Go the Distance: An Artist’s Journey Towards Success.
Updated: Feb 20, 2021
I have wanted to create since I remember existing. It is because my mind has always felt too chaotic, too impulsive. I must be an artist, or go mad, become unemployable, and lose all the relationships that matter to me. Art is my way of expressing myself and communicating with the world outside of my mind. If the earth must rotate and I must breathe, then logically the only thing left for me to do is make art to decorate them both with the pigment of my life.
I know I am an artist because when I am in front of an easel, the feeling of chaos melts into the canvass. The canvass holds all my hyperactivity, my restless, scattered thoughts. I am separate from the creative mania that comes from my learning disorders, and that separation helps me stay centered and focused. Art has become my coping mechanism. When I make things, I have a place to be physical, which is a massive part of my personality, and it is how I stay focused on what matters most to me.
Midway through preschool I was diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). I had a teacher was, thankfully, well versed in learning disorders. She asked my parents to have me tested because she was concerned without intervention; my education and career choices could be negatively affected.
ADHD is very much linked to physicality, and therefore I am more interested in becoming a fine art major than a graphic designer. Suffers of ADHD like me are not suitable for extended periods of low-to-no-movement in highly stimulating situations such as an office or classroom.
Being physical and working intensely for short bursts of time with lots of breaks works best for the brains of people with ADHD because they help us receive dopamine, a chemical our brains lack. However, this kind of work method is not always advantageous to the standard workplace environment. When people with ADHD are less physically active, their brains' nervous system receptors slow down and will not pass dopamine accurately through the body.
This Creates higher rates of forgetfulness, procrastination, boredom, depression, and aggressive behaviors.
It is a human resources nightmare hiding in the maintenance closet, biding its time, like the moment that makes you jump in a horror film. You know it is coming, but you also know you are going to jump anyway. I know I would never survive well in the traditional work environment. So, I never took much thought in pursuing careers such as graphic design or other creative "Cube Jobs" that would not allow me the freedom to move around the room or take brainstorming breaks when I need to so I can produce my best work.
I know I am not alone, and since the 2010 Equality act, I am entitled to work without the repercussions due to my neurological disabilities. But I would prefer like to love my job, where I work, and who I work for as a client or boss. I want to build strong, lasting relationships with those I work with and for in my career and in my field. Based on my past experiences, I do better work under an independent sequential work model:
We meet up, show our work, agree on edits, fix them, and repeat until the project is complete. These short single-minded meets make things less distracting for me and stop procrastination from creeping into my work schedule due to overstimulation. (Kolin, 116-117).