Pursuing happiness in your mid 30's while having ADHD
ADHD, Life, Mental Health, Personal Liberation

The Pursuit of Happyness


Pursuing happiness in your mid 30's while having ADHD

Pursuing happiness in your mid 30’s while having ADHD. Photo by Filipe de Rodrigues, modified by me

(Yeah, I know, there’s no “Y” in Happiness.)

But there is a “Why.”

Like, “Why am I here?” Sometimes I feel so sure, and clear, about my life’s purpose, and other times, I just feel…lost.

Wrote a song about it, one that no one’s heard.

That seems to be a recurrent theme: Writing, creating, blogging, vlogging, all these amazing ideas that no one’s seen or heard.

I’m trying though, I promise, I really am. I’ve studied every marketing course, it seems. I mean the idea of applying it all, even trying to keep up with the constant stream of ideas I have, is overwhelming. It’s a common trait of ADHD. I’ve got about 49 folders to keep track of it all. I’m constantly taking notes. It just…doesn’t seem to be adding up to anything right now.

I’m usually the most positive person I know.

I mean as a Capricorn, I have enjoyed long periods of time of being mean, cynical, sarcastic, and just a straight-up bitch. (Being a Capricorn means it was fun for me).

But I’ve been working on myself in recent years. (I want to be happy). I’ve really applied the principals of The Law of Attraction, adding value, and just overall thinking positively.

But…I’ve let fear defeat me several times. Even today. Still crying about it. Here’s why…

I’ve been needing some steady streams of income for a while. To be fully transparent, I’m 35, have been living with my parents for a total of about 3-4 years, (with stints in Charlotte and New York in between) and my period is currently 15 days late.

Probably due to stress.

I learned from my previous therapist to go ahead and plan for the year. So I made getting full-time employment that I love, with good pay, my first-quarter goal. Today is March 31st. I haven’t had much luck with the job search – ok, I applied to a few jobs and my resume didn’t feel like it was working, and I’ve had a few interviews for one role with a nonprofit. I didn’t want to feel like a fool come April. Plus, I’d rewritten my own resume so many times…

So, I hired someone. I hired a career coach with the money that I made from a client, and she wrote me two SEO friendly resumes that really spoke to my skills, and a new LinkedIn profile.  I’m currently keeping a spreadsheet of the 60 or so jobs she recommends applying for each week. (I’m hitting like 2 or 3 applications a day, the goal is 10). But I overthink the details of the cover letter (it’s what makes me a good copywriter) and sometimes get distracted by other things, so it can take me an hour, even two to get through one application.

And for these applications to simply disappear into the abyss, with no response, just feels…disconcerting at best, defeating to say the least. I had escaped that for a while by starting my business. But it wasn’t as successful as I initially envisioned.

The professionally-written resume should help with that feeling, but for now, it’s 11:36PM, and I’m writing a blog post about how bad I feel.

Now, my personal belief system tells me not to dwell on what makes me feel bad. And as I write this I feel better. But from around 11:00PM, I just needed to dwell…

…On all the work it took for me to work job after job after job where I was unappreciated, underutilized as a creative mind, just simply, discarded…

And let’s not forget underpaid…

Since I was 15 years old.

15!

So I don’t feel bad about not taking a job I hate now. I paid my dues. (A term I despise and would never make anyone else do just because I thought I had to.) But…

…35.

You know I still have people asking me “What do you want to do with your life?”

I DON’T KNOW! MAYBE ALL THE THINGS I TRIED TO DO BUT FAILED AT! Maybe all the things I’m naturally good at, but there just doesn’t seem to be a place, for me at least, to get paid a living wage? There’s no blueprint for being a creative. There’s no blueprint for this shit.

And even when I did have jobs, I found myself wanting to be free from them. I’ve always had a really interesting relationship with work. I think I’ve always undersold my abilities and the impact I can make on people.

I know my priorities haven’t always been in the right place.

I have virtually no income, no savings, no 401k. No emergency plan, and no back stash of toilet paper. I know many Millenials can relate. I have probably wasted money on stupid things, but I have nothing to show for it (except pictures). I just know that many people have relied on me when they’re feeling just as down as I’m feeling right now. And right now, this blog is my soundboard. I hope you feel me.

I’m usually hopeful for the future. I still am. I just needed this. I needed this good cry. I needed this moment to ask “Why?” Why does my pursuit of happiness, and the self-actualization that lies therein, seem to be so elusive for me right now? How long will this struggle last?

I’m signing out. I wanna get this out before midnight, so I can say that I did something productive today.

If you’ve ever felt lost, disenfranchised, or wondered how long it will take before you start being appreciated for what you bring to the world..and getting PAID for it…(or if you simply just want a place of your own…) This is for you. Things’ll look up.

Love,

Star

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Culture, International Relations, Race Relations

The Odd American

My nickname used to be “Crazy American Girl.” It was given to me by a friend from Suriname (a small country in South American next to Guyana.) Funny thing is, I never knew I was American until I met her and she pointed it out to me. The only labels I truly identified with was “young” (still am), “Black,” and “female.” And now that’s it’s been 10 years since I moved to this city, I also proudly identify as a “New Yorker.”

Ever since I came to New York I have been constantly approached by African men. In South Carolina, where I’m originally from, there isn’t a large community of Africans. When I got here though, I discovered people from Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, and Senegal. I liked them, they were proud of where they were from and they laughed at all of my jokes. They thought I had spunk. They came in all shapes and sizes and some of them even had businesses. (LOL, actually, I think every single African man I’ve ever met owned or wanted to own his own business. Never met one who was unemployed. But that observation is for another post.)

A lot of them introduced me to things I had never seen, heard, or eaten, and I love trying new things. Hanging out with brothers from the Motherland is very exciting to say the least! But sometimes, I feel like the odd one out. In the presence of mostly Africans, particularly at a traditional event, I recognize the differences between cultures and the tension that I feel is so thick it can be cut with a (_insert ancient African cutting tool here_).

Recently, I was invited to a traditional event, where the person who invited me graciously asked me to perform. I was honored, yet a little concerned. I’m a jazz singer. All music definitely has its roots in Africa, but the big band style of jazz that I sing sounds distinctly American and I wasn’t sure if it would be very pleasing to African taste. (You wouldn’t go to an Italian restaurant and order Bangkok Chicken.) I didn’t have time to change my repertoire before the show, plus, why should I have to? I think people enjoyed it, but what no one enjoyed was the awkward silence following the just regular silence that followed my greeting “Hey, everyone! I’m so happy to be here. And well, I’m American…”

Looking back on it, even as soon as seconds later, I know it was a bad choice of words. With me being the ONLY female who was not in traditional African attire, (I was told just to be casual) I already felt like a black sheep. Wearing all black. I felt so out of place in the cold and drafty banquet hall because I walked in beyond the time of being fashionably late (I was also told the party wouldn’t be jumping until after midnight, and those words led me to believe that no matter how different I looked I would be able to be lost in the crowd!) and there weren’t that many people to fill such a large space. I walked in during a speech. My black pumps click-clacked against a tile floor. (I learned from a previous unrelated experience to always dress a little dressier than a casual dress code.) A man escorted me to my seat and a woman in traditional attire immediately came over to me and asked me if I wanted food. I had eaten already, so I politely declined. But even the white woman sitting next to me was wearing a gele. I was nervous and uncomfortable so I started emailing myself this very post.

I thought I was coming to a paaaarrrtttayyyy! Or at least a party. But like my sister said “No liquor? That ain’t a party, that’s a meeting.” Glad I pre-gamed beforehand. But there’s no cute guys my age here, no 20-something girls at all, well, at least none wearing black stretch pants, except me. Talk about an awkward black moment. I feel like a black sheep walking in. Where’s the music? You can hear a limb drop in this place. But that’s the thing though. Let me hip you to a bit of African culture. They like to give speeches at their parties! Looong drawn out lectures. Well I guess the real question is… Can I be myself in the midst of such tradition, especially when it isn’t mine? That’s huge. But I guess we all have our insecurities. I feel way too slutty of a dancer for these people. I might embarrass myself even more if I get up. Plus I just don’t feel like dancing. It’s cold in here and my joints are locking up. But of course one of the keys to power is knowing how to fit in any situation. And also feeling secure that when you don’t want to do something, you don’t do it. I don’t wanna dance. And that is ok. I feel like a caged bird that wants to fly our of her ca-

That’s when I was brought up to the mic and I said, as if it wasn’t already so obvious, that I am American.

It didn’t go unnoticed. My African friend who invited me was like “Why do you say that you are American? You are very Pan-African in my opinion. You wear your hair natural, you’re cultured. Why all of these divisions? We are all brothers and sisters.” As if I already didn’t feel lame enough that no one laughed at my not so funny joke, this guy who’s like a big brother to me is telling me that not only did it look ridiculous, but it was actually offensive.

Anyhow I think that at the end of the day it’s not a big deal. I got to meet a few people who were interested in my singing, and even a real live queen. I enjoyed myself, because it was a new situation and it led to this post. I learned. Maybe next I’ll just be proud of all of my inappropriate clothes, and dance right out of them like no one’s looking. Or, more likely, I’ll try to blend in and not offend anyone. But you know what? I’m kind of liking this feeling of being different and standing out, no matter who I am.

P.S. I couldn’t find a video on YouTube that really spoke to what I experienced that night, so I decided to do one myself:

Maybe being the “Crazy American Girl” isn’t so bad after all.

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