#Relatable

Dear Reader,

I can relate. I, too, find a new favorite song and kill it long before the radio has a chance. If someone repeats something they’ve said and I still didn’t hear it, I will just nod and smile or laugh. The first thing I do when I’m bored is go downstairs and look for something to eat. I will type what I really want to say before changing my mind and erasing it. 

I remember when I first started seeing these sorts of posts on the internet. I would think I was the only one to do something and then I’d log onto Facebook and see hundreds of likes on something called, “sucking a cup to your face and then panicking because it won’t come off.” That happens to other people too?! 12-year-old me would think. It’s not just me?! 

I took comfort in not being alone. Knowing that others all around the world were getting themselves into embarrassing and terrifying situations because they laughed at a joke they didn’t get or they tried on a ring in a store that was too small. I think this is what started my mindset that everything I do is relatable. But as I’ve grown up and talked to my friends and family, I’ve noticed that some people can’t relate. 

But this is the internet! And maybe you, dear reader, relate to me. Or do something you think I could relate to. Feel free to let me know! No one comments on these anyways so there’s a 100% guarantee that I will respond to you. 🙂

I started realizing that not everyone can relate during the summer going into my junior year. This was the summer that I read the Harry Potter books (I know, I was a little late to the party), and once I finished I talked about them to my sister who had been reading them since she was in the first grade. To be honest, I think a lot about this series would be lost on a first grader, but she’s re-read the collection probably 10 times so I guess it’s fine. 

Anyway, I was discussing how it was really cool reading Harry Potter because the voice in my head read the stories in an English accent.

I kid you not she looked at me like I was eating a mayonnaise popsicle. 

“What?” She spit at me. 

“What?” I asked, shocked. I was expecting her to say oh my gosh right?! so cool! I continued, “You know, like how you read the dialogue in the character’s voices? Most of them have English accents but then you have the exceptions like Seamus Finnigan, so obviously that part of the book is in his Irish accent. And then the whole book is written by JK Rowling so of course you read the narration in an English accent.” 

Well, it was apparent that Sarah did not read them the way I did, which was really bizarre to me. I thought that’s what most people would do. That’s how I read Shakespeare and Dickens. But this started the self-realization that maybe I relate to people more than they relate to me. 

I thought about when I was a little kid and could only walk evenly. I tried everyday to step just as much on my right foot as I did on my left. And every time I had soccer practice or games I would count my steps on the field. I know this made me look weird because I think one of my teammates or my coach asked me about it one day, but I probably just lied and continued on anyways. I must’ve just stopped suddenly, though, because I don’t remember really trying to break this weird habit, but I don’t do it anymore. I mean, sometimes I’ll count my steps when I’m carrying something heavy or trying to walk fast, but that’s mostly at work when I take out the trash or something. 

I did the same with my food. I had to chew just as much with the right side of my mouth as I did the left and let me tell you, this was awful when I was losing my baby teeth. 

Oh! And someone please let me know if this is something that you’ve heard of before or if this happened to you or something because it is so weird! When I was a sophomore (15) I lost a baby tooth. And I know it was a baby tooth because when I was in elementary school I had to get a cap or something on one of my “hippo teeth” and I asked them if I would have to come back to get it removed (I really hated the dentist). They told me no, it was on a baby tooth so it would just fall out. 

Well I had this dumb cap for more than eight years. 

It would show up in pictures sometimes if I was making a weird face and you could see it if I was singing or screaming. But then one day sophomore year, it got loose. And I kept messing with it. I tried not to do it in front of people because gross but one day in chemistry my friend Tim was done. He was sick of me talking about it and complaining about it and being distracted about it, so he offered me $5 to pull it out. 

Looking back, I don’t think it was quite ready to be pulled out. 

I remember this class perfectly. We were doing a lab that day but I hated chemistry and was pretty sure I’d be bad at it even if I tried, so I mostly watched my two lab partners do the experiments while I tried to stay caught up (a reoccurring theme throughout my high school years). That day, though, I was pacing behind the stools with paper towel in hand, trying to get the stupid thing out of my mouth. I was probably drawing a lot of attention to myself, which is really embarrassing, but I had my eyes on the prize. After, Tim, Stephen and Mrs. Ray (my teacher) gave me my five dollars, one quarter and a chocolate bar, respectively. 

Long story short, I got the tooth out with a lot of blood (which stopped gushing by the time the next period rolled around, thankfully), and seconds to the bell. I got rewards and strange looks from my peers, which, to me, cancelled out. Still, I have yet to hear of another story like mine and I know there’s got to be someone out there who has been through the same thing. 

Anyway, that one I knew wasn’t going to be relatable, but others I had no idea. The summer after freshman year I, upon recommendation from my two best friends, got tested for ADD. Now, I went into it thinking it was a joke and finished the tests thinking I killed it. Nope, I was diagnosed. 

It’s almost been three years since the verdict, in which time I have gone back and forth at least ten times between thinking I for sure have it and thinking I was one of the, probably hundreds, misdiagnosed. 

It’s hard for everyone to focus, I remember thinking, which, much of the time, I still believe. Everyone talks about zoning out in class. And reading pages of information before realizing you haven’t been paying attention. I can relate to that, and I know a lot of people can as well. So I thought anyone could be diagnosed with ADD if they check with a doctor. But then I started talking to my friends about other things I do and all of a sudden they couldn’t relate. 

When reading a book, I’ll have to cover the rest of the page with a bookmark or my hand so my eyes don’t skip down and spoil something for me (especially at the end of the chapter). I’ll be talking to someone for minutes before realizing that I haven’t been paying attention because I’ve been worrying about which eye to stare at when making eye contact. Sometimes I’ll start singing and I won’t notice until someone asks me to stop. I have to remind myself to smile or look otherwise engaged in conversations when my mind is somewhere else. Something I learned just this past year is that I stare at people. I make eye contact with them or will just stare through them, but I’ll be so involved inside my own head that I won’t notice I’m doing it. (If anyone I know is reading this and I have seemingly glared at you, I am so sorry!) People will talk to me for minutes before asking me if I’ve been paying attention and it won’t be until then that I’ve realized I haven’t. I’ll lie on accident. About stupid stuff that doesn’t even matter but it’s because my brain has been somewhere else for so long that it can’t jump back into the conversation fast enough so I’ll just whole-heartedly agree with whatever someone says. I start sentences that lead nowhere or I’ll lose my train of thought before I can finish what I wanted to say, which makes conversing with people difficult and awkward. Also, sometimes I’ll start sentences with things that make no sense, just because that was one of the many things my brain was thinking about while simultaneously having a conversation. 

With the exception of the accidental glaring, I thought this happened to everyone. I thought that everyone forgot what they wanted to say at least ten times every day. At the very least, I thought these differences could just be chalked up to my vivid imagination. But, in the summer of 2011, I learned that these are symptoms. Of a disability. 

But I’m still getting to know myself. I’m still learning to cope with this diagnosis and I’m trying to decide for myself if they are characteristics that help define me or obstacles that test me. Speed bumps on my road. 

Well, I think I’ve rambled long enough. I didn’t get the chance to mention how I have the strangest fears, occasionally talk to myself, or thought it was normal to get as many “head rushes” as I do every day. Either way, if you can relate to me, I can relate to you. And if you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading, and let me know if you feel me. Maybe you have ADD. Or maybe you’re just a weirdo. All the best people are. 

Sincerely,

Sammy

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