FINISHED.

Dear Reader,

This post is probably going to be pointless and is being written for no audience whatsoever but I need to get it out there for my own sanity  because I’ve reached the point of the semester where I feel like I’m completely losing it.

I can’t finish anything.

This, of course, is a theme in my life and has been since I can remember. My brother used to relentlessly make fun of me by listing off all of the projects I started and never finished–the books and songs I would write, the neighborhood newspaper I tried to get going, the web series that only ever reached the planning stage, the store that my sister and I would man. I was very young for all of these weird ideas, but the point still stands: I can’t finish shit.

I have written so many blog posts in the past few days. Some are about serious stuff, others are just updates, but all of them are left unfinished.

Of course, that’s the least of my worries at this point because there’s all of my schoolwork that goes unfinished. In fact, it is RARE for me to complete a course without missing an assignment. And even when I have the opportunity to turn the assignment in late, it always remained unfinished. Even when I write or meet with the professor during the editing stages and ask for an extension or whatever, it still never gets done.

I have books on my shelf that are half-read. I have my daily calendar that tells me what historic thing woman have done on this day still on February 6th. I have a loose budget because I can’t bring myself to finish hounding out the details. Even now, right this moment, I am laying on my unmade bed with a blanket over me because I can’t bring myself to put the clean sheets back on the mattress.

And I don’t know what’s wrong with me and I know it’s nothing new but what really irks me is when I go to the doctor’s and they give me the survey to check up on my ADD and I read the question: “Do you often start tasks but quickly lose focus or become easily sidetracked?”

Because it’s kind of a tricky answer. Yes, but I don’t just forget about the task I was doing first (well, not always). I just get sidetracked with another task or another project. I remember when I didn’t write a final for one of my classes freshman year because I was writing my novel. And then this summer I didn’t bother editing my poor draft for the journalism class I was in because I wanted to make a medley of Sia’s songs on the piano.

So I don’t know if this is ADD or just a terrible habit of abandoning projects or just who I am as a person but it’s so annoying and I don’t know how to fix it. Even now I’m reaching the point of just giving up on this entry and moving onto something else, but I’m going to push through.

And I just wonder what it would be like if my life had focus. In the general sense, I guess. Or if I could just keep the focus, but that sounds like ADD, doesn’t it? Except I take my meds–I even just recently upped the medication–and the problem remains.

So I know this is weird to publish. It doesn’t paint me in the best light, but it reveals a lot about who I am. And it certainly doesn’t have a point. No inspiring story or happy ending here. And I’m not even asking for help. I’m not saying, please give me suggestions on how I can change–because I don’t know if I can. I don’t know that there’s anything anyone can tell me to do that isn’t the obvious “get your shit done” answer.

But anyway, I think this is the ending. There. I’ve written one cohesive (eh, debatable) post and I’m going to publish it so that I can prove to myself that I can finish at least one thing to completion. And then maybe that’ll inspire me to finish more. And then maybe I’ll finish the “if we were having coffee” post and the “I don’t know what do in this situation” post and I’ll start blogging again. And then maybe I’ll change.

Or maybe I’ll just forget I’ve even written this by the time I wake up tomorrow.

I guess we’ll just see.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. I just titled this and it seems super dramatic if you don’t know the context, but I’m just saying “finished.” Like, one thing down, twenty to go type of thing. Jeez I hope no one takes it as something more serious lol

“Finished.”

Jesus.

PPS. I just typed “unfinished” in Google Images and “unfinished bridges” was the first thing to pop up and it just made me laugh because at least I’m just like a stupid student who’s not getting stuff done but it’s not detrimental to society or anything. Like who the hell is this guy who just didn’t finish this bridge?

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{VIDEO} MY PILL JOURNEY: KELSEY DARRAGH

Dear Reader,

I went to the doctor’s today and I had an entire blog post written about it, all ready to post, but I decided to save it. At least for now. I’m just trying to figure out my feelings at this point and I normally don’t push “publish” unless I’m certain of my thoughts.

But not much is certain for me at this point. Except this video.

Buzzfeed had this “Mental Health Week” (which I loved) and this video is one of my favorites. I watched it within the first hour or so it was posted and about halfway through I realized that it was Kelsey Darragh telling her story.

I love Kelsey. If she’s in a Buzzfeed video, I automatically love it so much more. She’s absolutely hilarious, which is why she’s often featured in the “People Try” and “Debatable” videos. But she’s also so real and insightful, which is why she’s featured in videos like, “I’m Bipolar But I’m Not…” and this one: “My Pill Journey.”

I so relate to this story. Going into my sophomore year of high school, I was diagnosed with ADD. I think I tried four or five different medications because of things like my insurance or certain side effects like increased heart palpitations.

(In fact, it was that medication that led me to be diagnosed with POTS.)

And today I was given another prescription for antidepressants.

Because apparently depression and ADD have a venn-diagram-like-relationship in which not all depressed people have ADD and not all people with ADD are depressed, but when there is that overlap, medication tends to not have the desired effect. So you kind of have to take both to get what you want.

And that’s still what I’m trying to figure out: what do I want? What do I want to sacrifice in order to be happy? What do I accept as personality traits and what do I turn to medication to change?

That’s what my original blog post talked about, but it was kind of a mess because I simply don’t have the answers.

This video gives me hope, though. It comforts me and makes me feel not so alone. I’ve watched it over a dozen times and shared it with a lot of people–and today I’m sharing it with you.

I hope you enjoy.

Sincerely,

Sammy

 

STORYBOOK: THE TIME THEY TOLD ME I HAD ADD

Dear Reader,

I think I’ve always been lazy. I have the ability to overcome it and can be weirdly motivated for certain projects, but I think at my core, I’m a lazy person. And I think the worst thing you can tell a kid that’s lazy is that they’re gifted.

Because that almost condones it, right? Like, you’re allowed to be lazy because things are going to come easier to you and for some reason, maybe genetics, maybe the way you were raised, you’re just not going to have to work that hard to pass classes. Not like some other students.

And I look back, and I can see that. I see that school was easy for me. I guess. In the sense that I didn’t put in that much effort on projects I didn’t like and I still managed to pass. And, like I said, I am capable of working hard. I spent so much time writing stories and songs and poems and in my personal journals. I even spent a lot of time doing math problems for fun and counting my quarter collection and designing my biome for science class. It didn’t really matter to me if it was for school or not–if I enjoyed it, I would do it. If I didn’t, I would procrastinate. And maybe I would never even get around to doing it.

Trust me, I know how bad that is. It’s one of the things I hate about myself, but I think it’s who I am at my core, which is why it’s so hard for me to change. But it’s gotten me in trouble. It almost got me kicked out of the accelerated fourth grade class I was placed in. And it did get me kicked out of honors English.

But I always managed to stay afloat and get grades that pleased my father and score in the top percentages of all of the standardized tests I took growing up. And then high school came along, and classes got boring.

Really boring.

In eighth grade I took algebra and american history, both of which I loved. So I excelled. Freshman year I took AP government and biology and geometry. Proofs and labs and dry reading were what (should’ve) filled my days.

I couldn’t do it, though. I couldn’t force myself to learn–or to focus. I spent classes daydreaming and looking out windows. But I guess it didn’t really end there. I think it might’ve carried over into conversations and even onto the soccer field.

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“Sorry, I zoned out.”

But, come on, I was fourteen years old! Of course I’m not going to be interested in AP government or every time my mother lectures me about my room. And yeah, sometimes it’s bad if I miss the starting lineup because my mind is somewhere else, but that only happened a handful of times.

So I laughed when my two friends confronted me.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but we think you might have ADD.”

I even laughed when I told my parents.

“You’ll never guess what Jaden and Lekha told me today!”

But instead of laughs, I got, “Alright, well we’ll schedule an appointment and go from there.”

What?

I still rolled my eyes on the way to the appointment. I mean, we were going to see a therapist. I didn’t need a therapist! (lol look at me now)

He was very nice, but I didn’t really get why we were doing all of this. I was in this closet-like room at first and had to click the mouse as soon as I saw the white letter X (I think) against the black screen. Don’t click for the other letters.

Eh, I think I was just trigger-happy.

Then he asked me a few riddles and basic math problems. I made sure not to fidget or shake my feet and I focused really hard. But, I mean, it was August. I was a little rusty.

I still remember a riddle about something with six strings on your back. I was stumped and I asked my mom about it in the car and she said, “guitar?”

Okay, so this guy’s going to tell me that I don’t have ADD, but I’m no longer gifted.

How did I not get guitar?

But, honestly, I thought I killed it. Yep, I was like, I know what ADD looks like and the way I presented myself was nothing of the sort. I’ve got nothing to worry about.

Later that day my brother drove me to soccer with his friend in the car and, laughing, I said, “Guess what I did today! Got tested for ADD!”

The awkward silence that followed told me that maybe I shouldn’t be joking about this quite yet.

Well, we went back awhile later and the guy told me that I could get a prescription for adderall. You know, for my ADD. Because my brain doesn’t work like others, he said. When most people have thoughts, basically, their brain can handle it. They can connect them quickly–he explained this as he moved his finger in a circle. But for me, I guess my thoughts go around that circle too quickly.

See? I’m too smart?

Just kidding.

He basically gave two examples. One, he said that’s why sometimes I say things without explaining how I got to that thought. I assume my thought process is the same as everyone else’s, but really, it can be kind of hard to follow along unless I articulate. And I guess that’s because of the speedy circles in my brain.

(I wish I knew something about neurology so I could explain this better)

(I should have at least tried to pay attention in biology)

Two, he said that if a teacher says, “don’t pay attention to the car honking outside,” and then a car honks outside, I’ll basically have to look. It’ll be an instinct that I can’t stop, or once my brain thinks “don’t look outside,” I’ll already be looking.

Yeah, I don’t know either. But every time a car honks outside, I look and I don’t know if it’s because he told me this years ago, or if it’s actually something I would do anyway.

That’s the thing–I feel like anyone who went to this guy could be diagnosed with ADD. I don’t know exactly what his evidence was, but I had a hard time buying it for a while. I’ve been on and off my meds (because I was an angsty teenager who was terrified of permanent, irreversible effects–actually, I am still very much both of those things). And then this year, I had to go months without them at all, and I felt absolutely hopeless. I felt broken. And dependent.

So that sucked.

And the worst thing is that I always see the pictures of how different brains look in regards to depression and ADHD and bipolar disorder, but there’s never ADD. The guy made a point that I didn’t have ADHD (the difference being hyperactive), but I never see anything regarding the struggles of people with ADD. And that sometimes makes me think it’s made up to sell performance-enhancing drugs (I would consider adderall and ritalin to be in this category) to motivationless kids.

Which brings me back to the reminder that I’m lazy.

So I don’t know what to think, but that’s the story of the time they told me I had ADD. And maybe one day I’ll write a story about the day I decided I was over it. Or maybe I’ll go back to that doctor and confront him and make him show me the notes he took on me and why he gave me this diagnosis.

I feel like it wasn’t supposed to screw me up so much, but it did. I feel like it was just supposed to explain some things–answer some questions I always had about myself. But I’ve been more confused than ever.

Sometimes I wish I could just have a full brain scan and they could tell me exactly what’s wrong with me.

But other times I think maybe I don’t want to know.

Sincerely,

Sammy

Something New For September (And Beyond?)

Dear Reader,

Starting now (and ending who knows when), I am going to be adding a little something extra to my posts. At the end of every entry, I will be recommending a song.

Now, first and foremost, I must say that this is in no way an original idea. Scott and Mitch do this at the end of every Superfruit video and Natalie does this on her own blog (which I am obsessed with, by the way, and will probably be talking about in an upcoming favorites video), and I’m sure many other people do this all across the internet, but it’s because it’s genius.

Music is very important to me. Sometimes I don’t know what to say, and sometimes even when I do, music says it so much prettier. And I don’t know if I’ll explain this right, but sometimes I don’t know how to feel. Or I’ll want to feel a certain way more intensely. More wholly. So I’ll listen to music. The impact it has is simply wonderful and it’s a shame when it’s take for granted.

So, I will now be recommending a song in every post I write. I’m sure that sometimes it’ll relate perfectly to what I’m writing about, and other times it’ll be completely random but beautiful nonetheless. But every song will be, in my opinion, worth listening to. I guess that just leaves it up to how much you value my opinion.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. Medicine – Daughter (I like to think of this song as my anthem, even though it’s kind of a soft ballad. I just completely relate to everything about it.)

Our Eight Identities

Dear Reader,

I recently went to orientation for the college I will be attending in the fall: Miami University. At this event, we were put into small groups with whom we ate with, dormed with (for the most part), and familiarized ourselves with. In these small groups, we played light, little ice breakers to get to know one another. Our last one, however, was a bit deeper and more personal. And I thought I would share it because 1) it’ll introduce myself a little further for anyone who cares to learn more and 2) it’s an interesting idea for an ice breaker that could bring a group closer or just more aware of the problems others deal with in relation to their own. So without further ado, here is the ice breaker: Eight Identities.

Each one of us has eight identities. Eight categories that we fall into. Eight characteristics that make up who we are. So each person in the group will need eight pieces of paper. On each piece you will write something specific to the category that pertains to you.

1. GENDER: on the first paper, write what gender you identify yourself with. I put female.

2. SEXUAL ORIENTATION: on the next, each person should write their sexual orientation (and don’t worry because not all of these will be shared if you don’t want to). So you can put straight, gay, bisexual, asexual, pansexual, etc. I wrote straight.

3. BACKGROUND: for background, write where you came from. Where your ancestors originated from. My mother was born and raised in Canada and my father’s family is German (thus the name: Neiswander, which was once Nuenschwander), so I wrote Canada & Germany.

4. ETHNICITY: which ethnicity you identify yourself with. I put white.

5. SOCIOECONOMIC LEVEL: on this piece of paper, write where your family falls financially. Again, it’s not necessary to share all of these identities, but it’s important to be truthful with yourself. So you can write working class, lower middle class, higher middle class, upper class, etc. I wrote higher middle class.

6. RELATIONSHIPS: this may be the most involved identity. On this paper, write all of the relationship roles you identify yourself with. I wrote sister, daughter, grand-daughter, niece, sister-in-law, aunt-to-be, and friend. You can also write goddaughter/son, boyfriend/girlfriend, mother/father, etc., if you fall into those categories.

7. RELIGION: write the religion you believe in, if any at all. This one was by far the hardest for me because I definitely believe in something, but I am embarrassingly ignorant in this subject and wasn’t raised with any kind of church or temple to be a part of. I just put Christian and will leave it at that, but this topic will probably resurface in a future entry.

8. PHYSICAL/MENTAL ABILITY: for the last piece of paper, write how able you are, physically and mentally. If there are no illnesses, you can write able-bodied. If there are, you can name them here. This includes diagnoses such as depression, arthritis, diabetes, etc. For my card, I wrote ADD and POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome).

Once everyone is finished writing, they should take a moment to look through their cards and read their identities silently to themselves, thinking about all of the stories and experiences behind each one. When that’s finished, it’s time to put them in order. You start with the one that is least important to you. Either least important meaning you don’t think it really matters or causes much difference, or meaning it’s not how you commonly categorize yourself or describes who you truly are very well. You continue doing this from least to greatest until you have a stack of eight identities that start with the ones that are most important to you. When everyone is finished with this step, you’ll go around the circle and share your top two. You don’t have to elaborate on any if you don’t want to, and you don’t even have to be specific (ex: you can say my top one was socioeconomic level without saying which category you fall into), it is just encouraged that you share two traits–two identities about yourself.

My top pieces of paper read, “ADD and POTS” and “sister, daughter, grand-daughter, niece, sister-in-law, aunt-to-be, and friend.”

My relationships with the people around me are important because I am lucky to have such loving and supportive people in my life. I’m lucky enough to be going to a college and rooming with my best friend, and I know she will stay by my side, but I’m also aware that the transition is going to be rough. And leaving my sister behind, who is just two years younger and one of the closest people in my life, is going to be ridiculously hard. But we’ll get through it despite the 200 miles between us. I also put in sister-in-law and aunt-to-be because my oldest sister married her high school sweetheart in November of 2012 and they recently announced that they’re expecting! I love that my family is expanding and am so excited to welcome the new baby into our lives.

My most important “identity” dealt with my physical/mental ability. As I’ve mentioned in a previous entry, I was diagnosed with ADD in the summer after my freshman year of high school. I’ve been put on countless medications and felt like a guinea pig for much of the next three years while trying to decide for myself if I even really had the disorder. And my prescriptions were ridiculous. Once, I was prescribed to take three pills in the morning, two when I got home, and another one at night if I wanted to study some more. Another kind of medication would make my heart beat wildly once it kicked in. When I told that to my doctor she informed me that that wasn’t normal behavior and sent me to a cardiologist, where I got diagnosed with a dysautonomia disorder.

This happened a year ago this month, actually, and I am still trying to adapt to it. It’s not fatal or even difficult to manage really, I just mostly have to watch what I eat and consume a lot of sodium. But these two diagnoses have made me become more aware of the differences between me and others and I’ve had to learn how to deal with them on my own, which has been quite the struggle. Still, they’re both a part of me and they make me who I am.

So that’s the ice breaker. It was really interesting to learn more about people and it’s always good to partake in an exercise where you have to be completely honest with yourself, I think.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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Small Group #5; yes I know I look way too excited for this picture. I thought we were all doing the same thing. I’m embarrassing.

#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