Complicated Feelings about Pride

Hello Friends, Family, and Fans,

I was raised by my mom. I saw my dad occasionally, and although he had an influence on my upbringing, he wasn’t a big one. My mom raised me and she was very much a hippy. One thing that she did, and I’m not sure it was intentional, was to instill a deep mistrust of those that have pride.

I’m sure the ADHD didn’t help. I was always asking people why, and they usually just got angry. Especially when I would question national, cultural, school, language, or sports pride. Screaming “We’re Number 1!” has always seemed silly to me. I have respect for those that came before me and for the fact that me and my country are more privileged than others, but I’d never classify that as pride.

I’m not completely sure what the feeling of pride in that sense is like. I feel proud of my accomplishments, I’m proud of my family, and I’m proud of my friends. I’m also oddly proud of people I’ve barely met but who I like. But that feeling is a warm feeling of joy and satisfaction at their success, not an all consuming emotion the way I’ve seen it in others. If someone I’m proud of does something bad, I’m disappointed, and if they turn to hate, I grieve for losing them.

The concept of pride as I’ve seen it around me and portrayed in fiction seems more like blind faith or fanatical devotion. Something that deeply disturbs me.

2021 Intersex-inclusive redesign of the Progress Pride Flag by Valentino Vecchietti

This month is Pride Month, and that is a completely different type of pride. One i can understand much better than the one that people will be showing July 1st.

As you might know, I’m bisexual, and I haven’t had the greatest interactions about it. Both straight and gay people have told me I was “confused”, that I should just admit to being gay, jumping on the bandwagon, or just trying to get attention. It took a long time for me to find friends I was comfortable around and I still don’t feel comfortable in 2SLGBTQIA+ spaces.

All that being said, the pride in Pride Month is a feeling of grim determination and joy that we as a community have survived despite the ever-present hate. The first pride parade was a riot and a demand for basic human rights. Despite all the advancements we’ve made, we still have a lot of work to do.

This month, filled with rainbow capitalism, remember that it’s still illegal to be gay in 64 countries and same sex marriages are recognized in only 32 countries. In Canada, the US, and England, laws have recently passed that prioritize the rights of parents over those of queer and trans youth. In the past year, Ottawa has had multiple protests, some in front of schools, demanding that same sex and trans not be mentioned in the classroom.

We have a long way to go, and as you watch the community celebrate, remember the Pride Month isn’t about an irrational love and devotion, it’s about survival.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Speculating Canada interviewed Éric

Hello Friends, Fans, and Family,

Speculating Canada is an award winning podcast and interview series that interviews fantastic Canadian and genre personalities.

You may remember a few months ago that Jen was interviewed by the wonderful Derek Newman-Stille. You can see her interview on their website.

Well I (Éric) was interviewed last week. It was a lot of fun, and Derek is a fantastic interviewer, steering my hectic mind in a semi-coherent direction.

Go watch the interview on their website.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Top 5 things about me, I didn’t realize were ADHD

Hello Friends, Family, and Fans;

As I mentioned last week, I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD. WIth that came a lot of things that I thought were universal but turns out are actualy ADHD.

Just a disclaimer here. These things are connected to my ADHD but aren’t necessarily only seen in people with ADHD. (They can also be influenced by my dyslexia, RSD, or anxiety.)

5. Planners

In highschool, I struggled with managing my time for assignments, projects, or readings. I tried everything to get organized. School gave me planners and I would write everything down, but the moment it was in the planner I forgot about it.

What finally worked in grade 11 was an electronic agenda. I put everything in it and I got a reminder that day. Unfortunately, it wasn’t able to remind me to start working on projects early. The electronic agenda didn’t work in university and I made writing essays the night before into an art.

I”ve tried to look at my work calendar each day and have sticky notes to remind me of things to do. I also have a very plentiful google notes account.

4. Voices and Habits

I thought when people said they were thinking of nothing, it meant that they didn’t want to explain the multilayered thoughts that were running through their head. Same with “clearing your mind” I thought that meant focusing on nothingness to try and stop your brain from thinking of everything. Apparently, not everyone has multiple voices in their head that narrate, explain, plan, and jump around.

When someone said they needed to form a habit, I thought they were exaggerating. I thought a habit was something you managed to remember to do everyday, not that it was something you could do without thinking. If I don’t concentrate on what I’m doing, even if I’ve done it a million times before, it won’t go well. I can’t trust my autopilot.

3. Inability to do only one thing

Go to class without doodling or drinking a coffee? Not bounce my leg when doing math? Not listen to music or watch TV while working? Walk without music?

Those all sound horrible. I thought I was just really good a multi-tasking. No, I just needed to keep myself from getting bored. It was shocking to me that people could focus for a whole 2 hour meeting (no matter the interest level) without fidgeting or drinking coffee or water.

2. Time

I absolutely HATE being late. I was yelled at a lot for it when I was young. I was told that no one would take me seriously if I was late, that it was rude, that I’d lose friends.

I tried everything to avoid being late or slow but I was late for school, got distracted going to the washroom, and sometimes wouldn’t notice the end of recess because I was so focused on what I was thinking.

By high school, I had realized that the downsides of being ridiculously early were minor compared to being late. That’s why I’m more likely to be 30-60 minutes early for an event than I am to be 5 minutes late. Also why I always have a book with me.

I still slip sometimes and I still feel panicked being late, even for coffee with a friend.

1. Form Paralysis

This one is embarrassing, since I design forms for work. However, when it comes to a medium-sized form or larger, I panic. I’m fine with the ones before you see a doctor or get a shot but anything above a page fills me with dread and it swims around as I try to understand what they want.

It builds and gets to the point that I can’t do it. It was so bad that I didn’t fill some important ones and it cost me money and opportunities in my writing career. (Jen’s been helping a lot.)

It’s easier with an HTML form vs a paper or PDF form. The smaller pages and clearer separations help.

This translates to any task that requires lots of steps. It’s a real struggle to get done, or started.


Again these aren’t things that affect every person with ADHD and they might not be exclusive to that. It’s my lived experience and things that have negatively impacted my life.

Be kind and stay safe,

Éric

ADHD and Me

Hello Friends, Family, and Fans;

Before the pandemic, I was talking to a friend and they said something like, “You understand what it’s like since you’re neurodivergent.” I didn’t know what that meant. In case you don’t, neurodivergent is a blanket term for those who have a different mental or neurological function. You’ll also hear neurospicy or other variations. The word is often claimed by autistics, those with ADHD, dyslexics, etc.

Once I looked up what they meant, I assumed it was due to my dyslexia, something that has plagued me my whole life.

Another friend later said they claimed Jen and I as part of their neurodivergent friends. I also started noticing a lot of my friends are neurodivergent and I started looking into it.

I started to see a lot of memes and videos about ADHD and Autism that were really relatable and I started wondering.

By the time the pandemic hit, I was thinking maybe. We’d also noticed some attributes in Dragon and started the process of getting her psycho-educational testing.

After a lot of procrastinating, Jen and I set up appointments for ourselves. (We’re still waiting on Jen’s results.)

Mine came back, as I expected, with ADHD of the Inattentive type. I’d done enough research to be fairly sure but it still feels weird. It makes sense however.

There it is, I’ve learnt more about myself and this gives me tools and a community to help me deal with my own brain. The nurse I talked to said that I’d done a good job finding strategies to help myself avoid the worst.

If you have questions I can try to answer but I’m no expert… yet.

Be kind and stay safe,

Éric

Focus and too much of it

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’m a very focused person. Probably not in the way you’re thinking. I’m not particularly goal oriented. If I were, I wouldn’t need my new year’s goals. I’m not going to make any lists of hot up-and-coming business people.

What I do have is an inability to let something go until it’s done or I’ve given up. Currently, I’m fighting with a smart light fixture that refuses to be smart. It’s consumed my thoughts and my actions. So much so, that I couldn’t think of anything else to write.

This focusing is super helpful when I’m working on a project or writing a novel. It pushes me and I can use it to get over the slumps. It isn’t, however, useful when I have no control over the situation. It’s also very unhelpful when I have other things to do.

The satisfaction of being done with the subject of the focus is great and long lasting. But it’s not always fun and can lead to me being grumpy or distracted until I finish or fix the issue.

The Endless Fight by the Awkward Yeti
Mildly relevant in that when I’m very focused, I feel like my brain and heart are fighting.

I’m told this is a trait of both ADHD and Autism. I’ve never been diagnosed with either, but the more I read about it, the more I’m confused and wondering if I may have one, the other, or both.

I’ve developed tricks and habits to make sure the focus isn’t detrimental to my health or those around me, but it’s stressful.

There are different levels of focus, of course. The light fixture thing is something I don’t want to have to worry about any more so it’s more immediate. Writing a book is easier and less frustrating in its pull.

I’m fine and I’m not asking for help. I just needed to vent and let you know that if you feel the same, you’re not alone.

I’ve always been this way, but I’ve started to recognize it more in the past year or so. The lack of commute, activities, and other larger distractions have given me time to be more introspective.

Hopefully that’s a good thing.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric