Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The End of One Ride. The Beginning of Another.

WARNING: This column contains sarcasm, humor, and a bit of wit. Just a bit.

Being launched into the temporary spotlight of Blogger's Blogs of Note has been a fun ride and a great way to end the first year of this column. I have had my words read by thousands of people and I have met others who, like me, laugh a bit at our ADD selves as we bumble about through life. I'm not alone after all, and that is a wonderful feeling. I've also been introduced to various viewpoints which have given me reason to look at old problems in a new light. Unfortunately, a very vociferous minority disagrees with me. I don't take issue with their opposite viewpoint. I just don't think much of their debating tactics. Mostly they've "cleverly" quoted my words back at me, or misquoted them back at me as is usually the case. Sometimes, though, they tell me what I "really" mean. In fact, this minority doesn't really read my words as much as try to read my mind and decide what type of person I am with 900 words or less a week. It's not quite unlike being a guest on the Psychic Pets Network.

Take for instance last week's column. Apparently the ability to blurt out embarrassing things in public is a vital freedom of speech. And here I was thinking that saying embarrassing things was, well, embarrassing. Silly me. Now I know the next time I offend people when discussing inappropriate subject matter I should care little for their feelings, or my career prospects, and instead tout the virtues of the AD/HD mind as an advanced, superior brain that has little time to trifle with piddley things like social graces. That'll go over well in the board room. Don't want to succeed in the board room? Then how about getting a date for Friday? You'll find your "free speech" might maroon you at home again.

To be skimmed and then judged without being understood is a plight I accept when publishing my work publicly for the world to read, but that doesn't make the process any easier to bear. I work hard to express myself here. I push through the ADD fog and all the distractions to post a regular column. To be misunderstood so completely is very annoying. It's as if some people skim my column for keywords that trigger whatever is their favorite pet peeve.

"Did he just say 'peeve'? I hate progressive librarians against free rollerblading. Their list of pet peeves is oppressive. He must be a progressive librarian! Hey, Douglas, how dare you ban Harry Potter!"

To all of which I say "Huh?"

That being said, instead of focusing on the few who misunderstand my humor, or column, or my approach to disability as a whole I want to focus on the dozens of people who have enriched my life over the past two weeks. To you I say, "Thank you".

One of the reasons I started this blog was to work out my feelings about my disabilities and to learn how to discuss them with humor. I was tired of being bitter. Another reason I began this blog was to connect with other like-minded people, perhaps to teach, perhaps to learn. We didn't have to reinvent the wheel. There was a lot we could learn from each other in a positive discourse. I was tired of feeling alone. The third reason I started this blog was to learn to be a better writer and to test myself. I passed the tests and I haven't grown tired of writing yet. I believe that I have reached all three goals.

I'm all about goals. I'm so excited today because I finished my coloring book by my birthday deadline last Friday that I'm still on cloud nine even though I'm sick with the flu. You can listen to the nay-sayers and feel bad about yourself, or you can take your life in your own hands and make something of it. I'm not there yet, but I will get there. I'm determined. Disabilities for me are now simply obstacles. Ever since I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started knocking these obstacles down one by one I have liked myself better and been prouder of my achievements. Vanity? No. I simply won't settle for mediocrity, and I believe I can master myself, even with AD/HD, Depression, and Chronic Motor Tic Disorder. I had hoped to achieve more by the age of 39, but I will not give up.

This is my path through life. I'm sharing it with you. If you can learn from it, then wonderful. If it's not your cup of tea, then move on. Don't spoil things for the people who do get it or who are needing somebody out there saying "You have the power within yourself to change your life, even without medication," or more importantly, "You are not a loser."

I'm not a self-professed leader; I'm just this guy with disabilities. By next Tuesday I will have dropped off the Blogs of Note list–the ride will be over. It will be interesting to see what type of community I am left with once that happens, but I'm ready for the new year. The big FOUR OH. Bring it on. I have more goals to meet.