I am not inadequate

When: January 12, 2022 | Where: Carpinteria, California
Miles Cycled: 276 | Days on the Road: 24

ADHD finds all kinds of ways to remind me of my inadequacy.  No.  Let me change that word to “disability.”

Inadequacy is what I felt for most of my life, as I bought into the still-popular notion that ADHD — especially among adults — is really just excuse making for those who lack discipline and work ethic. 

I struggle with the word “disability,” because I feel like I’m commandeering a word meant for people with “real” disabilities. I’m still so conditioned to believe that my disorganized mind doesn’t qualify.  That if I just tried harder to focus my thoughts, or to stop absent-mindedly setting things down in places I won’t remember, or to be more “diligent” when reviewing important details… If I just tried harder, I could be like “normal” people.

But, trying harder is never going to change the fundamental architecture of my brain. My brain will never work the same way as a “neurotypical” brain. That fact is always going to cause me to miss things others see plainly.  My brain is always going to struggle to keep order from becoming chaos.  It’s the brain architecture I was born with, and the fact that I’ve done well in spite of it doesn’t change the truth that it’s always been disabling.

I am not inadequate.

I was tearing up when I wrote that last sentence. I’m laughing now, because I realized that I sat down to write an update on my travels, and got characteristically waylaid by my thoughts.

What I was starting to say was that I got reminded of my “disability” yesterday when I discovered that I had not actually published “Lemuel’s Ramble” yet. For more than a month, I had thought I was putting my thoughts out there for the world to see, and only discovered yesterday that every last idea was stuck in blog purgatory, just waiting for someone to notice the “publish” button… which I hadn’t.  So, people who clicked links to entries from social media were informed that “Lemuel’s Ramble” was “COMING SOON!”


Dotting i’s and crossing t’s is never going to be my thing.

It’s fixed now, just in time for me to start heading inland, which I should be doing later today after stopping at a bike shop in Ventura. 

My handlebars are just a little too low or too forward, and arm fatigue is proving to be a bigger issue than leg fatigue.  I’m hoping they’ll have the part (or parts) I need to solve the issue today, so that I can continue on to Santa Paula or further before dark.

So I bought a bicycle in the fall and I resolved to pedal it to the other coast  

For now though… this intro.  I need to tape my knees and get the bike packed. 

Ramble Day 13. Miles cycled: 104

Welcome to Lemuel’s Ramble. I’m going to approach this in an untraditional way.

I have ADHD. I’d debated what aspect of myself to lead with, because there are other things about me that are important for me to convey.  But ADHD kept jumping to the forefront. 

Until fairly recently, I’d looked at my ADHD as just that: an aspect.  Something I deal with, but try to work around. But I’ve come to understand that, in discounting it that way, I’ve done myself a disservice.

ADHD is a fundamental difference in the structure of my thinking. It is most disruptive when I’m trying to work within frameworks that were developed by neurotypical people for neurotypical thought structures.

My creative mind doesn’t work linearly. When I create, it looks more like a jigsaw puzzle in progress. The frame is generally formed first, perhaps with little clusters of like thoughts/pieces merged together during that process. Then, ideas/pieces get built out as associations between them are discovered in multiple clusters that eventually merge with other clusters, and ultimately form a cohesive whole.

It’s often difficult to see the end result with a jigsaw if you don’t use the box top as your guide.  The way my mind works is like that too.  As when doing a jigsaw, I only have a rough idea of what the result will be.  With a jigsaw, I look at the box top before starting, and then don’t look at it again.  In creating, I have an image in my mind of how something will look when it’s finished, but the details are blurry and jumbled.

I’ve put off serious writing for many years because I always saw the process as yet another obstacle to conquer.  A way of doing things that I was going to have to force myself to adopt, because that’s just the way it’s done.

That obstacle is so formidable to me, I finally came face to face with the reality that I might never be up to the challenge of it.

So, rather than work on yet another weakness, I’m going to play to a strength. The times when I’ve been most successful in life have been the times when I’ve done things in ways that made sense to me and made other people scratch their heads. I’ll make what I make here in a way that makes sense to me. 

I’ll write a bit on this, and a bit on that… as it comes to me.  Hopefully, the individual bits will be worth your time on their own, and even more hopefully, there will be some bigger payoff as a bigger picture forms from those pieces.

My Ramble

Another aspect of me, at the moment, is that I’m fat.  Unlike ADHD, being fat is not something that is part and parcel of who I am. It is a burden I’m carrying.  A burden I need to unload if I hope to survive into my 60s (I’m in my early 50s now).

So, I bought a bicycle in the fall, and I resolved to pedal it to the other coast.  After a series of delays and setbacks that I’ll detail another time, I dipped my rear tire into the Pacific on December 20th at Moss Landing, California, and have been traveling since then.  It’s been slow going for a variety of reasons, but I am making progress.  I’m departing Atascadero, California in a couple of hours, and hoping for an easy 20 mile pedal to Morro Bay, where I’m planning to break out the camping gear for the first time. 

At any rate, while I build whatever it is I’m building here, the Ramble will be a unifying theme.  My goal is to post regular updates on where I am both in time and space and mentally/emotionally/spiritually.  I also plan to post videos to a YouTube channel.