Mouth from the South

After doing the personality test the other day, and thinking about my son’s diagnosis it really got me thinking about my own childhood. When I was in primary school I was considered very outgoing: I was overly energetic and talkative. Every one of my primary school reports would have variations of “Karlee would be an excellent student if she could just stop talking so much in class”. Actually my nickname in grades 5 & 6 was “Mouth from the South” perhaps cruel, but I never really paid it much mind back then.

Not only did I talk a lot (and I mean a LOT) I was also very loud. My voice naturally carries, and I’d never realise I’d be talking loudly. I’d get particularly louder the more excited I got. And it was very easy for me to be over enthusiastic (as one teacher kindly put it). I was a high energy child, always onto the next thing, never staying interested in anything for too long. I’d get bored if I wasn’t properly challenged and that’s when I started talking incessantly.

I used to assume that I was naturally an extravert, and that it was due to circumstance (bullying in high school & mental illness) I became an introvert. However, even as a youngster I didn’t initiate friendships, I didn’t like inviting people over to play, didn’t like birthday parties where the focus was on me. Thinking back on it now it seems that my introversion was actually the natural tendency for me. It was only my high energy and loud voice that gave a false impression that I was extraverted.

The more I look at my childhood self, the more I see the parallels between my son and myself. And I’m not the first to do that as other family members have also noted he is so much like me in personality. Always wired, always talking, always busy. Often getting into trouble for distracting other people, not doing it maliciously but because of losing focus and getting bored far too easily.

I control myself a lot better now, but I’m still too easily distracted. I still lose interest in things way too quickly. I still unconsciously talk inappropriately too loudly at times. My eyes glaze over when someones talking and I get bored, and I’ve been known to walk away mid conversation (I know it’s so rude). I still can’t sit still – I bounce my heels rapidly up and down whenever I’m sitting. I don’t realise I’m doing it, and it can get on peoples nerves. I also shift positions in my chair during work meetings more times than socially acceptable. I still interrupt others and sometimes get impatient when people are slow. I forget things that my mind doesn’t classify as important (like when mum asks me to bring over spare clothes for the children you can bet your bottom dollar I have forgotten). I routinely forget appointments or plans I’ve made with others even though I have them in a calendar. I can literally walk over a pile of clothing for days without registering that it needs doing. I’m not lazy, I just don’t “see” the pile because it’s not important in my busy mind.

My ex used to call me Dory (from Finding Nemo) because I’d be talking away and in mid sentence … oooh shiny!!!!

Uh where was I? Oh yes, I get distracted and forget to finish what I was talking about. Sometimes I even forget I had been talking in the first place. I’m a pretty forgetful person, often misplacing (not losing, misplacing!) things. And yet, for whatever reason, I have a massive databank in my head of song lyrics from probably hundreds of different songs across different decades and genres. It’s fascinating just how many songs I know all of the words to from start to finish. But I can’t even remember what day it is half the time.

A Life in Perpetual Limbo

At the moment I feel as though my life is in limbo. I’m existing, but I’m not really living. I’m biding my time waiting. What exactly am I putting my life on hold waiting for?

Well there is a rather huge event coming up that has me excited about, impatient for, anxious over, frightened of, and a whole bunch of other positive and negative emotions rolled into a general feeling of unease.

My children and I will soon be moving into our very own home.

After a decade of renting, I will finally have my very own place. It’s currently still being built, almost but not quite finished. I don’t have a completion date yet, but it’s so close I can almost smell it. Mentally, I’ve already moved out of my existing place of residence. But I can’t motivate myself to start packing things up when there is no fixed date for settlement. And so I’m stuck in this limbo between a rental property I’ve come to hate (echoes of him have permanently tainted this once happy place) and the fear of embarking on the unknown at my new home. As a result, I’ve become somewhat lazy about keeping this place spick-and-span and of course that just depresses me.

The second thing keeping me in this limbo is my sons ADHD & ASD diagnosis. Now that we have a diagnosis, I have to wait until the next appointment (later this month) to start looking at treatment. It’s stressing me out no end, but at least thanks to the dosage increase to my meds I’m getting sleep at night. I know it’s a long road ahead, but I just want to actually step onto the path, not stand watching it from a distance.

Of course these are just a couple of things grounded in reality that keep me in limbo. Without them I still have the mental shackles that stop me from living my life. One of those is my indecision about my future. I’m 35 and I still haven’t decided “what I want to be when I grow up”. Well actually I have some idea, but I feel like I’m too old to be embarking on that path. Ok, so maybe I’m not too old as such. However financially I have to worry about my children, so I have to be careful of starting over so to speak.

And then there is just the whole notion in my head that I’m simply waiting for something. For what I am waiting, I have no idea. But I live half my life waiting, vaguely convinced that I’ll know it (what I’m waiting for) when I see it. I’ve always lived my life that way, and obviously “it” is never going to come. I have to decide for myself what “it” is and make it happen. But the most difficult part is deciding what “it” is.

I’m restless. I have all this unchannelled energy coursing through me. I’m wandering aimlessly. I have no idea what I want it is I really want to do. I’m like a bored child who wants to scream and kick up the leaves. And I’m paralysed by the fact that I don’t know what I want. I’m frightened because I have no passion, no desire, nothing to drive me, I don’t feel like I have any purpose. I’m terrified of making a decision, and so waste time and my life doing nothing.

I’ve been fearful my entire life, not taking any risks for fear of losing. And so I’ve led a life that I classify as boring and unfulfilling. You’d think I’d get sick of that, grow a pair, and get out there. But no. I wait. Time ticks on. I wait. I still don’t take any risks. I still don’t really live. I’m afraid to really live.

I tell myself that if I don’t risk a little in the game of life, then I’ll get to the end of it full of regret. But I can’t quite make myself believe that it’s better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all. I can’t quite convince myself that a life without any risks is no life at all.

I still wait. For what? For a life filled with “what if’s”. That’s what.