On One Hand

November 4, 2006

ADD

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 8:38 pm

I’m told by a professional that there’s more than a good chance I have ADHD. One symptom is the way it takes me six hours to write a three-page essay, because only two minutes per hour are actually spent writing. Another symptom my the inability to think unless I’m walking, which is a trait I’ve been aware of since I was of preschool age. Another symptom is the way I wander to the bookshelves and read the cover and back of random books – no deeper than chapter titles – when I try to use the library as a quiet place to study. I’m always looking at the big picture, glossing over the details, skimming, gazing longingly at the big finish without being able to break it down to the onerous steps to getting there.

But in me, ADD manifests as something a little different than the stereotyped tendency of chasing butterflies, wandering constantly to the nearest shiny thing. Or maybe it is is the shiny thing I long for, or a collection of shiny things that dominate my life, to the detriment of everything else: love, art, and God. If the essence what I’m working on can’t be reduced to one of those three things, I can’t manage to focus on it.

Let me give you examples, because it’s not like I’m skipping obvious necessities like school, work and hygeine because they aren’t so clearly in line with my goals. Writing is an art, one of my passions, so that’s easy to stay focused on. Most school activities can be reduced to writing, and all my Religious Studies courses are big-picture enough to count as a search for God, for me, so I have straight As in those courses. Spending time with family and friends – that’s love, and time I spend alone, thinking, falls somewhere between art and religion. Journalism, though – now that’s tough. Most of the time I don’t see it as having much to do with anything, especially when what I’m writing will never get published, so in those courses my grades are lower than any others. When it comes to doing those, sometimes it’s I’d rather just watch TV.

The consequence in relationships is disasterous, since all of my romances have so far been in less-than-ideal circumstances; the homework assignment I’m working on just doesn’t cut it against the throes of passion, and if my relationship is a source of anxiety, that anxiety dominates my life. I want to look at the big picture, the is-this-going-to-work-or-is-it-not-going-to-work, and no other question is worth asking. I am not good at waiting. When my ex, then not yet a ex, went to Mexico for spring break and said it was there, in my absence, that he would decide if he likes me or not, and I should just focus on myself for a week as he would do the same, I spent every waking moment tormented. Others can put their love on a back burner, saying, even if he dumps me I could get an A in this class and that’s worth working for. They’ll hope they don’t get dumped, of course, but in the end they can focus on something else until they know. For me it takes all my will to do that.

What can take my mind off the failures of romance? Art. So I chalk it all down to some poetic meaning – see that had to happen because when you step back and look at the story, it’s beautiful. Heartbreak is beautiful (even though it isn’t really). That’s one thing that lets me see life in a positive light. The other thing is God. God’s trying to see how long I’ll suffer, I decide, and it will teach me something profound about life. That guy wasn’t the right one for me, too selfish, God knew it, and since I’m too nice to ever dump anyone, my boyfriend had to do it, to look like a jerk, and in the end I’ll meet the right person and be blisfully happy.

I’m always blowing things off if they don’t end up as one of my main goals; if you’re not artsy and I know I’ll never love you, I won’t bother to hook up or go on a date, even if you’re gorgeous, and if I don’t think there’s some purpose between us I probably won’t even bother to be friends. I don’t know if it makes me an asshole or it’s just because I can’t help it – just my ADD. It is of note that people who get me to do drugs with them usually fall under the art category, because I think experience with these things helps me write. And people I have great sex with bring me closer to… something, I don’t know, perhaps that’s a fourth category in addition to the main three. I’m attracted to disturbed minds – people who seen torn apart from the inside, because it seems like something that would happen in a movie. To tell the truth I’ve always taken clips from my relationship and imagined them as part of a movie, since the beginning of my having such relationships, and that only sort of ended when I dated a film major who turned out to be a disgustingly selfish person and suddenly us making it work was far more important than asking whether or not our painful engagement was aesthetically powerful.

And then it comes to family – the future I want to have for myself, and since I am a big-picture person I’m already nervous, at age 21, about whether or not I’ll manage it. I want a family. I want a life-long partner and I want kids. I want us to both be artists, I successful in writing and he in some other endeavor that involves taking a message and showing it beautifully to the world. I want us to travel together when we’re young, live in London and New York, and come back and live in Denver when we’re approaching 30, to raise our children in the presence of my extended family so my kids can know their grandparents and cousins. I know how hard it is for gay guys to find life-long relationships. I know how hard it is to forge something that lasts with someone who is ambitious and artistic, which often comes before any other person – as I have experienced firsthand. So I’m already, at 21, imagining the life I want to have for myself ten or twenty years from now, in the minutest of detail which makes it exceedingly difficult to manage.

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4 Comments »

  1. Every single thing you said, almost down to the letter, expresses what has been going on in my life during the past few days. Do youoften think of the Book of Job, and try to use that to justify why bad things happen to good people (i.e. you)?

    Comment by engelschwanz — November 5, 2006 @ 2:50 am | Reply

    • Well, I sometimes wonder why bad things happen to me – wonder if I did something wrong – but I’ve never related it to Job. I never understood the Book of Job, I always thought it was sort of depressing.

      I can see why one bad thing would happen to a good person by a matter of chance, but it’s hard to imagine why bad things happen again and again. I especially do that in relationships, when three of the relationships I’ve had involve someone in his family dying or nearly dying (seriously) which ended the relationship, and the only relationship without a near-death involved his serious psychological disorder. I was aware of that as a trend BEFORE I even dated the last guy, whose mother had cancer and finally passed away about a month and a half after we broke up.

      In the end I chalk it down to coincidence, or maybe something in me – a weird attraction to seemingly nice people who are in a state of mental turmoil – that leads me into this situation. I’m definitely aware of my tendency to fall in love much faster when I know the person is going through somethign difficult or profound. I’m also aware of my own intensity that can make people nervous, which destroys the relationshp when my partner is trying to focus on something more pressing than the relatoinship. So when you take these broad bad things and realize they have a common root which is fairly simple, you don’t feel like so much of a victim anymore.

      Comment by ononehand — November 5, 2006 @ 8:35 pm | Reply

  2. what about seeing journalism as part of the search, as the document to make understandable the ununderstanable?

    Comment by foucaultonacid — November 5, 2006 @ 10:54 am | Reply

    • That’s how I see writing in general – all good personal essays are about the individual trying to make sense of something – but not necessarily journalism. I have a hard time seeing how articles called “CU sorrorities to rush in spring rather than fall this year” or “group presses for sanctions against snowboard club after racist flier” is part of the search of some transcendant reality…

      Comment by ononehand — November 5, 2006 @ 8:07 pm | Reply


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