Growing up I always remember the frustration of all those around me. Teachers, friends, my parents, my siblings.
"Kalin. Please wait your turn to speak." "Kalin, that isn't where we are in the chapter." "Kalin, please focus." "Kalin- stop talking." "Kalin you do realize this assignment was due two weeks ago, right?" "Kalin, how did you forget?" "What do you mean you lost it?"
I was in the 2nd grade when a learning disorder specialist told my mom I had ADD. I never remember it really impacting my schooling until middle school, when I literally. could. not. sit. still.
I sort of forgot about this title I had been given as time went on. In high school I chalked up my inability to complete anything to the fact that I was 'over school and needed to move to LA to become an actress.' Or I ALWAYS believed that the teacher didn't get me, she 'doesn't understand me mom! I'm listening! I'm trying!'
And I was, as best as I could. As best as I believed was humanly possible.
In college, I thrived. I quickly realized that you didn't have to sit in a desk 8 hours a day to be a good student. I learned that you could work, and have fun with your friends, and go to school full time and do well, because it was things you wanted to learn about. I was rocking & rolling in downtown Chicago.
In my 'adult' career I had mostly forgotten about those three letters that were supposed to warn teachers about me. Until Matt and I cleaned our garage together.
My husband has the absolute total and complete opposite brain that I have. He is a scientist. Methodical. Measured. Calm. Organized. Things have a 'process' and 'steps', He never loses things.
We had the 'garage cleaning' date on the calendar for a few weeks. He would be home early from work that day, I had carved out an entire afternoon & evening for us to do this. I knew how important this was to him. I agreed to do it on the condition we could order Chinese when it was over. He couldn't stand the clutter "But don't you just hate seeing clutter?" He had asked me. "I never really see it." I responded.
I started off pretty strong, I was determined to impress Matt. My first task was to wash and clean and put away all of my floral buckets.
I was in a great routine, aside from the roughly 7 times I got distracted, you know how it is, 'man that grass seed needs to be misted' 'hey i've got the hose out let me water my ferns' 'oh this shrub needs water too' 'omg theres skunk poop near that tree' 'oh the buckets...' but managed to finish within a half hour.
While the buckets were drying it was time to do one of my favorite things; pitch it. We found about 75 items in the garage that were 'donations' for the curb, and hauled everything down the driveway.
But then it happened. I was shutting down. "Please can I use the blower?" "Kalin, we cannot blow out all the dirt and leaves until everything was out of the garage."
I am my fathers daughter and have a weird obsession with using the blower. It's instant results, you can see the dirt blowing out of the way, and for someone who can't sit still or pay attention this is a really good thing.
Matt looked up from sorting the recycling "this is really hard for you, isn't it." And it hit me. I physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, whatevertually could NOT focus on the task at hand. I could not fathom that in order to use the blower we had to get everything out of the garage, I couldn't stand to sit there and watch how slowly and intentionally Matt was organizing, I couldn't believe we had already spent 45 minutes on this, I couldn't possibly do this for another 10 minutes, another minute, another second.
I nearly fainted when Matt happily exclaimed "I think we'll be done in a couple hours".
I've read stuff about ADD for years and always just nodded in agreement. I've also read stuff that people assume about someone who can't focus 'lazy' & 'stupid' are often words associated with it.
As a creative, my mind seemingly never sleeps. I feel as though I wake up with 20 new ideas every single day. And crazy enough, I sometimes act on all of them. The inability to focus on cleaning the garage makes me a bad garage cleaner, but a better artist. A better writer. A better florist.
Even my writing sounds like EXACTLY what is happening in my brain. It happens so quickly and its so unedited and rough that it may as well be a phone conversation with me. But I like it that way. This voice. This brain. The inability to focus on one thing, has given me the ability to focus on a million things at once, and successfully do them all.
So I won't be hired to clean your garage anytime soon, but chances are this weekend when we tackle our biggest wedding of the season and I'm surrounded by 50 dozen flowers and have literally 7 pieces being designed at once, and I'm simultaneously trying to ribbon and cut everything & pack the car and not forget the bistro lights & remember to refrigerate the corsages & making a hairpiece & double checking the emergency kit & then handing over a beautiful bridal bouquet to an even more beautiful bride, I'll think to myself, 'man I am glad I have whatever this is called that made me this way.'