There may be a deeper reason that my newest Work in Progress (WIP) is entitled Project Specter. I LOVE projects!
Ready for a moment of honesty? A confession of sorts?
I have ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Well, more like ADD. I’m not a hyperactive person but apparently it’s no longer classified without the H, so there we have it.
I’ve had it my whole life but was only officially diagnosed with it last year. It’s not something I like to talk about as a general rule. For a long time I was ashamed of this disability, as though I was broken or mentally ill and people should keep their small children away from me. But remember that honesty I was talking about? How’s this for honesty?
For many the term ADHD brings to mind the worst kid in their elementary school class. You all know who I’m talking about. The one who could never sit still, the one who would make you lose class points toward your popcorn party, the one who got the bad grades because they weren’t listening, or were lazy etc.
Well, that wasn’t me, but I’d own it if I could. I was more the quiet type. I’d sit in my chair, listen to the teacher with my eyes glazed over and proceed to fail in a lot of subjects because they just weren’t interesting to me. I was also the kid who would hyperfocus on English, reading and art projects. And you know why?
Because for those moments, the very real disconnect in my brain that refused to allow me to focus on the mundane, boring, or just not-in-my-interest-zone, would go into overdrive. This is when I would wake up, see the world in Technicolor and really come alive.
Well, it didn’t get better when I became an adult. Now instead of failing in math, I was failing in things like laundry, dinner dishes and toilet cleaning. I say WAS because since my diagnoses, I’ve found new ways to cope and turn on that other side of my brain that simply refuses to work right.
That doesn’t mean my ADD has gone away. No, it’s still there, determined to make me finish my book rather than the mounds of laundry piling up around the house. It can often be a dreary place. On one hand I know that not wearing smelly clothes is important to the entire family, on the other hand I can’t help craving that feeling of being awake and alive in all its Technicolor detail.
This is why I love projects. Writing projects, art projects, home improvement projects, yard projects. Ya’know, just projects! And as a bonus, I find when I have a project, some of that alertness, wakefulness, whatever you want to call it, bleeds over into the more mundane parts of my life.
I’ve heard it said before that many brilliant artists of our time had ADHD. I would agree with that statement wholeheartedly. ADHD may be considered a disability, but at least for me, it contributes more than its fair share to my art, writing, and other brightly-colored projects. And those, my friends, make the world a more beautiful place for everyone.
And if that means I have to suffer through the dreariness when my brain is not turned on, it’s a small price to pay for even small moments of Technicolor brilliance.