Undiagnosed ADHD and Other Whoopsies
A Collection of Teenage Poetry
To put it simply, I wasn't diagnosed until I was 21. I had numerous people in my child- and teenage-hood tell me they thought I had it, but because I wasn't getting up during class 500 times or interrupting the teacher once a minute, the school was pretty sure I was a lazy ass with no aspirations. I don't want to sound resentful, but I sometimes wish I could go back to all those teachers who wrote "a pleasure to have in class, but doesn't apply herself" on my report cards, and tell them to go fuck themselves.
Of course, I eventually sorted out my school troubles. I raised my GPA pretty far toward the end of my high school career, got into a good college, and have been doing well in college ever since. However, I look back now at my almost 22 years of life, and I see some social struggles of mine that I wish someone had seen through. I wish every time I let rejection overpower me, or when someone told me I interrupted too much, or when I "too often brought the story back to myself," someone had raised a red flag. But, what's funny is: ADHD is not a red flag. I wanted to get diagnosed to understand why people seemed to think I was different, but I never started medication. I didn't see any point--my life wasn't falling apart, and I was doing well in school and holding jobs just fine. The biggest of my problems were these nitpicky social things, and I decided, why should that be my problem? Why must I apologize to the world for how the world affected me?
My waffling between desperately wanting to be liked and wanting to cut out toxic people from my life helped me a lot in high school...if you define helping as losing friends, letting people manipulate me, and getting called "crazy" behind my back. And yet, I got to college and made close friends, formed a solid relationship with my coworkers, and began dating the best guy imaginable. The catch? It's not a catch, but most of them are neurodivergent, too.
Surrounded by their support, I figured out two things: 1) I need to set more boundaries when forming relationships with neurotypical people, and 2) I need to have more confidence in myself. I didn't formally become an English major until college, but I'd been writing since I was a kid and always felt too scared to share anything I wrote.
So, one step in this self-discovery process was digging out all my old poetry from high school. It wasn't perfect and shiny writing, much like this foreword isn't, but it was real stuff. It was stuff I wrote while crying at my keyboard, floating on clouds, seething in fire, and numbing. It was a glimpse into a person who didn't understand their own personhood. Above all, it was a look into the teen years of someone who was repeatedly told "being a teen is hard for everyone" when theirs were a little bit harder.
I have no need to continue explaining everything here, so I'll leave the rest to my poetry. From this point forward, you're heading back in time to meet the me that would kill to be me today.
My window flew open
When I finally broke free
Everything was lightened
And buzzing with bees
The air felt fresher
You wouldn’t believe
That I reversed my track
And heightened my greed
I wanted what was gone
To then be redeemed
And blessed by an angel
From a sky no longer green
Could she have a shield
And gild no one but me
Hand me someone’s heart
That I know I’ll later need
Of course I love sweetness
To give and not receive
But now my fire’s burning
My quest is all I see
So dear, this is for you
Part of my recovery
I’m back in my comfort zone
And it feels like a nice breeze
The trick is in the passion
aloud in gloaming
and neon irises
manifested when eyelids lift
and the beams
from lasers of adoration
slashing the shadows.
The glow is in your caverns
where the strings
in your heart
put violas to shame
and an opal aorta arching
like the Arc de Triomphe
maintains your soul with mine.
Our love is on the clock.
Blond like nothing
but a summer fling,
gold enough to last
I made my decision,
and I am unwavering.
My heart remains locked
as my mind wanders
and blossoms desires.
I let blooms shine
until the sun returns.
File away this invitation
for the sake of stress,
and discard your painkillers
as I discard mine.
And I’ll think of him
while I dabble with you,
because I need his smile
though what I have now
is yours, minus that love.
Can you tell that
you’re only a spirit?
Everyone had seen her gemstone bullets,
but few were privileged with their bite.
The few thought Death was a ghost,
until her fingerprints stained their necks.
The fingerprints oiled the paper
with the messages they threatened to send.
The messages were thin air and ice
and chills overtook her decaying body.
The chills were involuntary back then,
because a plague had weakened her once.
The plague was barely new to her
and she sipped blood like wine.
The blood was that of the few only;
her scythe was no longer able to hesitate.
The scythe was usually a symbol of fear
when she was kind enough to give a warning.
Death herself is shamelessly human
with ideas grand enough to kill a mind.
The Best Time For Me To Exist
is not right now.
It’s because I’ve done everything
and gotten nothing done;
I’ve loved so much into empty space;
I stared until my eyes teared up
and froze the droplets in place;
I write this with a headache and prayers
I’ve made, written so they never fade;
my words hurt me more than you
though you’re the one I dedicate things to;
I can’t please myself, though I
know me more than anyone else,
I know what I could be doing now
and for that I suppose I can say:
the best time for me to exist
is the day I love me how I love you.
While You Are In Absentia
my heart will tally through winter
for the prospect of sunbeams.
The irises of my welling eyes
will become a duller teal
and no one will notice
past my lipsticked smile.
My forehead will be eclipsed
as my vision clouds,
allowing my thoughts
to disarray into prismatic shards.
Every last melody will be yours;
therefore, I will adore them all.
My phantom fingers will
tour and explore through
your midnight mess of hair
until you drift into dreaming.
They may sweep across
your lashes, as if to strum them
like the teeth of a comb,
then down and over your freckles,
as if I could smear them
into the rest of your colors.
Should you twitch and grin,
I’ll halt my hands and allow you
to wake in the warmth
of my blush and exposure
and I’ll explain in a whisper
that I cannot sleep yet,
for there is that chance
my foolish subconscious
creates a fleeting dream
Like a damn fool
I spent love I didn't have,
because I felt as though
I never had enough.
Anyone could ask you
and you'd say I don't owe you,
but ask me and I'd say
I'll give the last of my savings.
Everything you watched me spend
I will pay back to you,
and anything you want after
will come without questions.
I've stood where you stood
without words to argue,
so when I crashed at the end
on Black Tuesday I came to you.
On This Bright Morning
Zero minutes, one second:
A day. Another day.
These are the days poets say
put on a summery display.
One minute, twenty-five seconds:
I form my outfit quite womanly
in which a princess you may see;
today that princess will be me.
Two minutes, twelve seconds:
Though when these mad people fade
my darkest pains cannot be swayed
to form a heart from a spade.
Two minutes, twenty seconds:
Something changes beneath us two.
I'm the same; it must be you
who does coldly force it to.
Three minutes, eleven seconds:
It looked up then; it looks up now;
it lures me with no charm somehow
and obligates my head to bow.
Three minutes, twenty-nine seconds:
All is fine; it seems to be;
Life dares to get down on one knee
and promises to marry me.
Three minutes, thirty-five seconds:
Glass rains down from all the stars
and tiger-stripes me with new scars
and deafens me within these bars.
Four minutes, zero seconds:
Hard enough, I punch the wall,
yet along with it I do fall.
I can win some, but not quite all.
Four minutes, thirty-two seconds:
The tears look choice upon my face
and all artfully interlace;
this world seems to not hold grace.
Five minutes, fourteen seconds:
The brightest soul I've ever known;
I see inside me it has grown.
My angel keeps me not alone.
Five minutes, fifty-nine seconds:
Now I grasp truth's deja-vu;
we can reverse, me and you!
Now I can trust all that I do.
Six minutes, fifty-three seconds:
Like a ghost, I know you not,
though once I had you, my inkblot;
a name is more than just a thought.
Seven minutes, forty-seven seconds:
Low times ring like a church-bell.
You were the Heaven to balance Hell;
just build your soul; all will be well.
Eight minutes, twenty-four seconds:
Life and liberty again exist;
foolish Sin, though we once kissed,
your burning noose will not be missed.
Assessing the situation now before me I
Begin to crumble at my full plate of
Carcinogen memories that toll my mind like
Dull pains of a dreary nostalgia and
Egregious people erasing my hope as I
Forget what it means to be inside the
Glory days where nothing mattered and
Hatred was a theoretical thing and
Ideals were an item only inside heads
Just barely ever cracking the surface
Keeping to oneself was understood by kids
Losing was accepted but unacceptable
Mindsets were purer than the average adult
Nevertheless many doors were taped shut
Off-limits was a sign at child height
Prancing with a solo instrument was
Quite unheard of in a dependent time
Realizing the things underneath in places
Secret and only revealed between lovers was
Terribly disgusting and wrong to us yet
Ultimately something bold to us now and
Verifiably exciting and energetic now that
We are free to be grown and wise like
Xenon in space once filled with helium just
Yesterday, then we became heavy and
Zombified yet proud of our age
To deceive the ear and chest
Plunging, darkened chords
Making heartstrings collapse hard
To arouse the shade
A concerning wink
From the ghostly musicians
Don’t evade the pulse
To take arcane undertones
And find happiness
Tonight we bring you
The only holy séance
The song of our minds
And here I am foolish
To think I loved you most
That I cared more than they
And was your loyal host
We’ve all gone a bit crazy
To rationalize ourselves
So we become angelic
And they can show their hell
The blame game is gambling
Denial seduces roulette
Now I lie here mourning
What hasn’t happened yet
Envision I invite you
Back into this morass
Would you want to return here
Or maintain your dear class
We can’t rectify, just wreck
Our own salvaged blood
My veins feel so distressed
Eroded by inner mud
So yes, my dear, I loved you
I toiled for your heart
And my own humanity’s blameless
For only I split us apart
When one wakes
Their eyes jumble and fragment
Into a flippant array
Some blink away the mosaic
And rise in confidence
Some rise and their head floats
And some don’t rise at all
Perhaps the weight of their bodies
Is more than most days
Or perhaps the weight
Of the energy in their heads
Some can accept themselves
But not all, and why?
In the subconscious riptide
We all admire ourselves
In our vulnerable state
We cannot hate nor love
The sights we see are
The sights that will be and
Our sunlit minds judge until
They take over moonlight, too
And our conditions fight
The innate equilibrium in us
And we see a kaleidoscope
You threw me for a loop
And as I flew through the air
For one ephemeral moment
I thought you'd catch me
Yet once you stood lifeless
I reached for anything in my way
Nothing safe like your embrace
Only inanimate objects that
Will always be there, though
Not nearly as comforting
Because even if I couldn't
Fall into your arms
I didn't want to hit the ground
And any day I'd take
Your whiplash that breaks me
At the very least I'd survive
So if you can't save me now
At least save my memory
So I can hope as I lay
And as your car drives away
You're only getting help
And not fleeing the scene
Haiku of Selfish People
Thank you for your heart
I needed some confidence
Good luck rebuilding
Confusion meets anxiety.
In a stressful fit I fall
as I begin my search
and pray I find myself.
Perhaps I’ve been forgotten.
Now all I see is colors
and missed it by a thread.
I so desperately want
what I’m looking for.
I need baby blue and
I knew I smelled the scent.
I need olive green
because it won’t leave me alone.
The world needs to know
the feeling is desolation.
My torturing conflict,
am I really so alone?
I love what I have now.
It’s my own fault I got here.
And I refuse to lose it;
I blistered up my feet.
But what if I wait long?
My pleasure now has left me
to brew my cup of tea
so fear could move on in.
I’m now nevermore’s perch
in a panicked, bittersweet haze.
You fragment my fever
My stoic sexuality is
submitting to purity
to preserve you
as an innocent heart
because to break you
would be forever
in my mind as a
felony though the law
would never bother with it
You can blur yourself
but only if you assure me
that your fracture was
not due to who I am
but who you are instead
Perhaps my vascular flora is returning
with the wind sweeping away my feet
and I can look at the sun again
without feeling the scorching heat.
Perhaps I can fight my battles with yours
to again prove I’m worth peace
while boxing my chaotic thoughts
to force these tornadoes to cease.
Perhaps I can clear one notion up:
these words are strictly about me
and all the things I say about you
despite your pseudo-apathy.
Perhaps I write with empty heart,
its blood a vantablack sea,
yet I feel blessed it pulses not
by lust and pride and greed.
Perhaps my vascular flora is returning
with the wind sweeping away my feet
and love will love my mind again
and freeze its warmth like sleet.