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  • Writer's pictureMeredith Knauer

"I Know I Can Be a Lot"

By: Meredith Knauer

You may have noticed the huge gap in time between this blog post and the last one. There are a lot of reasons for this. Sure, part of it is the inconsistency of ADHD (which I funnily enough have a draft about), but most of the reason why I haven't posted is I've been having a hard time deciding how much of myself I want to put on my website. This is the front page of me as a professional on the internet. What do I want my clients to know about me before we meet? Once you open up a conversation with me, I'm pretty much an open book, and I've prided myself on that for a long time. At the same time, the world isn't as understanding of that. I make political posts on Facebook, and when my mom reached out to me asking if I thought I was alienating potential clients with my posts. I responded that that is specifically why I'm picky about my Facebook friends.

Now, I know that this is not the place to spout my political opinions, and there are definitely stories that I'd have to put a lot of thought into before posting them on the internet for everyone to see. For now, though, here's what I think people need to know: I'm diagnosed inattentive ADHD, and after a few years of my own speculation, my therapist finally suggested that maybe I am Autistic as well, and boy howdy did that open a lot of doors of understanding. I haven't gone for a diagnosis there, and the fear of being told I'm not Autistic because I'm a woman or I can make eye-contact when I'm not overwhelmed has been a huge part of that. However, that doesn't mean I can't learn more about neurodivergence, my brain, my needs, and start unmasking. From what I've seen of the Autistic and neurodivergent communities in general, we're pretty accepting of everyone who feels like the label fits. Even if you experience sub-clinical symptoms, you are welcome. You get it.

I remember feeling different from a young age, as young as 3rd grade. I couldn't put my finger on it, though. Sometimes I would be loud and weird. I was made fun of in middle school, and as far as I can tell, my main crimes were fabricating a crush in order to fit in with the other students and wearing my skirt too high. I was so gullible that I fell for "gullible is written on the ceiling." Multiple times. My friends would wave their hands in my face when I would zone out in the lunch room. I liked weird things like fairies and after seeing a classmate being made fun of for playing Yu-gi-oh! at recess, I wasn't about to share that interest with everyone.

I was masking from such a young age, and as an adult when I wonder if maybe I'm making it all up, I have to remind myself that in 2nd grade I felt disgusted by the neon green backpacks other students had and would literally have to turn around and not look at them to feel okay. I gagged when I accidentally touched mashed potatoes in the cafeteria. I had a habit of sucking on my necklaces that I'm sure other kids thought was strange, but I didn't take notice of them because I was in my own world. I picked my nose. I sucked on my hair. I sang walking between classes. I would pick my cuticles while bored in church. I accidentally swallowed a magnet in 5th grade because I just... couldn't not put it in my mouth for some reason? Looking back, it's so clear that I had sensory issues.

Parts of myself that I loved could be off-putting to people. I would get very excited when I was happy. I would yell without realizing it. I talked too much about the things I enjoyed, and it took me way too long to realize that no one was interested. Eventually, I found myself saying "I know I can be a lot," when apologizing or introducing myself to new friends. I felt like I had to brace people for my too-muchness.

Eventually, in Junior year of high school, I found friends (who, go figure, were also neurodivergent) who I vibed with. They loved my energy, and we shared a lot of the same interests. We introduced one another to our favorite things and bonded over our nerdiness. I realized the other day that I haven't made a single good friend on my own. I had surface friends, sure... Quite a lot of them. As my mom has always said, no one disliked me... But until I met my partner on Bumble, the only people who I became good friends with found me. They all approached me. They all persisted and talked to me. They invited me out (much to my surprise). I couldn't believe that they actually liked me and wanted to include me. And funnily enough, one is incredibly ADHD and the other suspects that she may be AuDHD as well.

All of this to say, if you think you're "too much," know that there are people out there who will absorb your energy and run with it. There are people out there who are down to work with your needs. There are people who will understand when you start jumping up and down because you've found a new item for your collection or need a quiet day at home with low stimulation. And now that we have the internet, it's easier than ever to find people with the same interests as you.

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