coffee date

When I'm getting to know someone I'm very aware that they're getting to know me.

I’ve been aware of my disorder for over two years now, searching diligently for understanding and looking for ways to share what I find and also to share those things that I figure out.

I’m comfortable with my progress, but not content enough to slow down my search.

And yet I wonder often if my label has become my badge, my “job” – or worse yet, I wonder if I’ve become my ADHD.

I seem to be constantly either learning, assimilating or disseminating ADHD information. It has become my vocation.

Last week, if you’ve been following along, you will have learned that I took a job as a contractor’s assistant. I had lots of things to think about at work, new things, different things. It was a lot like taking a vacation, though I’m still constantly observing my actions through the lens of my knowledge of ADHD. I decided that I’m not going to be able to control my mind any better than I ever did, so I let it concentrate on the job when it needs to and wander through observations and reasoning when it wants to. This seems to be working out.

I remember, as a youth, returning home after working at a new job and having to tell my family everything about my day, it had to come out. But, at my current age, few things seem new or exciting. Talking about another job is no longer an attractive pastime. I guess I’m getting old.

And yet I still talk …

I made a new friend recently. A woman who, in my opinion, is cool. She’s a poet with a colorful and vivid imagination. I find myself comfortably telling her things, sharing things.

Meeting her has made me aware that whenever I make a new acquaintance I’m concerned about how I represent myself. No one wants to be disliked, but I also don’t want to misrepresent myself.

I always make sure that anyone I engage with on a personal level knows that I have ADHD. But I work diligently to make sure I don’t come across as stereotypically distracted and hyper.

How many jobs do I have?

It’s hard work sometimes trying to make people realize that those of us who suffer from ADHD are still people. We’re diverse. We don’t each have all the symptoms. We have value and bring quality to interactions. Sometimes that quality may be enhanced by our ADHD, but that is not who we are. ADHD is just a part of what we are.

When I invest time in a friendship, I work at getting the message of who I am across. I also realize that the message I’m trying to send is not who I am but who I think I am. That’s okay, that represents me too.

How hard can it be?

And the people who are worth being friends with, make this an easy thing. I find myself wanting to share, looking forward to talking, being comfortable with the moments of questions and answers. And I find myself not wanting to say adieu.

My new friend makes me feel that way, and more than that, she’s made me aware that I feel that way.

I am me, and I have ADHD. It isn’t going to go away, but that’s okay. I know where I stand, I know where I start from, I start from here. Every journey starts from here, from right here. Go!