Dull the shine

In the garden centre today I saw they were hiring and I thought ooh, maybe I should apply, maybe they’ll have some hours that fit around my current job but don’t cut into Makaloo time, and I thought about what a nice time I’d surely have working at the garden centre. And then I started working out just how many hours I could squeeze in, and what kind of rota I could accommodate, and how I could rejig my responsibilities to make more space for my imaginary job at the garden centre. I don’t know why I do this. The best object is always the shiny object, apparently. Every emergent possibility is the most compelling. I have more or less learned not to follow the instinct to chase these possibilities, but I still waste an inordinate amount of time excitedly considering them.

Working at the garden centre would absolutely not fit into my life, or take me in any direction I want to go. I’d be stressed out, smothered under a pile of dirty dishes, and I’d spend all the extra money on plants. If I had a few dozen avatars, it might make sense for one of them to work at the garden centre, because I like it there. But I don’t have a few dozen avatars, or even a couple, so I should really fix my gaze on the things I actually want, in this single life that I have the privilege of living. I have three active endeavours right now, and three is altogether too many. I can’t feasibly make it less, but I certainly shouldn’t be trying to make it more.

What must it be like for one’s deires to be immutable?

I can’t say for certain that mine aren’t, actually, it’s just that they are so profuse I routinely forget the order of them.

Blanket inhibition

I attended a writers’ talk this evening and, while I was listening, a few questions bubbled up that I wanted to ask. But the time for questions didn’t come until the end. By which point I’d forgotten all but one, and I was second-guessing whether it was relevant, whether it was a question that would contribute to the discussion, whether it mattered, whether it was selfish…let alone how to word it. So I didn’t ask it.

I had made the decision on my way there that I would ask a question because it was a show of support to the writers giving the talk. But I rationalised not asking the question because I thought no one would be interested in the answer except me, or maybe the writers wouldn’t want to answer it because it was a bit sticky.

The thing is, this sounds like anxiety. And in past similar situations, it’s felt very much like anxiety. But I’m beginning to believe it’s fabricated anxiety. The underlying problem, if I excavate my psyche, was that too much time had passed for me to be connected to the question anymore. At the point in the talk where I got curious, I had to stop myself interjecting or raising my hand to ask it there and then, and I was disappointed and frustrated that I couldn’t, but this is such a common occurrence for me that I didn’t even notice it until I came to write this post. By the time I was able to ask questions, it didn’t feel important anymore. But I knew that I’d decided that it was important, at least enough to ask, so I was rifling through the sock drawers of my mind trying to find a justification compelling enough to sway me. And I found plenty of justifications, but they were all for different things.

For a long time I had assigned my timidity when it came to asking questions to the bracket of social anxiety or shyness. I’m realising more and more how much it seems to be a feature of my unofficial ADHD. For many years I’ve had to repress my natural inclinations in order to conform to society’s expectations. But while I got very good at blanket inhibiting the ‘wrong’ response, I’ve never gotten all that good at the ‘right’ one. I often understand what it is, but I almost just as often still fail to execute it. This created a sad vacuum of inaction in my life that I’ve harboured a great deal of shame for, and while I’ve been working to deconstruct both the vacuum and the shame cage around it for over two years now, I still don’t fully understand its mechanisms.

If only I could have accepted I was different, instead of convincing myself I was worse.

If only we could all.

Glorious Divergents

Further to my last post, I spent a lot of my day yesterday catching up with the activities of Guy Martin. I started thinking how nice it would be if there was some kind of meet and greet event, or facility for my son to, like, ask him a question or something. Or maybe some of his TV work would be engaging viewing for him. Because although the idea of my son one day careening around the Isle of Man on a superbike is not a comfortable one, Guy Martin is still a fucking beautiful example of a human being, demonstrating multiple values I wish to instill in my offspring.

And then I thought who are you fucking kidding, Yve? You’re not researching Guy Martin for your son’s benefit here, you’re just having a nice bloody time.

And THEN, fucking chest-deep in Guy Martin content, I thought holy fucking shit, Guy Martin is obviously neurodivergent*. Like it’s glaringly obvious that he’s neurodivergent*; how slow on the uptake can you be, super-fan-girl? And then I actually googled it and, sure enough, he’s diagnosed with autism, and he doesn’t give a single shit about it.

I actually highly suspect that almost all (if not all) of my long term favourites are neurodivergent*. Specifically neurodivergent* people who have learned to embrace, celebrate and nourish their neurodivergency. Most of my hyperfixations sprang forth years before I understood what ‘neurodivergent’* was, or realised holy fucking shit, Yve, you obviously have ADHD. Like it’s glaringly obvious that you have ADHD, how slow on the uptake can you be, person-who-lives-in-your-brain? …and I like to think my brain was guiding me toward the revelation.

I’m not actually diagnosed with ADHD. I was denied a diagnosis, it seems, on the basis that I did exceptionally well at school up to the age of 16. I didn’t actually get to speak to the psychiatrist responsible for the decision, but the message relayed to me was ‘if you had ADHD, there’s no way you’d be able to do what you did’. This made me very angry, and I drafted a lovely letter about it. I have an IQ of between 137 and 161 depending on which test you ask; school was easy, what I couldn’t do was brush my teeth. I may or may not send it at some point.

*Note: I struggled to find a link that adequately summed up neurodivergence in a way that reflects my understanding without including some aspects that I just don’t vibe with, but suffice it to say; a neurodivergent person, to me, is an individual whose brain is fundamentally, structurally and functionally different from the majority of human brains, leading to unusual strengths and weaknesses that don’t fit into society’s concept of acceptability. This is usually due to neurodevelopmental differences such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia (not an exhaustive list). I could ramble my psychology-enthused head off about the many complexities and implications of the term, but I’ll save that for another day, maybe.