By Alysha Radia
’Disorganised’. ‘Forgetful’. ‘Airhead’ ‘Not with it’. ‘Space cadet’.
Whatever it is that you want to call it, these are words that have followed me and my reputation around like die hard groupies on tour, for as long as I can remember. Ever since I first became responsible for my own belongings aged 3 going to kindergarten, in my tiny shoes and tiny pinafore, with my little book bag emblazoned with the ‘Northwood College’ crest on it and a bunch of felt tip scrawls and stickers all over it, I have found it difficult to be ‘with it’ when it comes to the rounding up and herding of myself and of my belongings.
One incident comes to mind where I accidentally wore my slippers instead of my school shoes to school aged about 6, only realising when I got out of the car. I don’t think a single week went by where I didn’t miss a homework deadline, purely because I completely forgot that it existed at all, or where I didn’t have the relevant textbook in class because I left it at home or brought along the wrong one. Instances come to mind where I would intently finger through a Latin textbook (Caecilius est in horto anyone?) in a maths class, whilst looking over my friend’s class at the right textbook, just so the teacher wouldn’t notice I had forgotten my book, yet again. I was five minutes late almost every day, and I must have lost or broken at least twenty or so mobile phones over the past 13 years as a phone using individual. The only word that comes to mind when thinking about all the contingency plans, emergency exits, ‘that sinking feeling’, cover ups, “Hi mum, I’m really sorry but…”s is ‘tired’. Tired of being ‘that girl’, of being the mess, of being the lost property office’s most loyal customer.
Diaries don’t seem to work, because I lose them or forget to write things into them. I’ve tried phone alarms, but again, how can they remind you if you forget to set the alarm in the first place?
In a way, it was great when my struggles were finally validated a few years ago by officially being diagnosed with ADD as an adult (it is woefully under diagnosed in adults, especially in women where it presents differently to how it does in men, but that is a rabbit hole I will go down for another SCAB). I remember coming out of the consultation with the shrink, convinced that I had played down my struggles and therefore the diagnosis would be skewed and they’d basically confirm that I was just a plain old idiot. When the psychiatrist looked up from his papers, pushed his specs down his nose and basically told me that I had ‘moderate to severe ADD’, I felt such a strange sense of relaxation and of sheer relief that there was some kind of rhyme or reason behind why I was the way I was. Not to mention a slight excitement at getting a medically validated prescription for what are essentially Methamphetamines.
What I’ve found hardest about it, and that has at times truly gotten me down, is that the overall impression I can give off is one of incompetence – people find it hard to believe that I can take responsibility for things (which I can, and have proven myself at), or that whilst I am stupid at some very basic things, I can (now and then), shine at others. Many people don’t understand that having owned the same phone for 3 years, does not necessarily equate to having any meaningful form of ability or competence. And that the opposite is also true.
Saying this, I’ve come a hell of a long way over the past couple of years – SCA really forces you to come up with coping mechanisms for all of your faults – and nobody is faultless. I’m super proud of some of my organisational achievements of this term so far – I’ve had the same notebook that I bought at the beginning of school, the same pencil case (we’ll not mention the pens). I’ve only had to dance once and that was on the first day. I haven’t lost a single electrical good or item of clothing in the studio and thus far I haven’t missed a brief deadline or pulled a single all nighter trying to get work done. So the fact that this is probably my 15th or so SCAB of the term due to repeated punishment after punishment for missed SCABs can be seen as an organisational sacrifice, a sort of balancing of the universe – because I guess something’s got to give.