I've always declared, with utmost pride, that I am right-brained. I'm emotional, mercurial, I feel things deeply. While this is something that I love about me, I have sometimes felt somewhat cursed by my thin skin. But I'm really good at imagining myself in situations, stepping back and empathizing with people. While I don't have a wide circle of friends, I do know the people close to me deeply and would give or do anything for them.
I'm also spontaneous and creative. I don't like set schedules, I live by my heart. I have held office jobs and have wanted to poke my eyes out with pens. I do very well working in environments with flexible schedules that involve moving from place to place. I adored my work as a part-time English teacher in Chile, traveling from office to office, interacting with different small groups of people. I loved my students and I think they liked me too. I had a really great way of adapting different activities to different learning styles. And while I hated crowded public transportation, at the same time I adored the daily movement. My routines varied and I loved that freedom.
Because of my ability to come up with fresh perspectives and my flair for interesting writing styles, my professors have always sort of ignored my glaring grammatical errors and own renditions of English/Spanish grammar. However, there are some professors with whom I simply didn't mesh, especially in the English department at Cornell, where I felt snubbed about not knowing how to pronounce certain words or not having mastered different grammar nuances. However, in creative writing classes, I flourished. This is why I never imagined myself in academia.
I'm often late and I cannot bring myself to wear a watch. My nickname in my parent's house is "the hurricane." Everywhere I go I leave strewn objects in my path. I can't seem to remember to turn lights off when I leave a room. My only system of "organization" is piles.
But it does get worse. I suffer from extreme, paralyzing procrastination. No matter how much I know I need to start something, I simply cannot. I wait and wait and wait until the deadline looms and until I have no choice but to panic and then get into "the zone." Usually, I then work, completely focused for extended periods of time without interruption or even caffeine. When I finish, and usually have to bolt like a crazy person to make it to turn in my work, I usually emerge sleep-deprived by triumphant, totally wired and on a natural high.
I also have the very bad habit of starting projects, usually for pleasure, and then totally giving them up half finished. I have a box full of half-knitted objects that I can't seem to give up. I also held on to a half-finished quilt for years that I began in 2003, until my mom finally secretly gave it away to someone who actually knew how to make a quilt (I really had no idea how to sew). I bought tons of books and materials to do crewel work and never even started the first step. I sometimes buy organizational supplies and vow to organize my desk, which usually means taking disorganized piles and separating them into "organized piles" and then usually jump ship and abandon them half-sorted.
You might say, "But I've come to your house and it's impeccable. I don't believe you."
But I've actually mastered the art of the 1 hour power clean, which involves stuffing objects into drawers and deep-cleaning my dwelling like Mrs. Clean on crack. You might marvel at my attention to detail and things like napkins and candles but these are all things that I manage to produce at the last minute, usually after 3 trips to the store because I've forgotten things. (That's where my husband usually comes in handy.)
Well, now that I'm becoming a "real adult" with actually people who must cohabitate with me and suffer my wake, I'm realizing that what I always thought was simply my artistic temperament might actually be a problem. This spring I am facing my Masters comprehensive exams in which I have to prepare a list of over 150 works that span time periods between Latin America and Spain and be prepared to answer 6 essay questions in 6 hours.
Holy shit. Is all I have to say. Some of my peers have been preparing for this exam since last summer. I tried, with all my might, to join them, but I kept showing up to meeting after meeting frazzled and unprepared. After completely blowing off my own responsibilities for the group they kindly suggested that I start my own group with other students who haven't been working with them.
I guess I can't blame them. I don't know how to do things in advance, I don't know how to be organized, I don't know how to look at a list of over 150 works in prose, poetry, novels and short stories and even know how to start organizing their information, let alone comprehensively read them all.
After sobbing to my psychiatrist about how I feel like I just can't accomplish what I know I'm capable of, and explaining how my desk is just covered in crap and I can't bring myself to even begin, she suggested that I get evaluated for Attention Deficit Disorder.
Right-brained or ADD? I have the test on Monday. We'll see what they say.
Do you know who I am?
2 days ago