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.

I need something that alters my course

I returned from Europe with a lot of personal momentum and motivation. My bike was packed and I had campground reservations arranged up the coast beginning on September 27th. Rascal’s injury happened a bit before that, and I was concerned about leaving Margaret to try to manage that… I was probably going to have to postpone.

When Margaret’s mom had her stroke on the 26th, it made the decision for me.

I was already dealing with something that was going on with my legs. It was fairly mild at the time, and I was hoping that rest would resolve it over Margaret’s trip. I now believe there were other factors (especially the way I was sitting in my office chair) that were more of an issue than the biking, as the problem was getting worse; not better.

Then, I actually injured the knee that was the less problematic of the two a couple days before Margaret got home. I actually had to have Michelle come down in the middle of the night when it happened, because I wasn’t sure I could get down and back up the stairs with Rascal.

Things are improving slowly, but steadily. I did two short bike rides last weekend. I let frustration drive me to push a little too hard on the second one, and I paid a little bit for it. Thankfully, it was only a bit of extra soreness for a couple of days.

I actually organized and packed everything again yesterday, and I’m ready to depart as soon as my legs are able.

Between Rascal’s injury, and then mine, I have spent most of the past 70 days or so in my room. It’s not mentally healthy. But, I’m having a hard time finding anywhere I can or am willing to go other than my house right now with Omicron already being here, and the unknowns surrounding that.

I’m taking the bike trip firstly because I’m very concerned about my health. So, the delay and the enforced physical stagnation is adding greatly to my overall anxiety. At this point, with other things going on in my life, it’s as much about my mental health as it is my physical.

I’ve spent a time over the past couple of weeks putting together an online identity with a blog and social media accounts. I’m writing about the trip, and my life now, and will continue to do so while I travel. I’m hoping that it comes to generate enough income to underly more ambitious projects in the future.

But, I’m extremely restless, and just want to leave as soon as I know my body isn’t going to break down before I get past the other side of town. I’ve targeted the 18th as the earliest, and will be extremely discouraged if I can’t get out of here by January 1.

I want nothing to do with Christmas this year. I’m feeling very empty, and it feels like Christmas would be more mockery than healing experience. I just don’t want to put a bunch of myself into something that’s almost certain to be disappointing (at best).

Aside from my legs, I’m well prepared for the trip. I have top notch equipment, I know where I’m going. Michelle’s brother was a good mentor, and I follow a lot of people who “bikepack” all over the world to get tips and guidance. I’ll be well connected with both my real world and new social media accounts, and will make sure people know where I am and when. I signed up for an emergency information service that includes an ID bracelet, and online information about all my medical stuff and contacts. So, in a very bad situation, as long as my bracelet doesn’t come flying off (it’s built not to), medical people will have access to the information and contacts they need.

It’s obviously not the best time of year to start something like this, but the obstacles that came are realities, which makes the awkward start date part of the challenge. I need to accomplish something big. I need something that alters my course. People my size don’t often make it very far past 60… and anyone who thinks my mental make up lends itself to slow, steady, incremental improvements that add up to 100 pounds doesn’t know me very well.