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Hit a bit of a dry spell with the blogging; I just haven’t felt like I have much new to say. The medicine continues to work well and I’m getting a lot done. I’m through page 21 on Express #1, but the last two pages have been a little sticky. Watch this space for the conclusion of Express #1 and the beginning of Express #2… at some point. Today I have a bit of classic children’s poetry with inspiration from my dear friend Rebecca: (more…)

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My therapist tells me that I need to work on setting concrete goals in a variety of timelines and sticking with them. I hope that this blog will become a place where I can meet my goals. The short term goal is to make another post when I wake up tomorrow, after that I’ll shoot for thirty days, then? Who knows? This isn’t the first time I have set myself the goal of writing everyday. This isn’t the fifth, or the hundredth.  Just like anyone else I’ve been setting goals, and having goals set for me my entire life, and I’ve known for a long time that there was something wrong.

When I was a kid and the goals were easy, and the stresses few, I had it mostly under control. I wasn’t great at sports (I was seriously the cliché kid not paying attention in the little league outfield, and unlike the movies I Did Not save the day.), but I was a good student. I take that back. I was an effective student. In the first grade I attended a private school. I read on a high school level, and acted like a gibbon. I spent a good amount of time in the principal’s office. More than 3/4 of the days in the school year, and in the end, they kicked me out. But! My grades were good, my test scores were high, and so no one considered that I might have a problem.

Starting public school in grade two I was placed in gifted classes: advanced reading, social studies, and science. I was allowed to read when it didn’t interfere with discomforting forays into penmanship, p.e., and art. At the same time my mother discovered in me an ability at singing of which I am still quite proud. She enrolled me in the Atlanta Boy Choir, and I loved it, when I didn’t have to stand with my nose in the corner because I was a disruption.  Still, I had an excellent grasp of pitch, and a pleasant boy soprano voice, my grades were good, my test scores were high, and so no one considered that I might have a problem.

Public elementary school was more understanding than private, and I had access to more books so the H in my ADHD faded fairly quickly.  I wasn’t a model student, but I certainly spent less time with the principal (Although that may have been in part because in the Georgia of 1987 public school principals were still allowed to use a paddle; which is a fairly quick process). School went by in the way that it does, and I have trouble remembering more than a few generalities about how and what I did.  I know that I appeared in three dramatic productions, was terrible at learning to play the recorder because I (can you guess?) didn’t practice, and was one of the two first students in In School Suspension when they put down the paddle in 1990 (that is a semi-interesting story I may post in the future).

At some point I was kicked out of the Atlanta Boy Choir, and my mother insists that it was because she wasn’t a good enough fund raiser, and not because of my behavior, and I guess I should believe her, but I am suspicious. The first real goal that I am sure went unfulfilled due to my laziness was in the transition from elementary to middle school. I wanted nothing so much in the world as to learn to play the saxophone. Careless Whisper was a genuine hit (not just a way to torture people in public), Billy Joel, David Bowie, and Bruce Springsteen had saxophonists in their bands, and it was pretty much the coolest instrument in the world at the time, and I wanted to be that cool. Unfortunately, so did lots of other kids, and the saxophone requires dedication.  Dedication, to the recorder. That was the whole deal; top level instruments went to the kids who worked hard on the recorder, and, as I mentioned before, I did not.  Grades: Check Testing: 97+% Discipline: Call it a B minus

Middle school was where things started to shift. I still did well in English, Science, and Social Studies (although that may have had a lot to do with flexibility on the part of my teachers with regard to grading deadlines), but math started to fall apart. Greater than and less than were a mystery, and to this day I still don’t exactly understand how to properly multiply or divide fractions. The math got harder my investment of time and energy stayed the same, and so my math grades fell.  My parents got me a tutor, and I made it through.

At the same time I was really discovering computers: The Need for Speed, Carmen Sandiego, QBasic, and DOS 5.0. I had an 80486SX machine from my dad’s office, and I was on it all the time. I progressed onto a DX processor, and Windows 3.11 (then quickly to Windows ’95 with floppy discs that I checked out from the public library (how’s that for piracy?)) I played solitaire, Doom, Duke Nukem, and Warcraft, and having found something that competed with books for my affection I became worse at doing the things I needed to do. I didn’t practice the piano (which I started at some point in there, it’s a little hazy), or the cello (which I was learning in the school’s string ensemble, so I got pretty good playing five days a week in spite of myself). I didn’t prepare properly for Science Olympiad so the only medal I ever won came in a competition in searching the web.  I made it out of middle school with only one trip to ISS per year, and mostly good grades. The other students were horrible to me, but that’s middle school I guess, and I don’t think it had anything to do with the ADD. Unless constantly having my nose in a book created an appearance of anti-sociability (which is something to take to therapy, I guess).

High school was more of the same.  My math grades kept slipping until I finally failed a class. I got kicked out of gifted science, but I had rediscovered singing, and theater, and I spent all of my time in high school bouncing between my home computer and rehearsals with a book in my hand whenever I wasn’t actively engaged in either. I had always been heavy, but I started gaining more weight and slowing down. Thanks to the power of regular mandatory rehearsals I was prepared for acting and singing, and I co-stared in half a dozen shows right culminating (in combination with the weight gain) in my performance as Augusts Gloop in a musical stage production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Being Augusts was actually pretty good for me, as dancing in a fat suit took off some weight, but that felt like a kind of last hurrah. Still through all of this it was permissive teachers, and just a little natural intellect that allowed me to get out with a B+ average and a good grade on the ACT, and into the University of Georgia.

From here things turn a little harder down the spiral. There was a lot of good: wonderful friends, good memories, interesting people, but the short version is that I’ve spent a decade in college with no degree, and lied to the people I love in increasingly complex ways in order to preserve an image of myself that didn’t match the reality. I thought of myself as a fixer of problems, but most of my problems wouldn’t have existed if I had done what was necessary in the first place.  I may go into more detail on these last 12-16 years as I think of things, but today is the first day (Since it is now almost four in the morning I suppose yesterday was the first day), and my next few posts will be about change.

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