Will D. Campbell, on Freedom

Photo via Associated Press

Photo via Associated Press

“Later on, he reckoned that what he was really looking for was for someone to pay him to do and say what he wanted to do and say. Slowly he learned that that isn’t freedom, that freedom is not something you find or that someone gives you. It is something you assume. And then you wait for someone to come and take it away from you. The amount of resistance you put up is the amount of freedom you have.” – From Forty Acres and a Goat.

WTH? My love for Will D. Campbell is well known. This post is part of a series – Wednesdays with Will, where I post a quote or selection from Brother Will that has been particularly inspirational to meaningful to me.

Will D. Campbell on Patriotism

Photo via Associated Press

Photo via Associated Press

“I believe God made the St. Lawrence River, and the Rio Grande River, and the China Sea and the English Channel, but I don’t believe God made America, or Canada, or Mexico, or England, or China. Man did that. . . . It is doubtful that there has ever been a nation established for bad reasons. Nations are always established to escape tyranny, to combat evil, to find freedom, to reach heaven. Man has always been able to desire to build a heaven. But it seems he has never been able to admit that he didn’t pull it off. So he keeps insisting that he did pull it off. And that is really what patriotism is all about. It is the insistence that what we have done is sacred. It is that transference of allegiance from what God did in creating the whole wide world to what we have done with (or to) a little sliver of it. Patriotism is immoral. Flying a national flag—any national flag—in a church house is a symbol of idolatry. Singing ‘God Bless America’ in a Christian service is blasphemy. Patriotism is immoral because it is a violation of the First Commandment.” – Will D. Campbell, “I Love My Country: Christ Have Mercy,” Motive (December, 1969)

WTH? My love for Will D. Campbell is well known. This post is part of a series – Wednesdays with Will, where I post a quote or selection from Brother Will that has been particularly inspirational to meaningful to me.

ADHD and Shame

My Shame

The sense of shame that accompanies ADHD is the worst part of having it, in my opinion.  Here is the latest example.

Renee wants to visit her family in Wichita next weekend for her niece’s 1st birthday.  We don’t have much money, having just gotten back from the beach. So, I go on Priceline and “Name My own Price” for a $400 ticket with Delta, which is 30% cheaper than I can find anywhere else.

But because of my ADHD, my mind goes somewhere else and I have a ‘moment’ and accidentally type her maiden name in the form, and not her married name. None of her ID has her maiden name on it. Because we have been married for five years.

So I call Delta. They tell me I have to call Priceline. A nice man at Priceline named Joe (probably not his real name, because Joe has an outrageous accent, but who knows) tells me this is no problem. We just have to cancel the reservation, they will refund our money and I can bid again.

Oh, and there is a $40 fee for their doing this for me.

Oh, and the money won’t show up in my account until tomorrow – or maybe Thursday. You know, at the latest. The money I needed to buy the ticket. That money.

So, because of my pisspoor attention span, I am out $40, best case, and worst case, it is two days before I can try this again, and God only knows how much it will cost then.

No matter how often you repeat to yourself, “It was an honest mistake, it could have happened to anyone”, you never believe it.

If this were an isolated incident, I would shrug it off. But it isn’t. Stuff like this happens to us with ADHD all the time. Most of the time it only affects me. But when it affects others, the sense of shame is palpable.

Like last spring, I was scheduled to speak at a conference. I was to speak 4 times, and it was a three day conference – Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Because I have preaching responsibilities at our chapel service, I made sure I was not scheduled to speak on Sunday, so I could leave the conference Saturday night to get back in time.

By “made sure”, I meant I made sure. I checked the agenda. I specified in my agreement that I was not to speak on Sunday. I verified it by phone weeks in advance.

And, you guessed it, when I got there, I was scheduled to speak on Sunday morning. But rather than assuming they screwed up, I assumed I screwed up. I called someone in to cover me on Sunday and was embarrassed about going to the organizers because what if it actually was my fault? What if I only thought I had verified it? (When you have ADHD, sometimes thinking about a thing feels like you did the thing.)

Turns out, it was their mistake, and I finally mentioned it to them, and they were profusely sorry, and canceled my Sunday talk and payed me anyway for the whole event. But none of that matters, because of shame. You tell yourself that this is your fault – because your whole damn life, things like screwed up schedules have been your fault.

So, we struggle on. We struggle on.

Social Media Sadness

Social media is no longer fun for me.

I hate to say that. I was an early adopter. I was on Myspace early on, was on Flickr before it was cool, got on Twitter when it was easy to get a short user name, was around when Facebook was being criticized because it was too “minimal”.

When I first moved to Raleigh in 2007, Twitter was my primary means of making new friends. I remember being in Third Place Cafe and seeing Ginny in person, after only knowing her on Twitter. I tweeted her, and it was a big deal to both of us to meet in person. Twitter was a way to enhance the real world, not to replace it.

It seldom feels like that any more.

I remember the daily checking of stats, wondering who had linked to my blog. I remember once having a goal of breaking the top 10,000 blogs on Technorati.  My communications director at work, who makes her living with blogging and social media, has never even heard of Technorati.

I know all this makes me sound like I am feeling old – but I am not. I just feel tired. I am tired of the clickbait “…What happened next will blow your mind” titles. I am tired of the constant polarization.  The lack of authority in people’s voices. The lack of conviction.

There is something about having a permanent place on the web (like this one). A place where you own your stuff, where there is a contemporaneous record of what you thought on a given day. Heck, it is hard to find something you wrote on Facebook from last week.

So, this is me saying I need to step back somewhat. I will be unfollowing a bunch of folks on Twitter and Facebook, engaging less, committing more of my thoughts to the blog here, working to create a body of work, instead of just creating a product for Zuckerberg to monetize.

I am not sure what this new reality will look like. But I know I don’t want to maintain the status quo. Updates on this process will, however, only be posted here. Naturally.