Watching the World from My Asteroid
On being spacey. Actually, ADHD.
The world looks very different from my little asteroid.
As a little girl, looking to the stars and dreaming of being an astronaut, I imagined myself seated on an asteroid, watching the world from there. A shelter from the world, to which no one had access but me. Sitting on that large rock, everything on Earth seemed tiny and unimportant. Homework, remembering things, avoiding delays… it didn’t matter if I kept my promises or forgot all about them. Didn’t even matter if the kitchen almost burned because I forgot to look after the frying pan. Didn’t matter if some little girl was different or just like everybody else.
I still watch the world from there, except now, decades later, I recognize the asteroid as my own brain. “Spacey”, they used to call me, who was never a hundred percent present. Except, of course, I was; I was fully and enthusiastically present in my own space-mind. The outside never managed to attract as much attention from me, being too slow for my hyperactive brain, too linear, too much knowing what mattered most. On my asteroid, priorities took a very different shape.
Back on Earth, space was narrow and dense. I would walk home from school with my backpack on, and turn around fiercely when any of my friends came too close, protecting my personal space with the flying backpack. Geez. And some said I had no limits.
But the outside buzz still penetrates my inner space-mind. Between the rushing stars, galaxies and comets swirling around, bumping into each other and exploding with endless, colorful new ideas, the humming of the space outside my mind continuously floods the turbulent frenzy inside, drowning my concentration.
And then, occasionally, there’s hyperfocus.
These blessed times — minutes, hours, days or even weeks — hush all outside distractions and expand the inner space until it, gradually, devours everything around it, leaving nothing but itself. Hunger, thirst, bladder, phone, people — all cease to exist. Magic! Some of these people may revolt, but on the whole, this is the time for me to do my thing.
My thing. Not yours. It wouldn’t do to complain about my dedication and diligence when I do what my brain desires. Even if it maddens you that I wouldn’t apply myself to whatever your brain desires that I do. Hard to believe, maybe, but it maddens me too; I’d love to get these things done, if only to clear my space of them. They are often, theoretically, much easier than my hyperfocused projects. But when my brain says it can’t, it is in earnest. It immerses itself in a project, completing work of weeks within hours, connecting estranged dots, simply because they happened to occupy the right space for the moment. Then, in the next moment, it may become entirely impossible. Think of it that way: from my asteroid’s point of view, it is incomprehensible that you can’t do that; that you’re incapable of entertaining more than two or three thoughts simultaneously.
But I don’t hold a grudge. Not anymore. In the decades that passed — sometimes centuries by my own count, sometimes days — my inner space has expanded to conveniently accommodate my thorns. So much so, actually, that magic began to shine in it.
Gradually, the wonders of my mind shyly ventured into the lit side of my space. Messy, fuzzy, flickering, they hesitated back and forth, jerking their way into it, until they began to arrange themselves in the form of a story. Their magic, blunting my thorns, worked its way out of my mind-space, blurring its boundaries, spilling into words on my computer screen.
Words swelled into sentences, expanded into scenes and chapters, bringing into life an ADHD tale. A magical world and story encompassing the thorns of me and of others like me, creating some space for us, for me, through writing.
Who knew my asteroid could take the shape of a novel. An ADHD fantasy novel, telling the wondrous tale of life in a unique space.
The world looks very different in my emerging novel.