Things that Brought me Joy, Vol. 8

Things that Bring Me Joy, Volume 8

I want to identify joyful things in my life because joy keeps me sane. For me, joy includes things that make me smile or laugh, as well as things that make me feel seen, appreciated, accomplished, present, and connected. I easily forget about and gloss over things that bring me joy, and I don’t want to take those things for granted anymore. Hence, this feature.

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The Joy of Reading to Know Thyself

At the suggestion of my therapist, I started this book in August 2021. Even though it was helpful, doing the exercises caused mini-anxiety attacks. The book required me to process my life through a new lens, and the activities dredged up some painful stuff that I wasn’t prepared to face. I kept picking up the book, carrying it with me around the house, and not finishing it. It’s not that being diagnosed with ADHD bothered me. It was that I hadn’t connected my pain to being misunderstood in that specific way. How could I? I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 40. There was a lot to process.

Last month, I got super annoyed that I was reading four books at once, and I kept picking up new books and finishing those before wrapping up the others, a.k.a., a very ADHD thing to do. Having countless unfinished projects stresses me out. So, I declared that I wasn’t allowed to start any new books until I finished the long-stalled four.

A Radical Guide for Women with ADHD was the closest to being finished, so I coerced myself into getting it done.

Frankly, I’m glad I stalled on this one. The last three chapters hit me at the perfect time. They are about living a bolder life, and the exercises are exactly what I needed to realize that I’ve been letting fear win.

The authors discuss the idea of “mindful authenticity,” and I was like . . . yes. That.

But I underlined the bolded text below:

Noticing requires that we sit with our inner experience for a moment, especially when the uncomfortable stuff comes up. In these moments, we have a chance to hold our deepest discomfort and fears with compassion, care, and curiosity. This helps us stay away from habitual self-defeating behaviors such as hiding, pretending, retreating, reacting, or melting down–and it makes room for new choices. [My emphasis]

Solden and Frank, A Radical Guide for Women with ADHD, p.150

My Loves, I’ve been hiding. I started hiding at the start of the pandemic, and I didn’t think to stop hiding until I read that quotation last week. I’ve been hiding for almost four years. I simply believed this was how I preferred life now. Now, I see that’s not accurate.

Even though I used the pandemic to nurture my long-neglected introverted side, I went all in and forgot that I’m an omnivert who needs balance. You can only ask your inner extrovert to stand aside for so long before it bursts into the room with confetti and a disco ball.

More than once throughout the pandemic, I’d told my therapist, “I don’t want to be seen.” I meant it about my body, my face, my changing relationship with self-disclosure and social media. I meant it.

Now, though, I feel ready to be seen. My extrovert is kicking at the door like, “We have shit to do! Let’s fuckin’ goooooo!”

If you’re a woman or enby with ADHD, I hope you read this book. I hope you give it the time it needs to cocoon you and transform you. I hope you don’t hide from yourself or retreat from doing the hard work like I did for a few years. I hope it brings you closer to who you are.

The Last Penguin

It took us 240 days to find this penguin. If I haven’t told that story here, I will eventually.

Joy: Finding the last penguin

Your Donations Bring Joy!

Y’all donated $85 to my sister’s GoFundMe over the week. Thank you! Please keep it going!

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