Monday, May 20, 2013

Try, Try Again

Man, oh man.

Life can sure bite you in the butt, can't it?

I haven't been neglecting only you.

I haven't been writing at all. For anyone, including myself.

I have been almost, barely, been keeping up with my column. At least I haven't been fired yet, but I have been struggling mightily there too, and it's my job for goodness sake.

It's all about distraction.

Any of you who get to live with ADD -- whether in yourself or someone close -- know about distraction. It's not like we ADD folk fly around from subject to subject, jump with abandon from thought to thought, well OK, maybe it is, but not all the time, and usually, there is reason behind all the jumping.

Our mind will skitter here and there when we try to focus on a subject, it will refuse to grasp it and work at it, instead, we find ourselves doing this crazy Vitus dance around whatever we're trying to grasp and each random jerk of our head, or foot, or arm launches us onto another thought, then another...

After living with this unusual way of thinking (unusual for you maybe, same ol', same ol' for me) without medication for more than 55 years now, I have finally begun to get it.

ADD has also given me an incredible gift, known in the medical, psychological, and exhausted friend and mom world as hyper-focus.

When those of us of the ADD ilk sink into the luxury of hyper-focus, our mind becomes razor sharp, and can see only the object or thought in front of us.

When I go there, combined with a mildly obsessive nature ("ahem," interjects Damn Therapist, forever known as D.T.), I live, breathe and function with the thought or object as the only thing I see.

For years, it was learning about Working Cowhorse. The sport, the method, how it affected the horse, the rider, where it came from, mechanics, all of it, everything. It was the only thing on my mind for years.

Think about it, I was what, 40 or so when I got into it, maybe my late thirties, and I immediately learned it was a sport for the wealthy.

A single class  at a small, state club-sponsored, NRCHA approved show runs about $180.

This year, the great big, lots of added money, nationally attended show had an average price of $1100 per class. FOR A SINGLE CLASS.

You can see where you quickly find yourself saying, "Oh, good, I can afford this one, it will only cost me $400 or so" That would be for 2 classes on one horse, or 1 class with two horses and gas. No stalls, bedding, trailer fees, overnight fees etc. I was and am a poor person. This was and is an insane amount of money.

Being the ADD person I am, this little hill meant nothing to me in my road to learn cowhorse. I was an open rider, like it or not, because I gave riding lessons and started colts for a living.

This was fine, because I couldn't afford to be a non-pro, the only way I could show was to learn to train it myself. The only way to learn was to ride multiple horses, the only way to ride multiple horses was to go I did.

This was at the same time I met the Big K. He was 15 years younger than me and had twenty years more experience. As time went by he became as focused on helping me learn how to train cowhorse as I was. Why? Because we're twin sons of different mothers (killer 70's reference for all you youngsters out there).
We are obsessed with horses, what makes them tick and how to tune their tick to ours, and we are crazy intent on riding cowhorse.

I raised my daughter in this environment, dirt poor, scraping together money for show after show, she slept in the corner of many an arena, was "home" with the flu more than once on a cot in the tack room with a space heater and micro-waved cup-o-noodles. We had no money, no insurance,shopped at the ARC and the U-name-it-mart and ate very simply.

She didn't have many video games or extra curricular school activities, but she did have a horse to ride, and lots of time with me. Quantity, not quality, that was my credo. She missed too much school (at least as long as she had good grades) because we were on the road, hauling to arenas in Colorado Nebraska, the Dakotas, Wyoming,  or New Mexico.

In the end, I got what I wanted, needed,  to be able to train a good cowhorse.

Did I o the right thing?

Don't know, hope so, but can't promise I could have put it down, if it had been wrong.

So now I'm on the next chapter and I don't have a focus. Writing was there, my two lovely horses, the dogs, you guys, but I've been jumping, here there and everywhere, my Vitus dance becoming wilder and the ensuing thoughts spiraling off into space instead of telling me where to go.

Maybe it's because I didn't choose this life. I have no interest in paying attention to Parkinson's or Jim's stroke. I don't want to learn to live with my new reality... skitter, skitter.

I have learned over the years to accept and release my distractions. I don't let my hyper-focus go there, because it could be twenty years before I come up for air.

One by one, I let the distractions go, it feels like they seep away on their own, but I've learned that it's me shoving them away. My life becomes smaller and I can start to glimpse the thoughts I need to be turning my attention to.

This last month I was down to bare bones.
No writing, hardly any horses. I didn't go out, started shutting out friends, both on the 'Net and at home, no reading, no cooking, all of my escapes were peeled away and discarded.

These past few weeks I have begun to get my house in order. Setting the priorities I need to balance myself and my reality. Ew. I'm hating that one. But my wise and crazy brain has been peeling away my random thoughts and making me recognize them as distractions until I finally saw what I needed to be working on.

It's falling into place. As I have begun to get things squared at home-- I won't bore you with the details, but it has to do with taking back my life--  Jim and I have been able get on with our new reality.

So, the writing is coming back, I have lots of half-written posts to revisit and share, my horses are getting ridden and I'm bumping up into some collection issues with Odin. I've had some great big leaps in horse/dog training perception, am excited to share and get your input on these, and the stories are finally, finally coming back.


shadowlake2005 said...

Good to hear from you, Mugs. Just know that we're all here for you, hands on or hands off, whatever you need/want from us.

JJ said...

Glad you're coming back to your escapes :)

mugwump said...

Oh, me too JJ, reality bites.

For What It's Worth said...

"Twin Sons of Different Mothers" is my favorite Dan Fogelberg album! Glad you are regaining your focus Mugs!

For What It's Worth said...

"Twin Sons of Different Mothers" is my favorite Dan Fogelberg album! Glad you are regaining your focus Mugs!

gillian said...

This is my favorite explanation of the feeling of having ADD. Maybe it will appeal to you.

KD said...

Welcome home prodigal....we're always here with open arms. Looking forward to whatever you decide to share with us.

mugwump said...

gillian - perfect

Snipe said...

Glad to hear from you again, Mugs, and I hope real life is getting sorted out satisfactorily.

Anonymous said...

Your stories offer us an escape too. I've been battling to keep myself from turning into a ball of twitching nerves. Between work, kids and trying to keep this house from being taken over with dishes, laundry and diapers there has been very little time to relax. I don't know if my horse even remembers me at this point. It has been a really hard year for us. I went through surgery last June and my hubby has been through 3 since last April and he is still recovering. I am so sick of being in survival mode. Reading your stories I get to day dream about horses and what life could be if we ever get back to "normal".
Anyway, thanks for everything you write,

Whywudyabreedit said...

Good to hear that you are getting your life sorted out, and finding a way back to what you enjoy. Also it is always great to hear from you.

MichelleL. said...

Sometimes the Lifeboat gets a rocking in crazy ways and it takes a bit of time to right itself.

Looking forward to hearing more from you, whenever you have the time or inclination.

Heidi the Hick said...

You know how fully I understand the ADD blessing-curse. I sometimes feel bad about how much I've neglected people who aren't my family, and how much I don't do in general, but it's what I have to do to. I have tried to not hyperfocus on things because I have to avoid getting sucked in. Learning when to use it, or let it use me, is something I'm still working on.

I often have felt sad that my kids were raised in a modest house we struggled to hang onto and that I had to keep them sheltered from my worry that I couldn't afford to get groceries. But. They have told me they had a happy childhood. We didn't starve. They didn't have expensive toys, no video games, no big vacations, and they were aware that other kids had tons of stuff. They got to hang around in a recording studio. They had a drum kit. They heard some music that hardly any kids they knew had access to. And on weekends they had horses at grandma's farm. And they had me at home with them, with my messy house full of books and art and a backyard full of shovels and scrap lumber and plants!

I'm still learning how to make a living - I hope they learn because now my only regret is that we have nothing saved, but I'm also learning that growing up with an ADHD mom (Yep capital H for me!) can make a kid creative and flexible and resilient. I'm sure you could say the same thing!

Do what you have to do, and without apology!

Slippin said...

My friend and I have come up with OUR explanation of ADD (we call it ADHD). We say that we have ADHD so bad that we can't even get through the short abbreviation of ADHD, so we say we have, ADH.....OOOOH Shiny!
I also saw somewhere on Facebook that said, "I have OCD and ADD, so everything has to be perfect for a little while" Glad you are getting back into life again...

LadyFarrier said...

Love Dan Fogelberg :)

So glad to hear that you're still out there. Thanks for making time for us! Looking forward to more stories.

Did we ever here the end of the Mort/First Endurance Ride tale?

Anonymous said...

Heidi, don't feel sad about the kind of mother you've been anymore. More people need to learn what you already know. Money does not guarantee a happy family. Having more stuff just makes you want more stuff.

mugwump said...

Heidi - Kidlette tells me often that ADD moms (only ADD slippin, I have no hyper)are the best. Fun, creative, easy to pull a fast one on and too distracted to remember what the kid did wrong....
Still managed to raise a tough, creative resourceful girl.
Poor kids who have normal moms.

Anonymous said...

You might look at this blog Her writing is similar to yours, maybe a bit edgier, but thoughtful and intelligent. She trains dogs, and does search and rescue, and has a similar view towards dogs that you mention here - they need jobs. Anyhow, love the writing, makes me miss having a horse.

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