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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Friendship, Life, Mental Health, Personal Liberation, Relationships, Sprituality

What all Millenials need to hear about rejection

millenials_ _You are right where you're supposed to be_ love, the Universe

Perusing social media as an empath means feeling and filtering the many emotions of fellow Millenials. I hear so many of us expressing the same sentiments about rejection. We are losing friends and feeling rejected by lovers, we’re rejecting what was expected of us in life, and we’re rejecting the lives that we’ve built before truly knowing ourselves.

This post is a stream-of-consciousness of a few words of wisdom that will focus on rejection regarding friendships and life paths.

I feel like so many of us need to hear:
“You are right where you’re supposed to be.”
If a friend no longer needs you – let them go.
Take the subtle hints – no means no.
Maybe means no.
Ambivalence means no.
Why would you want anyone in your life who isn’t an emphatic yes?
Even Jesus spit out the lukewarm water.
If you accept that, it is a reflection of your self-esteem and self-worth. It’s not a judgment, just a fact.

Don’t waste your time asking yourself repeatedly, “Was I the one in the wrong?” Am I not good enough?” The answer is not important. What’s important is that you always maintain your relationship with yourself and God, The Universe, and your higher self.

I know it’s not easy. For some, this blog post will be useless, and for some it will be a gentle reminder.
If you don’t know how to start a relationship with yourself or God, what I have found is that a simple willingness to have one is all it takes. There are no special rituals, questions, mantras, or actions you need to take.
If God and the Universe are loving, why would they make it impossible to be happy without them, and then turn around and make it difficult and complicated?

I’ve learned, through my spiritual journey, to reject all teachings that make it complicated to find God. God is within and is experienced as Love.

Now back to friendships. I’ve had many friends desert me in life and I didn’t understand it then, but I respect it now.
It was time for them to move on from me, and if I’d been only a bit more self-aware…I’d have heard the message loud and clear – and fell back.
They didn’t owe me an explanation. Only respect. I didn’t really need them, only God, and everyone has access to God. So they never really hurt me.
Hindsight is everything.

Remember: rejection is redirection, protection, and preparation – for someone else to come and fill that void in your life.

Rejection comes in many forms. You may be rejecting a certain paradigm.
If you don’t love your life anymore – step out on faith, follow and trust your gut. It may get harder before it gets better.
And this is what nobody wants to talk about or hear:

Many people die on the path – but that doesn’t make it any less meaningful or any more avoidable.

Yes, you may get rich in any area of your life – or die trying.
But you don’t stop trying.
Or if you do, that’s OK too. Just try to drink in every moment.
Love,
Star
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My Journey to an ADHD diagnosis
ADHD, Life, Mental Health

My Journey to an ADHD Diagnosis

 

Hello, Happy Dreamers.

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Been a while since I’ve felt like being transparent enough to do so. For a while, I knew I had something to say, I just didn’t know if anyone was listening.

Today, I decided that I couldn’t hold back any longer.

My Journey to a Diagnosis was long

Throughout my life I knew that I was different. I was struggling with something. I had the best ideas, but I never followed through with many of them. Even when I did, it seemed like I couldn’t see some of my most important projects through. I was great with deadlines, so journalism suited me. Unfortunately, though, I couldn’t find a high enough paying job so I always had to juggle several side gigs while writing. I always had this nagging feeling that if only I could focus, I could be as successful as I knew I wanted to be.

My diagnosis was devastating, but it gave me clarity

On August 12th, I became aware of some devastating news. While getting up from the table after a goodbye lunch with my therapist of the past 2 years (I was supposed to be moving to New York to take an Assistant Managing Editor position with an indie newspaper I used to write for back in the day), she dropped a bomb on me – “By the way, you have all the traits of ADHD,” she said.

ADHD Y’all….Issa lot! 

I began to take stock of my life after this shocking revelation. I realized through self-examination I had a really unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Throughout my time in New York City, from ages 17 to 28 (some of those golden years are when I first started this blog back in 2012), I had fits and bouts of rage, moments where I felt like I couldn’t control my anger, my words, my sexual inclinations. It wasn’t surprising to me to find out that some of the challenges of having ADHD are to have substance abuse issues, anger, impulsivity issues, and hypersexuality.

Being a Black Woman with ADHD in America is even more difficult because we don’t share our stories so there’s less support

Now, there are several issues to unpack being a Black woman in America with ADHD. You could be a Black woman and have what they call a neurotypical brain and still have issues navigating jobs, the economy, your living situation, relationships, sexuality, and all other areas of life. That just comes with living in a society where white supremacy exists (but we are destroying it day by day by promoting wellness over wokeness – I’m so proud of us). But adding ADHD or any other mental challenge to being in an intersectional group is definitely more difficult. I wanna share what those stories are for me.

My journey to learning I have ADHD in a timeline

In the video, I talk about my timeline leading up to my diagnosis of ADHD. But to be clear:

2002 – Moved to NYC, began classes at Marymount Manhattan College

2003 – Came home, family ran out of money!

2003 – Moved back to NYC and moved in with a roommate who was a former classmate. He tried to hit me, so I moved out that night after only staying for 6 months.

2003 – Moved into the Harlem projects on 145th and 8th. I was working at The Body Shop.

2004 – Moved out to rent a room in Brooklyn and since then lived in subsequent Brooklyn rooms and apartments. I was working at a real estate company, and then a hair salon.

2005 – My sister moved to town and was working on her book.

2006 – We got an apartment together on Broadway in Bushwick. I was still working at the salon 10 hours a day, 4 days a week. It was one of the best work experiences I had that worked well with my ADHD (that I didn’t know I had yet.) It was fast-paced at times, detailed, had lots of interaction with people and a reasonable schedule. (9-7pm)

2007 – I left that job and worked at a French salon. It was a valuable experience. I had a boss who allowed me to do a lot different things, not just reception. I washed hair, promoted etc. It was also the first year me and my sister put on our first party, so that was first event.

2008  – I worked at a couple of restaurants and then I became a flight attendant. That changed my realm of vision for what was possible for me. After that I knew I wanted to travel eventually.

2010 – Left North American Airlines and moved into nonprofit at Public Allies. I LOVED my time with Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation – Youth Arts Academy. It was a community organization ran by 5 black women and I felt so seen, heard, and covered and accepted. I loved working with the children and the parents. This job worked well my brain. There was a lot of action, movement, freedom, creativity, and more. I didn’t enjoy every task but I grew a lot. I moved from full time to part-time and began classes at Swedish Institute of Massage and picked up another part-time job at a salon

2013 – I had to leave that job to move to South Carolina. At that point, my fibroid was too big and my periods were painful and heavy. As I stated in the video, I had to quit school and everything. It was devastating. I didn’t even realize that moving home was an option. But my Dad told me, “come home.”

In December of that year, I enrolled at SUNY Empire State College.

2014 – I was in school and tried to start a company remotely with my current ambiguous relationship bae. ADHD definitely played a role. There were several times he got frustrated with me because he felt I wasn’t being productive enough. I had a job at Trader Joe’s and school, and although I know that was a challenge in itself, there were things that I wanted to do and focus on, but couldn’t seem too. It was frustrating and my inter critic was at an all-time high during that time. It didn’t help that I was dating a Capricorn (dating is a loose term).

2015 – We moved in together! I know it seems like a jump. But we had similar goals. We lived in Charlotte. I began working at a sex toy boutique downtown. I thrived there, but it paid less than $10/hour. I wanted to move up and get paid more. A job at a call center opened up and I only lasted 4 months. It was extremely challenging and now, reflecting on this situation knowing that I was dealing with fibroids and ADHD, man. No wonder it was a whirlwind, along with his problems he was dealing with. If only we’d had the education, understanding and resources, we probably could have made it together as a couple.

2016 – We lasted 2 years but we moved out. I moved back to South Carolina and had my surgery in October.

2017 – After taking at least 6 months to recover and working on my degree, researching a bunch of new career options, mainly in social work and education, I began a job at a homeless teen shelter. I speak about how overwhelming it became on the video.

2018 – I quit and began subbing in the schools, deciding that I wanted to be in education to work more closely with the kids. In January, I began subbing in my city. In February I graduated and then applied for New York City Teaching Fellows. No offense to the program – I learned a lot about the special needs of students in Title 1 schools, but it didn’t prepare me for the teaching job I would later acquire.  I was in the program from May and taught from September to November of 2018. During this time, I began working on my coaching/counseling skills by reading Tarot. By the end of the year, I’d had a very eye-opening experience that caused me to end that practice. I still know I wanted to

2019 – Shit. Here I am. In August of this year, I learned I have ADHD. My life is starting to make a hell of lot more sense now.

The video says so many things that became clear to me right before and after being diagnosed with ADHD – it changed my identity – and I think it’s for the better.

 

Stay True, Happy Dreamers.  I love you.

 

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