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“All Apologies”

Sorry, sorry, sorry. I can’t help it, but sometimes, it’s not the ADHD.

The sister asked me, in a very sympathetic voice, yesterday why I needed relationships to be so clear-cut. She’s sick of hearing about the man crises, about the swimming addict who hasn’t made a single move in almost a year, about Mr. Big who, after wooing me with words, flowers, and a very expensive watch, ditched me. Bastard alert, indeed. Her advice: “Let things be. Don’t do anything.”

“Why do you need to know if a man is a “friend” or a “boyfriend“? “If a get-together with a guy is just that or a date?” She asked in that voice that one would use to talk to a child.

“No, it’s not the ADHD,” I replied, teeth clenched. I wanted to lash out. I feel like I am the only one with the right to blame or make fun of the ADD, a bit like a fat person making fun of themselves if they are fat. If they do it, it’s funny and OK. If I do it, I am mean.

I don’t want to be pitied or admonished like a 5-year-old. It is human to wonder why a man goes out with you for nearly a year, pays for everything, goes to movies with you, but makes no moves. I am convinced that I am just a normal, single 32-year-old woman who wonders and panics when Prince Charming will arrive-and if perhaps the romantic and creative part of me is preventing me from truly understanding what relationships are about.

Over the weekend, I survived the nearly five-mile swim under the Chesapeake Bay. It became very clear to me how different the swim buddy (very type-A) and I are from each other. He used to eat the food groups on his plate in order, whereas I am a grazing queen. He’s always on time, and I am always calling, texting, and ultimately apologizing about running late. His life is run with military strictness, whereas I tend to be more spontaneous. Ideas sprout up like weeds after a hard rain. Sorry, sorry, sorry, I kept saying, I can’t help it. After a while, apologies lose their meanings.

I’d read somewhere that adults with ADHD always need to eat and snack, and, without food, I feel my mood turning south. After the endless swim (I found myself in the water for nearly four hours), I was famished for a hamburger, pizza, a nice seafood meal. The swim buddy – all logic and practicality – says, “OK, if we see something on the road.”

I almost threw a temper tantrum as I repeatedly said, “I really need to eat.” We made numerous pit stops so I could pee and grab a soda or chocolate. After awhile, my mood lifted and I could see him exhale. He told me maybe I should get a routine physical exam, maybe I am hypoglycemic. Or maybe it’s something else, I wanted to hint. Why is it that I could admit to hypoglycemia (which I doubt I have) without shame, but ADHD would be another story?

I feel sorry for the men who have come to know me as I am. I can be moody, unpredictable, childish, but also full of color, wit, amusement, and ideas, and, in the end, kind-hearted. I also have a good sense of people much like some people can smell a storm from the distance.

For the rest of the ride, the type-A swim buddy drove in silence. Maybe it was the heat wave, the fact that we’d swum three hours straight, or maybe I’d driven him up a wall and he didn’t want to have anything to do with me anymore. I couldn’t help it. Sorry, I said.

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