Discovering ADHD Magic
Her image filled me; little me at age eight, clinging tightly to the railing from the outer side of the footbridge, high above the road.
My eyes focused on the screen again, blinding in its whiteness.
My little self moved her right leg, and nearly missed her next step by the width of a book spine. Up until that moment the thrill of adrenaline killed any trace of fear within her, but this hint of falling generated a few drops of cold sweat on her childish palms. She never wished for safety, of course. That was for the others, the regular ones. The whole point of putting herself in unnecessary danger was to get out of it unscathed. It wasn’t fun otherwise, just plain silly. Little me sneaked a glance below, then lifted her face to the sun.
“I can do anything I want,” she whispered to herself or to the world.
I stared at the blank screen. Can I do this?
The little girl’s whole body came to life with precious sensations, ones that safety and comfort simply could not provide. Up there, everything was up to her; there was no one around to point out her inadequacies and tell her she should stop acting like crazy, or how come a bright girl like herself, or why can’t she be like everyone else just for once. What’s the point of being her, if she’s to be just like everyone else?
The image lingered, little me clutching the vertical shafts of the railing from the wrong side. What a free little spirit. A free little spirit clinging with all her might to the outer wall of the cage. What would have happened had she slipped, back then? Would she have fallen? Or would she, I, rather have grown wings?
It wasn’t entirely empty, my screen. It did have a title I saw as I stared at the otherwise blank, white screen, stared so hard and long until I didn’t see the whiteness anymore, but rather all kinds of colors dancing in unshaped movements around the center of my gaze. ADventures Heading up and Down, it said; my new take on the ADHD acronym, and the title of my novel-to-be. My ADHD fantasy novel.
Back then, little me knew she was different, but there was no name for her difference, the letters ADHD having hardly met each other yet, and so she thought she was simply damaged. There was something very wrong with her, something nameless, and she was terrified of anyone ever finding out.
But I found out. Decades later, still refusing the cage of social demands, my difference was given a name. I wasn’t damaged; my brain was differently wired. It didn’t, still doesn’t, deal well with the mundane, the banal, the necessary; but it thrives on the unique, the extraordinary, the fantastic. It gets stuck on the consistent, the boring and the steady, but shines in the novel, the challenging and the unexpected.
The words flowed under my typing fingers, and a new world was born: an ADHD wonderland, where little me could safely climb around cages. A world built to accommodate her, me and the likes of us, allowing us to reenter ourselves, this time through ADHD magic.
I did not doubt it anymore. I can do this, I told myself as time went by, filling pages after pages of my novel, exploring the fantasy of my brain. Sure, I thought I would have finished this novel three times by now, but time blindness was always a crucial part of my ADHD reality, just as it is of my ADHD fantasy.
I’m off to find my wings.