Let’s Get Wacky

The more I learn about adhd, the more fascinated I am by the strange ways mine presents and how it plays with the other issues I’ve developed as coping mechanisms. Take people pleasing. This is a pretty great little thing to have on the surface. People pleasing has given me the ability to be on time (or half an hour early because I’m anxious I’ll be late), the ability to pay attention during conversations when I’m distracted (or at least look like I’m paying attention), and the ability to keep my home clean and organized (while living with a type A organized neurotypical I’m trying to please who, let’s face it, does a ton of the cleaning and almost all of the organizing).

So, people pleasing has helped me be a better friend, daughter, sister, aunt, and partner, but it’s also deprived me of the ability to know what I really want or what I actually think. Where do I, a person in the world who should have opinions, want to go eat tonight? Wherever you do! Seriously, I don’t care! What do I think about the latest Marvel movie? It doesn’t matter, tell me your thoughts! I have none! I am Groot! Decades of this has chipped away at my sense of self and my confidence so I’m trying to push back when appropriate but I want to keep some of the people pleasing stuff. I want to continue to remember your birthday, that you’re allergic to mangos, and that personal joke from the time we got drunk and went to Taco Bell eleven years ago. If I can find a way to keep the good stuff and lose the bad stuff, I’m gonna do that. That is if I remember, of course.

People pleasing when paired with the forgetfulness that comes along with adhd can do some funny shit as well. If I’ve memorized that you’re also a Twin Peaks fan you will quite possibly receive several versions of the same coffee and pie enamel pin because I saw it, thought of you, and 100% forgot that I’d already bought you basically the same pin. Ask my friend Kim to see her collection! Or ask Tim to show you the drawer full of small travel bags he owns because he once mentioned to me in passing that he could use something to put his cords in. My people pleasing makes sure I always remember he “needs” a little bag but my adhd makes it so I never remember I’ve already bought him four.

The worst (best?) example of this is the time I bought my nephew Douglas Adam’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. He’d just turned 12 and I was about that age when I discovered it so it seemed like the perfect gift. And maybe it was until he turned 13 and I enthusiastically sent him another copy, completely forgetting I’d chosen that exact book for him a mere twelve months prior. “Is this a joke?” he asked his mom, who I imagine just laughed and reminded him that I’m weird. I handled it like any certified Crazy Aunt would. I turned it into a joke. I have sent him a copy of Douglas Adam’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy every year since on his birthday (current count: 7) and I will continue to do so until I die. Actually, I’ll probably pay someone to do it after my death because, to me, that shit is hilarious and I figure Ghost Me will probably need some laughs in the afterlife.

Extricating myself from some people pleasing tendencies while actively attempting to keep others might be difficult. It might get wacky for a while. I might say or do some dumb, I mean, dumber shit. But I think it’s worth it so let’s get wacky.

If I end up doing anything incredibly idiotic, I’ll let you know. It’s important that during this process we can all laugh. At me. Watch this space!

Published by Kendra Alvey

I love Ewoks, books, dogs, Ewoks, cocktails, concerts and long walks on the Ewoks.

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