Monday, April 21, 2014

Boston Strong

Today is a holiday in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we we don't have school or work! YAY us!

The holiday is Patriot's Day, which essentially remembers and commemorates some of the beginning battles of the Revolutionary War.
Statue of the Lexington Minuteman
on Lexington Green, Lexington, Mass.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
It's also the day of the Boston Marathon. Last year the celebratory spirit of the event was marred by a terror attack, in which 3 people here killed at the bombings near the finish line, and 1 police officer with the M.I.T. campus police was killed a few days later during gunfire as they were pursuing the suspected perpetrators.

My aunt always qualifies for and runs the Marathon, and she will be participating again this year. She runs as part of a fundraising event for breast cancer survivors, having survived breast cancer herself.

Brad and I will be with my family along the route again this year to cheer her on. We've also invited Sam and Rick to join us.

After the bombings last year, the city really came together in so many different ways to support the families of those killed, as well as the over 260 survivors who lost limbs and suffered other physical wounds. The theme that seemed to emerge was "Boston Strong," as everyone was determined to come out of this horror even stronger than before.

I'm really proud of my aunt. She is one of my heroes, and I feel she deserves an even higher honor than "hero" -- maybe sainthood. You see, we were sure the terror attack would discourage her from running this year. Know what she said? "Of course I'm running next year. I have to run for the people who can't run because they were killed or wounded." That's my Aunt Nora in a nutshell. Aunt Nora Strong.

So we'll be waiting for Aunt Nora to run past us today. And every single one of us will probably be in tears as we yell our support to her when she runs by.

Boston Strong.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sundays with Sam: Love prevails

Hi every one! This is the post I promised you from last Sunday. I guess you can tell by my sign that his Coming Out talk with his parents went really good! YAY!

He was pretty sure it would go well, but he had some worries about how his dad might take it. Not that he thought his dad would have a negative reaction, but his dad is not known for talking very much about his feelings. Rick was worried his dad might not say much of anything, or that his dad would have a hard time saying what he was feeling. So all this was making Rick feel nervous.

He said his mom's mouth dropped open just a little bit because Rick said she thought he was going to say he wasn't interested in going to college or maybe that he was going to say he planned to move across the country some where.

When he said he wanted them to know he is gay, him mom just said, "Well. That's the last thing I expected you to say, sweetheart. I thought it was going to be some bad news or some thing. Just give me a minute to take this in."

Rick said his dad looked really uncomfortable and was fidgeting in his chair and didn't really say any thing. So Rick said, "Dad?" Then his dad said, "Are you sure about this, son?" Rick said he smiled at his dad and said, "Well, dad. Do you want me to tell you how I know for sure?" His dad was a little bit caught off guard, but he smiled and said, "Well, no, son. I don't think you need to spell it out. Uh. I just want you to be sure, I guess. I mean, I just want you to be happy. Well, I don't know exactly what I'm trying to say."

So Rick said, "We can talk some more later about this if you guys want to, but I just need to know that you still love me. I mean, I'm the same person you have always known. You just know some thing new about me. I just need to know you don't see me in a negative light, you know?"

His mom came to the rescue and told  him, "Sweetie, there are a lot of things you could do that might make me see you in a negative light. If I ever found out you had bullied some one, I would be very angry and would wonder who you really are. That would make me see you in a negative light and you can bet we would have one of the most serious talks ever. If I found out you had broken into some one's home and stolen what was not yours, I would see you in a negative light and be very angry. But I would never stop loving you. What you told us today is not even in that kind of category. What you told us today just is what it is. What you told us today is that when you fall in love, it will be with a boy instead of a girl. I will always love you, and I will always love whoever you love. Period."

Rick decided not to lay too much on his parents in this one setting, so he didn't tell them he had a boyfriend. But that is coming. Soon.

Rick said he then looked at his dad. He said his dad was slightly nodding that he agreed with what his mom said. And then he noticed that his dad tried to wipe away what Rick thought was a tear. Rick asked  him, "Dad? Are you okay?" His dad then said, "I love you."

Rick said, "Well. Do you guys want to talk some more about this, or maybe we can talk some more later?" They talked a little more and then Rick said he was going to spend the night at a friend's house. So then Rick called Brad and Matty and told them he was on the way over. The plan was for them to leave the house for a while so Rick and I could have some time together and go over what happened with his parents.

Rick came in the house and literally fell into my arms and I held him so tight while he cried like I had never seen him cry before. It kind of freaked me out for a second because he couldn't even talk and I didn't know if it had gone really bad or if it was just a release of a lot of tension because it had gone well. We went over to the sofa and I waited for him to tell me what ever he wanted to tell me.

I was crying, too, because, well, as you know, that is what I do. And then he looked at me and said, "I did this. I did this. They are totally okay with it. I did this. I can't believe it. I did this." And then he started crying again and I kept crying, and then I thought I needed to be there for him by saying some thing. So I made myself stop crying and made him look right at me and I told him, "You did it. I'm so proud of you. This is HUGE, and you did it. I love you so much." And then I guess you know what happened next? We both started crying again. It was like releasing every bit of tension both of us together had ever had in our lives.

I got Rick some water and then I put on some coffee and we both indulged ourselves in the very best chocolate cake Brad had already made us. This is Rick's favorite dessert, and believe me, Brad piled on the thickest and richest dark chocolate icing ever made any where.

After he told me all the details he looked like he was about to fall asleep because he was so exhausted, so I led him back to the guest room (also known as Sam's Room) and tucked him in and was about to leave and he grabbed my hand and pulled me in for a big fat sloppy kiss and told me how much he loved me. He could barely keep his eyes open so I told him I was going to call Brad and Matty so they could come home. I barely got that out as he turned on his side and his head hit the pillow and I pulled the covers up and kissed his head.

When the guys got home, I told them every thing went well and that Rick was taking a nap. Rick had already told me I could tell them the details and when Rick woke up, he told us some other details and I have never seen Brad and Matty as proud of any one as they were of Rick. Then Rick said some thing that made me, well, you know, cry. He said, "I got all my courage and strength from this one [meaning me]. You have been through a lot in your life and I have learned about courage and how to be strong from you."

Well, damn if you didn't know it, ALL FOUR of us started crying! Emoji Emoji Emoji Emoji

This post is getting a little long and I'm sitting here right now -- yep, you guessed it -- crying again! So I will just say my Papa Bear Matty (who is also my Teddy Bear Matty) changed his policy on sleeping arrangements (after a very stern talk earlier from Brad, LOL), and Rick and I got to snuggle together in my room for the night. With the door shut, thank you! LOL

What a day. What a night. What a BOYFRIEND. The lesson for me? Love prevails. That is all that matters right now.

Love prevails. Emoji

Thursday, April 17, 2014

An episode of overload

Have you ever found yourself suddenly and unexpectedly feeling a surge of emotion while watching a movie, reading a book, hearing a song, talking to a friend? All of a sudden feeling some intense emotion you weren't expecting -- something that seemingly came out of the blue, catching you completely off guard?

That happened to me on Tuesday night while I was watching the Ken Burn's film, The Address. I wrote a little blurb in the post under this one in case you missed it.

From the promo ad, and the information on the PBS web site, I thought it might be something interesting to watch, especially after seeing it dealt with kids who have ADHD and other challenges to being able to master academic expectations.

I've seen many documentaries directed by Ken Burns, and I've always enjoyed his skill in taking massive amounts of historical information (e.g., The American Civil War, Baseball, Jazz, Prohibition, etc.) and shaping that information into a really interesting story.

I was expecting The Address to be an interesting film where I might learn some new things. What I didn't expect was to be flooded with an overload of emotions that began about 30 seconds into the film and continued for the next 90 minutes. I didn't feel constantly overloaded with emotion, because it ebbed and flowed, but watching this film was an intense experience that totally caught me off guard.

I'm sitting here the day after the film still trying to sort through what happened to me. Brad watched the film with me, and I was online with my friend Mary who was also watching it. Mary and I would each type out very brief reactions periodically. 

Here are some random reactions I had:

It tore my heart to pieces when one of the teachers said it is common for these kids to feel stupid and inadequate. This brought back memories of feeling the exact same way when I had one challenge after another to overcome so I could learn whatever we were studying. The medication helped, but many times I felt like my whole body would explode any minute if I had to sit still for the entire class period.

I wanted to wrap my arms around each of the kids in the film and tell them, "You are not stupid or inadequate. You might feel that way, but there is nothing stupid or inadequate about you. Just take you time. I'm here. We can do this."

I wanted to hug the school therapist who said some parents tell him, "We just want our child to be normal." He said he tells these parents, "It's not his job to be normal. It's his job to be himself." When I was in school, I can't tell you how many times I told myself, "What's wrong with me? Why can't I be normal like everybody else. I'm no good. I'll never fit it. Why am I like this?"

I loved how the school didn't take a "one-size-fits-all" learning approach with these kids. As the kids were trying to memorize the very short Gettysburg Address, some needed to take each sentence and use scissors to cut up short fragments which they would fit together like a puzzle to be solved.

Others needed to study and understand the ideas Lincoln was trying to convey before they could memorize it. They couldn't just memorize sentences that made no coherent sense to them. So they had to discuss Lincoln's ideas first, or what he was after when he chose this word over another.

One boy could only memorize the Address while he was jumping up and down on one of those small exercise trampolines. I suspect he may have had ADHD, because I remember I had one teacher who would get me to go walking with him while we reviewed class material. I've always learned better when I'm physically moving as opposed to sitting still.

Other boys could only learn the Address when they worked on it in small groups. Others could only learn it when they worked one-on-on with a teacher.

I wanted to hug the entire school staff for how they handled kids who were misbehaving or being disruptive. Instead of "punishing" the kid, they asked them to leave the classroom to "Reset" so they could slow themselves down and come back when they were ready to rejoin the class. The other kids never made fun of the kid needing to "Reset," because I guess they all understood that need.

Misbehavior was never excused or overlooked. The teacher would just say, "John, I'm asking you to leave the classroom to reset and come back when you have." There was no shame or disappointment involved. The kids were never identified as "problem kids," just kids who needed some time to "reset." Love that.

I almost stood up and cheered the kids who memorized and recited the Address. One boy in Middle School reflected on his accomplishment by saying, "I feel like I accomplished a million things at once." Parents and teachers alike were applauding and tearing up at the recitation ceremony. I was so proud of these kids myself. I felt like a combined mom and dad to each one of them.

Some kids weren't ready to recite the Address from memory. They knew they had their entire school career to get ready and could recite it when they chose. They also had the option to memorize a small segment of another historical speech if they wanted. And they had the option of not memorizing anything at all. They were in control, and whatever choice they made would be respected. No shame involved.

So here's a huge Bravo! to Ken Burns for another fine documentary film. And here's a huge Thank You to Brad and Mary for being with me during the film. It was special to me that I got to see this film with them and share how I was relating and what I was feeling. 

If you haven't seen The Address, I would highly recommend it. I know PBS often rebroadcasts films like this, so check your local PBS schedule. You can also get a DVD of the film here: DVD: The Address.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Address

I'm doing a little free promotion for the new Ken Burns film that's being premiered tomorrow night (Tuesday, April 15 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time) on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS).

I've been seeing the promo ad for the past couple of weeks and when I heard " with ADHD, learning disabilities, and autism...", it caught my attention.

The film is a 90-minute feature length documentary by Ken Burns, telling the story of a small school in Vermont where children with various forms of learning difficulties, such as autism, ADHD, and dyslexia, are empowered to achieve academic success.

They are apparently focusing on how helping the kids memorize and recite Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address not only unlocks the meaning of Lincoln's words, but also helps the students discover their strengths in achieving this.

That last phrase is really key. I know from my own experience as a student with ADHD, my teachers were always challenged to discover my strengths and learning style so I could succeed academically. Sitting still for long periods of time was always a challenge. Focusing and concentrating was also a challenge when there were so many distractions competing for my attention.

So, I'll be watching this documentary on Tuesday night. If you're interested in more information, here are some links:

PBS site introducing "The Address"

Information about the Greenwood School.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sundays with Sam: Coming out

Hi every body! It's Sam-I-Am again. Hope every one is having a nice day.

I'm going to keep this post a little short today because I have been spending so much time with Rick (my BOYFRIEND). I am writing this post on Saturday morning and I am sending it over to Brad so he can get it ready for Sunday morning. If you remember from what I wrote last Sunday, I told you about how Rick is having a talk today (Saturday) in which he is going to come out to them.

This has been on my mind (and Rick's) all week long, so I didn't have time to sit down and write out a post where I could share all any wisdom this week! LOL! And since I am writing this on Saturday morning, I have no idea how Rick's talk with his parents will go later today, so I promise to tell you about it next Sunday.

I love the sign I am using today. I really hope there will be a day when coming out will not even be needed, or at least it will not be a big deal. Wouldn't that be cool? Yeah, let's keep our hope alive that some day all that will matter is getting to love the person you care about and be open about it and no body batting an eye, except to say, "Oh look at those two people holding hands. They must be in love."

Have a good week, and I'll see you next Sunday!

Love and hugs, Sam-I-Am-Proud-Of-My-BOYFRIEND

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Random thoughts that run through my head

My counseling continues to go really well and I thought I'd share this project my therapist has me doing now. 

He calls it "homework," but I apparently made a weird face when he used that word. He said I scrunched my face! I said it reminded me too much of school, so he said I could pick another word. I went with "project." He smiled at that.

So my project is to periodically jot down random thoughts I have during the day. He said most people have random thoughts but we sometimes discount them because we think they're not "mature," or "right," or "too random to have any meaning." 

I think I had this really cool insight the other day with one of my random thoughts and wanted to share it with you:

I'm afraid of my own inner strength. I get anxious thinking about how unfamiliar my life will be if I start acting on it...... but,

Being afraid of my inner strength means I'm afraid of Me. Do I want to remain safe in my "Pretend Self," or take the time to gradually get acquainted with my "Authentic Self"?

This doesn't mean I'm living a "pretend life." I don't think that's even close to the truth. What it means to me is that sometimes I'm afraid to claim my inner strength because I know it will then lead to changes (even if they're positive) and I'm afraid I might not even recognize myself or know how to use that strength.

But, I guess the key is to stay open and gradually get acquainted with my strength and not put all this pressure on myself to make myself grow faster than I'm ready.

Examples of my "Authentic Self" include:

-- Wearing whatever makeup I want, and as much as I want, whenever I want, and where ever I want. With my head held high.

-- Deciding whether, when, where, and what I need, when my dad wants to talk about our relationship. I'm an adult who is capable of speaking my truth and staying true to myself.

Well, those are just two I came up with off the top of my head. There are many other examples, but like I said above, I need to take the time to gradually get acquainted with them.

Maybe I should tell my counselor I want to go back to calling this a "homework" assignment. I'm going to ask him if he thinks I get a .

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thank you, Timmy

Made by Timmy,
"Inspired by a post I read
by Brad to Matt"

Sometimes life is hard, you learn to always be on guard.

Just waking up can be a chore, knowing you must make it out that door.

You go through things no person should, as it you wouldn't change it if you could.

You are constantly beaten down, by yourself, by life, and all those around.

And when it gets to be too much, and you crave just that one person's touch.

You go home to find that person on your mind.

The one who will make it all right, just because he is with you in life.

You know you are lucky to have him, because with him your life is not grim.

He gives you hope, and he helps you cope.

He makes your life whole, and helps you meet your goals.

In return for all he gives you, your love for him will always remain true.

Some of you may be familiar with the author, Cody Kennedy, who writes fiction for gay young adults. A few months ago, a 12-year-old boy named Timmy read Cody's book, Omorphi, and wrote a review of it. Cody shared the review on Facebook and that's how many of us who follow Cody learned about this incredibly brave and inspiring young man.

Timmy has read some of our blog posts and cited some by Matty when he wrote about his ADHD, and one by me when I wrote recently about how incredibly proud I was of Matty when he decided he was worthy of the best treatment for his ADHD and decided to change his medication to a better one. You can find my post to Matty here, in case you missed it: My Inspiration.

It means the world to Matty and I that we sometimes write things that inspire others. Timmy was inspired to write his incredible poem and dedicated it to us.

Matty was chatting with Timmy on Facebook recently and Timmy said he was inspired by our love. Matty wrote him back and said: "I hope you know you are one of my inspirations."

Timmy reply was such a gift to us: "That's kinda cool Matt. We can inspire each other and others!" 

Timmy got it exactly right! He's twelve years old and is already wise beyond his years. One of our major purposes for this blog is to inspire others, and to be inspired by those of you who share your support of us, including bits of your own struggles and triumphs. 

We have been recently highlighting some of the special gifts people have been making for us. There was Thorny's "Matt's Fire Tree" and Kari's "Matt on Fire" graphic. And so far there is one more piece of art we'll be sharing soon.

So, thank you to everyone who is on this journey with us. And thank you, Timmy, for sharing your very beautiful and inspiring poem with us. And yes, we hope we can continue to inspire you and you continue to inspire us. After all, that's the way it's suppose to work. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Happy news

Thanks to Kari for my
"Matt on Fire"
Thanks to Kari for another addition to the "Matt on Fire" theme that seems to be emerging lately! She sent this to me via Facebook as part of the writing I've been doing about how worried I was to change my medication. The new medication has been working really well and so far I haven't lost the good "fire" in my brain, meaning, I think this new med has not taken away my "essential self." I'm still Matt, but without all the ups and downs my old med was making me have.

Anyway.... Just wanted to fill you guys in on another reason to celebrate. I met with my boss at work Monday to review my job performance and I'm gonna brag for a brief moment. He said he's been very pleased with my work and even had a difficult time coming up with areas for improvement! Can you believe that?

Well, he did come up with three recommendations/expectations, and they are very reasonable and doable, so I'm good with that. Plus... I GOT A RAISE! Not a huge one, but the largest I qualified for at this point!

So, yes, MATT IS ON FIRE!! I'm so happy. Can you tell?

Plus, that's not all. He wants to start training me on another aspect of the business. I'm going to go with him occasionally to learn aspects of how to bid on new jobs! This is almost blowing me away, because it means they see a future for me there, and they are making this investment in me!

Anyway, not only am I valuing my worth more and more, but they are valuing my contribution to the business. So! Yeah! I'm psyched. And on fire!! Just wanted to share that!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sundays with Sam: Difficult roads

Hi every one. Sam-I-Am here. I've had a pretty busy week, so I think I am going to keep this week's post short.

I did want to give you an update. Rick, MY BOYFRIEND, and I are doing great! He is planning to have the Coming Out Talk with his parents next Saturday. He has been spending a lot of time with me talking about what he wants to say and how to deal with any positive or negative reactions. He's pretty sure things will go well, but we both have been reading that parents have to have their time to take all this in.

Even the most accepting parents in the world still need time to adjust how they see their child. See, parents always have some idea of what their child's future will be like. They may not know the details, but there is always some picture they have of their child being happy, which might include getting married, having kids, having a successful job, and so forth. When you tell your parents you are gay, then they need time to adjust thinking about how your future will involve another man, instead of a woman.

See? This is stuff I have been reading and sharing with Rick. Oh, and also, the child has been thinking about being gay for years and years and years, so they are already use to the idea and what their future might be like. The parents may not have even considered you being gay, so they need time to adjust. When you come out to them, they are probably not going to jump up and down with joy. They need some time to soak in all this new information. All you can say to them is, "I want you to be happy for me, and if you have questions or want to talk about this some more, I'd really like that."

Like I said a few weeks ago, I'm going to be at Brad and Matty's house while he is having The Talk with his parents. When he finishes, he's going to call me and come over there so he can tell me how it went and so I can give him all kinds of love and support. Brad and Matty are going to leave before he gets there, so Rick and I can have some alone time. Then we will call Brad and Matty and they will return and all four of us can talk some more.

I think it's a pretty good plan. For me, it has made me feel extra special to Rick because he trusts me enough to include me in this really, really big step. I know from reading and from talking to him that Coming Out is a difficult road. But like the sign up there says, it can lead to beautiful destinations.

Hope every one has a a great week.

Love, Sam-I-Am

Thursday, April 3, 2014

My "Fire Tree"

"Matt's Fire Tree"
by Thorny Sterling

I wanted to share a gift I received the other day from an awesome friend. Wait, let me change one word in that sentence. I forgot to capitalize "friend." This is a gift I received the other day from an awesome Friend. There, that's better.

This is a digital painting my friend Thorny did for me. And in just a minute I'll explain it's significance to what I'm also writing about today. After dedicating the painting to me, Thorny gave it a title: "Matt's Fire Tree."

Thorny had mentioned on Facebook recently he was looking for unique pictures of trees he could paint. I've always loved trees since I was a little kid and have a pretty big collection of pictures I've found over the years of ones that caught my eye, so I posted a few. He took one I posted and painted the one you see above and dedicated it to me and even gave it a name -- a name that he didn't even know at the time had some significance to me. More about that in a sec.

So I've been telling you guys about my recent decision to change my ADHD meds. I've only been on one med my whole life and it's one that is fast-acting -- gets in quickly... does it's thing... then exits quickly, so I have to take three doses throughout the day to keep things level in my system.

It's been problematic because sometimes I would forget to take a dose and it would throw my brain into all kinds of spinning, which always gets me in trouble. My doctor has been trying to get me to take one of the slow-releasing meds you take once a day and keeps things level all day long. But I don't like change all that much, so I've resisted it.

Well, finally I decided the time had come to start feeling I was worthy of taking better care of myself and get on med that would keeps things level for me so I could study better and concentrate at work better. Plus, when my levels are going up and down, it makes me moody and irritable and sometimes hard to be around. It's also very difficult for me to think rationally when my brain is spinning.

Long story short, I'm now on week two of my new med and it's working way better than I even imagined it would. I feel more grounded during the day, I'm more settled in my thinking process, I feel capable of managing things that require multi-tasking, my moods are more level, I feel more grounded.

BUT... I was very worried I might lose some things about ADHD that I value. I've always loved my intensity and my high energy level. I know you don't have to have ADHD to have intensity and high energy, but I had heard stories about how some people were so toned down on their meds, I wanted none of that. I didn't want to lose the "Core Me," those things that made me "uniquely Matt." 
I'm very happy to say I think I am still "uniquely Matt." My brain doesn't go through the extremes of getting to a "level" place, only to fall back into revving up again, followed by taking another dose to get it back to "level," and on and on throughout the day. Now I feel no more ups and downs and can get on with life.

I'm also happy to report that I haven't lost my energy level. Yeah, that's what the "H" in ADHD refers to.

But there's a negative and positive to that dreaded word, hyperactive. 

The negative is: "Matthew, what's wrong with you? SIT DOWN! QUIT SQUIRMING!" I got that so much as a kid.

The positive word for my energy level now, and the one I prefer is, "bouncy," or "full of life," or "energetic." And by God I haven't lost that. It's all my positive energy, like "Matt's Fire Tree" that Thorny made for me.

But I was really, really worried I might lose something I treasure about my brain. And I even found a new term recently to describe this quality. I was on an ADHD site recently reading some comments parents were making about their ADHD kids, and one person was talking about how delightful it was to see their son being "on fire" when he was bouncing around, all full of joy and imagination and playfulness.

And I am happy to report that I have not lost my fire! I love how my brain can travel down so many different paths, exploring all the different angles of some idea, totally enjoying all the passion that's getting stirred up inside my heart, seeing so many possibilities of the magic that happens when I can play a tiny role in bringing a smile to someone's face, getting a group of people to interact with each other when there's been some misunderstanding so healing can take place. 

So thank you, Thorny, for creating my very own "Fire Tree." You and I hadn't even talked about my ADHD recently, so you had no idea what I would read into your painting, or what it would mean to me. But it reminds me that I still have my Fire! And if all of you look at the painting in the upper center section, I see a heart. 

And thanks to all of you for being so encouraging and supportive of me as I finally got to a place where I felt worthy of having the best treatment for my ADHD.

Only now I have a new name for this thing: ADHD, With Fire! 
And my very own Fire Tree totem to remind me. Emoji

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sundays with Sam: What friends are for

Hello to every one. It's Sam-I-Am once more.

I have been reading some of Matty's posts about his adhd and also the post Brad wrote about how Matty should see that he is worthy instead of seeing himself as broken. It just breaks my hear that Matty or any body would see them selves as broken. And this is coming from some one who has even written here that I have seen my self as broken. So I guess it is ironical that I'm even saying this.

But, I have learned some thing really important about my self because Matty and Brad are so open about their feelings. I have learned that I am all kinds of rough with my self when it's me talking about me. But when somebody else talks down on them selves, especially some one I care about, it really breaks my heart.

And this leads me to the next thing I have learned. Why is it easier for me to rough my self up but I will come to the defense of other people who rough them selves up? It makes no sense and I need to stop being hard on my self.

Matty is like one of the best persons I have ever met. And there is no way I can leave Brad out, because he has been my best friend since middle school. They both mean the world to me and I would do any thing for either of them.

Matty is like my big brother, and some times he's even a little bit like a dad-figure to me -- except he's the good dad I have never had. But most of all, he is like my Friend. He always seems happy to see me when I come to visit them and I love how he jokes around with me. And to be honest, it kind of catches me off guard when I walk in the door and he smiles his big smile and says, "Oh man. Let the party begin. Sam is here! How you doing, man?" And it always comes out like he is genuinely happy to see me.

And then he some times shows me a new wood carving he is doing and explains different things about it and I get really interested in it because you would think there is some kind of magic in what he carved and he's showing me some thing really personal about him self. I know that is probably not the clearest way to explain it, but it's like by showing me the carving, he is sharing some thing that means a lot to him. And it's like he's saying, "You matter to me." And I end up feeling like I'm some kind of special to him. And it means a lot to me.

So, I just want to use my post this Sunday to tell him this:

Matty, see that sign I picked out up there? I thought about you when I saw it. I know you are a very strong person. But I can tell by those things you wrote about when you mention having adhd that you some times don't feel strong inside. And I guess it's okay to feel what ever you feel, at least that's what I'm learning in my counseling, but I want you to know it is ALWAYS okay to reach out to Brad or me or anybody who truly cares about you so we can hold your hand and remind you that you are an incredible person who gives so much to others.

And thank you for being there for me. You share your strength with me all the time, maybe in some ways you don't even know about, but you do. And I am a stronger person because you are in my life.

So when you don't feel strong, I hope you know you can call me and I will be there for you. I don't know how much I can help, but maybe I can listen and sort of hold your hand and maybe that will help.

Remember last week when I was leaving after visiting you guys and you followed me to the door and gave me a hug? It was the first time you ever said you loved me. That meant the world to me. I didn't quite make it to my car before I stated crying because I felt so cared for. But this is what I want to tell you: I was not crying because I felt weak. I was crying because it felt like you somehow gave me some of your strength when you said that. And this is the second thing I want to tell you: It's a week later and I still have that strength inside me. And you gave me that.

Now it's my turn to give you back some of my strength. I love you. I hope you feel it because it comes from my heart.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The best feeling

I met Brad for the first time at my 18th birthday party. He was 17 at the time. 

My best friend, Tyler, and I always celebrate our birthday together and have been tight friends since we were just little kids. Brad and Tyler were working together at a grocery store at the time and Tyler invited Brad to our party.

When Brad showed up and I saw him from across the room, I couldn't stop staring at him. He literally was the most beautiful boy I had ever seen. I couldn't even concentrate on anything else going on around me at the time because I was watching him make his way around the room.

When I first noticed him, he looked right at me and I remember he slightly tilted his head, as if he was acknowledging me.

I haven't been able to keep my eyes off him ever since. Even now we'll be sitting in the living room together and I'll look over at him and sometimes he'll already be looking at me.

It's always the best feeling ever when this happens. 

Maybe because he's been the best thing that's ever happened to me.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

My inspiration

Matty and I have been talking a lot over the past few months about whether he wanted to change his ADHD medication. He's been ambivalent about making the change and he kept worrying he was burdening me with his ambivalence. 

It hasn't been an easy decision for him. He sometimes has a tendency to hold things like this inside because he thinks his ambivalence is some kind of defect. So let me share with all of you some of the things I've been telling him.

I am incredibly proud of him for deciding he is worth the very best treatment possible. It always makes me so sad when I'm aware he's been going through some self-doubt about his worthiness. So, Matty, let me be clear once more when I say this: You Are Worthy. Period. You are a very beautiful man on the outside, and you are an incredibly beautiful spirit on the inside. 

And, no, you are not broken. None of us is perfect. I have my faults and you have yours. And that ADHD you have? It's one of the things that make you, you. 

I love all the energy you have. 

I love how many different roads your thoughts can travel down. 

I love how in touch with your emotions you are. 

I love your passion and your compassion. 

I love your endless sense of humor. 

I love watching you bounce around from one project to the other and how excited you get when a new idea hits you. 

And I love how you treasure me. Yes, how you treasure me with your secrets, your doubts, your enthusiasm, your drive, your love. To put it simply, You mean the world to me. All of you.

And just remember this: 

And what I see happening literally takes my breath away. I love you. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Believing I'm worth it

Thanks to Madison Parker for
sending this to me.
Well, guess what? After a really long period of agonizing over what to do about my meds, I finally decided to realize that I am indeed worth having the best treatment possible for my ADHD. 

I had an appointment with my doctor this past Friday and he again reviewed all the various options and spent a really long time with me going over the pros and cons, and benefits and drawbacks, for each option.

In my last post a few days ago, I wrote about how I go through bad periods where I hate having ADHD and how it complicates my life in so many ways. It recently got to the breaking point because I've had trouble remembering to take all three doses throughout the day and my levels go up and down and believe me it creates havoc in terms of how my brain processes too much stimuli and information, and ends up throwing my emotional life into a volatile mess.

This has affected my relationships with people I care about, interferes with work, interferes with my education, and does serious damage to my feelings of self-worth -- so much so that I have ended up bullying myself, making fun of myself, and beating myself up, all because I turn my anger inward because I sometimes hate the way my brain works, or fails to work.

It's really helped to write about all this here, and believe me, the comments you left me last week were a major factor in getting me motivated to take better care of myself. My doctor has long thought there were some better options for my ADHD, but I've been stubborn, mainly because I have been on this particular medication since I was first diagnosed, and I know exactly how it works. 

Since this is the only medication I've ever been on, there has always been something comforting about it always being there. I know the ins and out of how it works and have gotten use to it over the years.

However, I sometimes forget the late afternoon dose, so my levels plummet. Plus, this is one of those "fast acting" meds, which means it also leaves my system after a very short time. Thus, I have to take three doses throughout the day to keep things level -- if I remember to take that last dose.

Plus, my doctor has long felt I was probably on too low a dose for the severity of all this neurological malfunctioning.

So, when I saw him on Friday, I made the decision to switch to the long-acting version of this med. I now only have to take ONE dose in morning and it keeps my levels steady for 10 to 12 hours! A big plus.

He started me out on the lowest dose since he could tell I was a little ambivalent at first. The plan I agreed to is to take this low dose for 7 days and then go up to the next level for week two. He thinks that may be the level I'll probably stay at, but if not, he can go up a little higher if needed.

I'm completely on board with this plan and began on Saturday. I had a few minor side effects, like a mild headache and some minor "spaciness," but it seemed like it was working because I felt things were a lot more level throughout the day. I felt calm and grounded and didn't experience any of the "peaks" and "valleys" I had with the old med.

I first want to thank the Love of my Life, my always reliable and sweet Bradley. The attentiveness and pampering you gave me on Saturday made me feel really loved and cared for. I didn't have to go through this all alone. You are truly my Rock

I also want to thank Mary Grzesik for staying in contact with me during the day to keep me occupied and entertained. You were are great hand-holder and you made the anxiety I was feeling a lot more bearable. Plus, I learned way more than I even needed to about Boston Butt! LOL!!

And to Madison Parker who sent me several encouraging quotes. I especially loved the one at the top of this post, in addition to this one: 

Again, please accept my heart-felt thanks to everyone who left me comments on my post last week. They really tipped the scale in helping me make a decision to take better care of myself. You helped me remember that I am worth treating myself better. Thank you.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sundays with Sam: Never in a million billion years

Hi every body! It's Sunday so that must mean it's time for Sam! Sam-I-Am! Hope every body is having a good day.

My BOYFRIEND, Rick, found that image I posted above. He told me I deserve to think about myself as being stronger than I give my self credit for. I don't think I would go as far as saying I was a Super Hero by a long stretch of the imagination, but I guess I am learning to see what some of my strengths are.

It's funny because we were talking one night this week and I felt like I was so weak. This is what happened: His aunt and uncle are away for a week and he's been going over there to feed their cats and give them some company while they are away. I went over there with him one afternoon and he was showing me around and I just stood there with my mouth wide open when we got to one room because one entire wall was filled with books. It was like being in a library and I love going to libraries because they are quiet and I love being around books.

And then I almost fainted on the spot because on the bottom shelf over in the corner were all these children's books written by Dr. Seuss. If you remember from something I wrote a while back, I LOVE Dr. Seuss. I use to spend a lot of time with my grandma when I was a little kid and I still remember sitting in her lap with her arms around me while she read me his books. That is even how I got my nick-name, Sam-I-Am, because that is what she started calling me.

Brad said he would put a link to the post when I wrote about her if you care to read it: Click here.

So while Rick in the kitchen taking care of the cats, I sat down on the floor and started looking at the Dr. Seuss books and when Rick came back in the room, he sat down beside me and put his arm around me and sort of cradled me. Well, I started crying. I use to be embarrassed when that kind of think would happen, but for some reason I don't even mind it one bit if Rick is the only one around.

I had already told him some about grandma and he knew what was going on with me and I didn't even have to explain it. When he cradled me I closed the book and put it in my lap and leaned up against his chest and he started rubbing my hair, which always relaxes me.

After a few moments he just whispered very softly, "Tell me some more about your grandma." After I got my tears under control, I told him some memories of how I would be in the kitchen with her when I was little and I could even remember some of the things she would cook. He asked me if I had any pictures of her, which I do, and he said he would like to look through my albums some time. So I said, What about tomorrow night (which would be Friday)?

So on Friday night I was showing him the pictures of her and he said I had her eyes and her smile. Well, you know what happened next, right? I started crying again. I'm turning into a regular water faucet but I don't even care about that any more because I feel like I can be my total self around Rick. I don't even have to hide what I'm feeling because he told me once, "Every thing you think or feel is important to me." Can you even believe some body actually said some thing like that to me? I have never had any body say some thing like that to me before. But I trust he means it because I feel the same way about him.

So guess what we did next? He went over to the book shelf (we were back at his aunt's and uncle's house) and took some of the Dr. Seuss books and led me over to the sofa. He sat down first and then I sat down and leaned up against him and he asked me if it would be okay if he read to me. I'm not even going to ask you this question: "Do you think I started crying again?" because by this time you probably know I did.

So he started reading to me and then he would change his voice from character to character and it was so enjoyable and funny. And then after about the third book, we would take turns being different characters and we started cracking up like we were high on drugs or some thing!!

I would never have imagined in a million, billion years that I would ever be sitting on a sofa with another GUY, reading Dr. Seuss books and giggling and laughing and enjoying the heck out of my self! OMG. But I really, really was having the best time! Let me say that again, because I need to hear it my self: I was having the BEST time sitting on a sofa with ANOTHER GUY reading books by Dr. Seuss and laughing and enjoying the heck out my self! Oh, and one more thing: It was the most natural thing in the world to be doing!! 

I guess this means I am getting stronger and accepting that I am okay just like I am. Sure, I am not perfect. Not be a long shot. But I have spent most of my life pretending to be some one I am not. Pretending to be straight. Pretending to feel strong when I really felt weak inside. Pretending like I would be happy some day when all I felt was there was no hope.

Well, I am feeling more real now. Maybe not 100% yet, but I am getting there. And so far, I like what I'm discovering.

Thanks for spending a little time with me this Sunday. Hope every one has a really nice day and a nice week. See you next Sunday.

Love, Sam-I-Am (with my grandma's eyes and her smile)