Trying to Art while ADHDing

Photo by Sean King Photography

Just now, I wrote my week’s to-do-list on a giant white board that sits opposite my desk. It’s colored coded to include my husband and son, has checkboxes to confirm a task has been done, and is neatly formatted for quick and easy usage. I also have a to-do-list on my phone and in my Go Hard Planner. Right now, I’m hopeful I can get through the list by Friday. However, like most weeks, I will barely look at the list until Thursday and scramble to get everything done, not finishing until Sunday when it’s time to write a new list in which I’ll probably include 3 task I didn’t do from last week.

My brain started functioning a little different after my 2nd pregnancy. I couldn’t remember stuff, couldn’t form habits, couldn’t focus on task long enough to complete them. To be fair, this was always how I was but after giving birth, it felt uncontrollable. Couple that with crippling anxiety and the ability to hear repetitive noises like the clocking ticking or wash machine whirring… my high functioning neurodiversities became a very present and evident interruption to how I was living my life. It was clear I had ADHD and I needed to figure out how I was going to parent/ wife/ work with or around it. But more so, how was I going to be an artist when my brain wouldn’t focus on one task long enough to complete it.

I’m a writer obviously. I’m also a creator and designer. The ability to do these things whenever and however I want is the beauty of being an artist. (Right now, I just stoped for 20 minutes to post a tiktok video of me as Lizzo for Halloween… because my brain convinced me that’s really important.) I can simply create when I feel like creating. But creating when I feel like it will result in absolutely nothing getting done… cause 1. I got responsibilities. Duh! and 2. cause I rarely ever feel like it. Seriously! I have creative ideas and burst of expressions all the time but sometimes… okay, most times, I can’t convince myself that it’s worth doing. A little imposter syndrome, a little laziness, a little frustration with knowing I’m going to start and not finish or finish but not produce or produce with no results. So then what?

So then I do what most millennials with life long responsibilities do. We force ourselves into neurotypical boxes. We beat ourselves into submission with check list, planners, calendars, deadlines alarm clocks… so many damn alarms and reminders. These things aren’t bad… I’d never take my medicine without them. But they don’t lend to creative expression. For me, they actually drain the life out of my creative expression. An alarm telling me to “get up and write,”… my artistic soul wants to punch it in the face. I don’t mind the ASHAY journal though.

Even in this writing, I’m conscious not to remove my creative self for the pleasures of expectation and typicals. Like this.. starting my sentences with “like” or “so” when I want to. Also, I’m careful not to put my extra thoughts in parentheses like I’d normally do and instead, I let them live in the words. Or my over use of ellipses… I like my ellipses. It’s how I talk.

But the reality is, I need to create art. For my happiness, for my future, for my peace. So some days, like today I manage to wake up at 7AM and write before my family is up. There’s no alarm for this… I just woke up early and felt like it’d be a good day to write. It’s very possible I won’t find time, space, effort, and urgency align like this for another few weeks. But for now, I take what I can get.

I’m gonna go get ready for my day now. I hope I can find time to write soon. I really love it.

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