you. And the train pulls away from the station as trains do and you don’t even notice because you’re trying to talk louder than they, louder than the roar of the train, to keep up, to make them finally and truly understand why you’ve chosen the kind of journey that you have chosen.
They laugh, they smoke butts, they drink road sodas.
They laugh…they smoke butts…they drink road sodas…
By the time the train reaches the next train you feel like an idiot because you realize what you’ve done. You get off…they all yell, and holler and tease…as you walk further and further from the platform they start yelling insults, and the further from the train you go, the meaner the insults become. You stop a couple of times, tempted to respond, but you remind yourself that you’re due for a pitstop, and you hold that in the front of your mind.
And you walk all the way back to the other station. And you see that your car is there, lights off, battery dead, doors open, leaves blown across the seats, butts and empty cans on the floors. You push the car, alone, to the nearest filling station. Fill the tires, fill the tank, eat something. Vaccuum out the car, buy an air freshener. Remember where you were headed. Shake a head at how far you were drawn from your purpose and by whom.
I’ve learned a valuable lesson this week. I’m not only not getting on trains anymore, quite frankly I’m not tempted. And I see what it may mean. And I don’t care.
The journey I’ve planned is beautiful. It is filled with magic and kindness and persistence. It is filled with silent spaces and peaceful places where I can hear the hum of insects and the whispers of dear friends. It is filled with love letters and magical coincidences. It is filled with music and food and kind reminders. I’ve made maps, but I’m looking forward to the surprises…and I’m looking forward to experiencing it all with companions who have earned their place in my life by honoring my vision and whose own visions are equally peaceful.
One door closes but many others will open…and there they are before me.