October 2017
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I want too many different things to make anything successful / ADD-PI = hyperfocus or distraction


My biggest problem finding 'success' in anything is that I want to do everything. I don't think I fail due to mediocrity. I do everything to my best ability and I always strive to improve. If I only cared about one thing, I would invest all of my time and effort and resources and make it happen. But picking one is not only boring to me, it feels like a betrayal of all the other parts of me. I used to be more able to do that, when I had fewer passions and skills. I never had a taproot and my roots just get more fibrous with time.

This started when I was a kid and I wanted to be a fiction writer, a painter, a choreographer, and a singer (and until I was 12 I wanted to be president). Now I want to write, share my communication skills, educate people on social justice, counsel people, make jewelry, do oracle card readings, do spiritual healing, photograph nature and portraits, organize, facilitate intimacy practices, help people be creative, help people learn to love their bodies, make magical items, make fractals, model, create a consent culture, etc. All of these things are very important to me, so I have invested time and energy in all of them, and I am very skilled at almost all of them. Ideally I would do them all for free and magically be able to live without having to ask for payment. I started a patreon but I feel like it is waaaaayyy too all over the place and I feel pretty overwhelmed at how badly organized it is and I also feel like -- am I really contributing enough to the world to deserve funding? and then I think, but I am only asking to live, surely I give enough to deserve that.

I just want to be able to live while I do these things. I don't need much, but I haven't been able to turn any of these things into something that will allow me to live. The world certainly doesn't reward effort for its own sake. Instead I have to waste my life doing things that are intrinsically worthless (though I can add meaning to them), which not only takes the time that I spend at a job, but also recovery time after, during which I cannot create and give. And I know having had the time to even realize this or do any of those things to the extent which I have is a rare gift and I am grateful. I wouldn't wish away any of my passions. I just wish I could 'make it.' Every time I try and fail I feel like I'm being told that nobody wants what I have to give and I should stop pretending it's important. I usually just avoid thinking about the many failures in my past, and remind myself that I know there are people who feel nourished by my art, my words, what I give. And I have a safety net, which is rare and a huge privilege.

I think the multiplicity of passion is partly a function of my ADD-PI, the part of it that I like, where my brain craves variety and wants to delve into everything with total abandon. For periods of time I can turn on the most determined patient focus you ever saw, and that is how I develop skill in the things I care about. I will be almost crying with frustration sometimes and yet I won't quit, because I just have to find the right way. Today I spent hours trying to figure out how to make new variations work in Apophysis 7x, not because I really needed them or because it would do me a lot of good but because I had started it and I wanted/needed to finish it.

On the other hand, I also spent almost two hours yesterday rating my interest in genres/films on netflix, which I really didn't want to do after the first hour but I just couldn't stop. People tell me to break tasks into small chunks but this just makes me laugh. Maybe that works for people with different brains. But me? If I want it to be done well, it has to be done in a period of hyperfocus, which I cannot get out of, not even when someone is getting angry at me for not stopping (and usually anger at me is a HUGE trigger that overwhelms everything else). I don't have a choice for 'normal focus' -- I get hyperfocus or distracted-diluted-brain, and I pretty much refuse to do anything important with that second kind because I would be incredibly upset to put the worst part of me into something important. And it takes a whole lot of energy stored up to begin hyperfocus, it can never last more than 18 hours, and then the thing I focused on is 'worn-out' in my brain and I have no idea how long it will take for me to have the energy to hyperfocus on it again.

The worst fuckin part is that my meaningless retail jobs require hyperfocus because distracted-diluted won't cut it. So then all I have left for myself is distracted-diluted-brain and I can do nothing important for at least 16 hours after work. Usually for a grand total of less than $40 a day.

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Comments
raidingparty ══╣╠══
I totally identify with wanting to do ALL THE THINGS. Option overload, dissatisfaction with the idea of cutting out things we're good at, etc.
fayriekisses ══╣╠══
I love how well you articulate. I often want to comment on your entries, but I don't know what more I can say that you haven't already stated way more beautifully than I ever could.

I'm envious of your writing abilities.</p>

Just wanted to let you know I enjoy reading your journal a great deal.

nocternacis ══╣╠══
I really wish i could make a living out of doing things that i love to do! That would be awesome! :)
blimeyzawn1 ══╣╠══
I completely get how you feel. Having many interests is both a blessing and a curse, and inevitably leads to guilt, no matter what you're doing.

I'll offer this reassurance, though: You don't necessarily have to do anything for a living to get "credit" for doing it. in fact, in my experience, as soon as you start getting paid to do something you love, the magic tends to go away. Most people would consider my job a dream job, and I want to claw my own eyes out about half the time.

I think you're already doing all of the things you've itemized, and doing them in a meaningful way.
queerbychoice ══╣╠══
Yes, about the magic tending to go away when there's money involved . . . Because when there's money involved, there are deadlines involved, and customers who need to be kept happy, and inevitably this makes everything a whole lot less fun.
belenen ══╣╠══
It would be less fun than by my own will alone, i am sure, but it would not actively damage me in the way worthless work does.
queerbychoice ══╣╠══
Hmm . . . I wouldn't be so sure. I think it really depends on how bad the deadlines and the complaining customers are. Those things can get pretty seriously damaging, and any kind of work can start feeling worthless if you don't have enough time to feel like you're really doing it properly.
belenen ══╣artless╠══
well, hopefully I'll have the chance to find out someday. If nothing else it would make me appreciate the worthless work more.
belenen ══╣╠══
I am already doing these things, but it is laegely due to having quit my job and not having found a new one yet. I'm down to the wire now but i am dreading starting even though it will relieve the stress of wondering if i can pay my bills next month, because it will mean that i will be able to do maybe 3-4 occasions of that stuff per month, whereas right now it's more like 35-45.
wildrose ══╣╠══
elven_ranger ══╣╠══
Yes, being able to make enough pennies with the time left to follow your dreams is wonderful. and go for it, dont let people keep you down.
classical_wolf ══╣Boy-Girl-Person╠══
...where my brain craves variety and wants to delve into everything with total abandon. - I completely hear you here!

I wanted to be a professional musician, but I didn't have the talent, and even with the talent, it's very hard to make a living wage.
teenagewitch ══╣╠══
I agree with you that you should get to live off your true talents rather than meaningless jobs. It sounds like you have so much to give the world if they would just give you a little.
kehlen_crow ══╣╠══
I understand the "hyperfocus" part very well, even though I am lucky and can do ~something while in "distracted-diluted brain" mode.

I also both love and hate storing up energy to get to the hyperfocus level, and it usually takes me postponing important things ~past the deadline to do so, because while in that mode everything is so very easy and I get A LOT done.

How do ~you get into that state of mind?
adoptedwriter ══╣╠══
I can sooo relate to this! AW
roina_arwen ══╣Daenerys - Girl on Fire╠══
You are definitely a wonderfully talented woman, and I hope you can find a way to get by on your skill set!
eternal_ot ══╣╠══
I was nodding my head to most of this...and could relate to what you have written quite well..But it's also commendable to be donning so many hats at a time..so Kudos to that..:)
Enjoyed reading this mainly because it fits part of my life too..well written indeed..Good Job!
ryl ══╣Show Your Education╠══
I understand this entirely too well. I don't get the hyperfocus, but I do get the MUST.DO.EVERYTHING and end up with waaaayyyy to many projects on my plate. And then I sit there and dither because I can't get it all done.
witches ══╣╠══
i'm such a DO ALL THE THINGS person myself too!
kajel ══╣╠══
My husband has the ability to hyper focus, me not so much.
halfshellvenus ══╣╠══
I completely understand the draw of All The THings in too many different directions. It's better now, but when I was a kid I wondered if I would ever be able to settle on a profession out of too many interesting and distracting potential things.

I wish you luck in this, especially in the aspect of feeling as if all of your meaningful time and energy is spent on necessary earning activities which interest and fulfill you least of all.
fyrebard ══╣╠══
Thisssss: "Instead I have to waste my life doing things that are intrinsically worthless"

I hate working for the sake of working, just to get money to pay bills. I am so hoping my little business picks up and explodes. I want to grow the company, making it a worthwhile place to work (while sneaking magic and magical things under the radars of most people so as to make them profitable to the every man - even the "ew, but magic is evil" ones), and then I have plans to invest all the extra profits (after taking care of my employees with crazy-mad bonuses) into local artisans and people-who-need. I want to get to the point where a single penny from every candle sold is enough for me to live off of and then turn around and "spread the wealth" I guess. But there are so many people who only need $10k or something to get over a hump, get everything caught up, and be able to, you know, LIVE again with out fear of money. Like those 6 or 7 steps away they are from diving off the financial cliff into homeless and just... toss out lifelines. But the every day of needing to survive on this paycheck to paycheck society we live in keeps getting in my way, and it feels wounding to have to spend so much fucking time trying to keep up with bills when all I really, really desire is making things better.
ravensong ══╣╠══
I have many different passions, too. I want to write, be a photographer, work with animals, do tarot and/or Rune readings, etc. I'm trying to turn those into things that make it so I can live, but it's not always possible. :/
basil_00 ══╣╠══

i've spent that two hours on netflix ratings, haha. i have a reasonably large problem with hyperfocus myself, when medicated. and otherwise i just feel pointless and aimless.

basil_00 ══╣╠══
oh and uh
and the first thing I wanted to say while reading this is that the first paragraph resonates with me completely, up until the last sentence. The problem there is that i don't know what a "taproot" is.

and when I was little, I wanted to be a carpenter, a comedian, and/or a rock star. I say and/or because I've never felt okay choosing one. And I don't mean one of these. I mean one thing as in not doing more things.

I found out a few years later that really I wanted to be an engineer, because the thrill of designing a building was really the fun; I just figured a carpenter designed what he built. I wouldn't mind actually doing the building, but to create, is the name of the game.

And the idea of a building (or anything that needs to be thought up beforehand) is more persistent a creation than the thing itself.
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.