ADD and Daydreaming

23 Jan

I used to day dream a lot. It was escape from the teasing, the hardships that life gave me. I’d make up stories. I remember I was daydreaming in class because the problem they were teaching was boring. I could see the rafters. I was thinking up a story with Barbie who was blonde, skinny and big-chested. Her head would pop off and I’d have to hunt for my dad to put her back together. It was the usual fare. She was a princess. I was deciding who was going to be the prince.

It was a way to escape from my surroundings because from the time I started school I was in constant fear of being teased. From the time I got on the bus to the time I stepped off. The teasing I received stripped me of my adoptive culture, my birth culture and of myself. That’s in part how I learned that words have a lot of power.

I would sometimes mutter to myself sorting out the stories going through my head. I day dreamed a lot because my surroundings were less desirable. I wanted to be rescued like Cinderella from her poor life. I saw nothing wrong with this. I would do it in the middle of someone else’s conversation because I didn’t want to listen.

When my parents yelled for me to come and get dinner. I tuned them out. I had learned from the age of five that all yelling was a bad thing. Yelling from my mom because we went out into the street, yelling at school because the kids were picking on me. So I learned that all yelling was bad, so I tuned it out. As the teasing got worse and there was no one to even listen to me and as I internalized those feelings, me not listening to yelling got worse. I wouldn’t even respond when dinner was being called.

My parents, therefore, ignoring all my previous hurt of teasing, decided to take me in for hearing testing. They figured that my problem was that I couldn’t hear right. I told them up front that I passed the school hearing test. They ignored me. After they got the results, my mom said in an exacerbated voice as her volume rose up, “Is it that you’re just ignoring us? Why won’t you tell us what’s wrong?”

But the thing was, I had told them what was wrong since I was in kindergarten and they’d brushed me off every single time until I was afraid to tell them. They told me it wasn’t about race. They told me I was wrong and they just proved through the hearing test that they were not open to listening to me talk about myself, even on a small thing like that. I was a kid. I was wrong about my own state of being.

So ignoring me again and my own thoughts on the matter, my parents thought I had ADD. They brought me to a psychiatrist. I constantly asked why they were doing this. I thought they were trying to find something wrong with me, but unlike every other time I asked why they didn’t explain why until some years later. They insist that they did. Perhaps I heard it but didn’t understand. I was indignant and I was determined I was going to beat the psychiatrist over the head with how smart I was. I remember the guy as nervous. He wasn’t calm. He constantly twitched and his voice was never even. I remember his glasses and the sweat on his brow.

He sat me down. I thought it was going to be like school work. My parents weren’t there. I looked for them. He gave me blocks to stack and arrange. He gave me a puzzle of a horse that I stubbornly refused to believe was a horse. My imagination was playing itself again. But I was going to beat that timer. I was always like that. I would try to read his impassive and always nervous face. I decided I didn’t like him. That’s why I was going to defeat him.

He asked no questions. Sometimes he would give a little vocal guidance. I was secretly upset when he helped out. I wasn’t day dreaming because I could see the challenge set in front of me.

We remet with my parents in, I think, his office. I could see his degree. I was a strange child. I always looked for degrees and the things around the office. I still spend time reading instructions, product labels and cereal boxes.
“She just needs more attention in the classroom. I think smaller classroom size would be helpful.” He only helped to confirm their suspicions. It wasn’t because I was being teased, it was because I had a learning disability which could only be cured by smaller class sizes. He helped their denial.

I didn’t know what going on. I already was trying to figure out the context.
“Yes, we’re trying to transfer her.”

They mentioned a school and people they knew from there. This was baffling to me. It occurred to me that most of the people’s names were Jewish or that I knew them.
My parents had never asked me why I daydreamed. I can confidently answer them that it was the only way to keep my sanity when I was in constant fear of being teased. I would day dream in the middle of their teasing. Through their chants of “teacher’s pet” “cooties” “You are gay with your best friend” or pairing me with another classmate they didn’t think acceptable. They never associated the two together. I wouldn’t expect them to.

I had a freak determination to never return to that position again. I concentrated more out of pride rather than because I had a smaller classroom size. However the change of schools helped in other ways. I wasn’t teased as much. People didn’t chant about Asians. People didn’t pair me up with strange people or call me gay. I wonder if my parents still think that change of schools cured my day dreaming, or if it ever occurred to them how horrid the teasing was.

I still write stories. And occasionally if someone talks for too long I begin to think of them, but I’ve learned a new skill since the last time I sat in that psychiatrist’s chair. The skill of half listening.

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Posted in Parents, Racism, Teasing


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