A.D.D. confession and feeling vulnerable | Personal

Saturday, March 15, 2014

This blog post is very long over due, and needed.  Since last fall, the thoughts of what to write have been swirling in my head.  When I thought of sitting down to write it, I imagined it either sounding like a tragic novel or the ramblings of a lunatic.  So, I just decided to hold off and felt that when the time was right I would take the time to write and hope it wouldn't feel overwhelming.

This is that time.

I've been harassed by my friends every time I mention that I can't believe I'll be 40.  That age isn't around the corner, but it's been creeping up on me…I have over a year just so ya know.  But with feeling like I'm on the heels of the big 4  0 and watching my girls grow up I started facing insecurities that I've had since I was little and realizing that I don't truly know who I am and not living by the example that I'm always preaching to my children.  I have one daughter is a mini me.  She is all over the place with attention, always on the go and what nots.  She's been my child that I've worried about since she started school.  Her kindergarten year, I was close to going all CRAZY mom on a teacher.   I remember going to school when I was little and loved it.  But I also remember it was 4th grade and a particular teacher that couldn't handle my little attention span and randomness.  And I still remember to this day, what I felt like when I had to sit in a corner on a stool as a punishment. I don't remember any other teachers in elementary school but I remember Mrs. Hester.

I also remember going home not feeling sad or mad…but I guess what I felt was stupid and that teacher made a point to drill her low tolerance for me that day.  Along with starting to give another's opinion a value about who I was.   But I also remember when I told my mom what happened and seeing a mama bear come out.  What happened next was having to meet with the principal, my mother and the teacher…and hearing that teacher apologize to me for that.  Unfortunately, that apology gave superficial  gratification after I her opinion affected my self worth.

Then came senior year, my senior english teacher returned my senior paper with a big fat F!  And believe me, I really didn't like that teacher. But the teacher that I didn't like, was a teacher that reached out, believed in me and called me out in a private meeting. Her name was Miss Pamela Duty.  She told me my grade point average and I wasn't going to graduate.  She told me to take that paper to correct and return to her while reminding me that she knew I was smart but didn't try.  That teacher was right, I never tried.  When I went to take my SAT's…I sat down, looked at the front and back of the test and then handed it back in.  The testing teacher asked if I was going to even answer one question, but I didn't care…I literally didn't care.  When I look back at that time, the feeling of that day in 4th grade left a mark on my confidence.

Thankfully, I did edit my senior paper and handed it back in.  I'm not sure if the teacher lied on her grading to help me graduate but thankfully I did graduate because of her…and with a pathetic 2.3 GPA.

I spent my first year in college taking classes that were below the 100 level because I didn't try on my SAT's.  I went on taking the courses needed to apply to the college of education at the community college for almost 4 years.  I did alright in my prerequisites and was accepted at ASU.  

My first semester at ASU I studied my passion, special education.  That semester I got my first A.  Let me clearly write this…. at 22, I felt a euphoric feeling and for the first time I felt smart.  Two years later, I had a B.S. degree in special education with an emphasis in behavioral/emotional disabilities with a 3.9 GPA.   HUGE accomplishment, but then that little attention span and horrible procrastination reared it's ugly head…I never turned in my application for magna cum luade.  UGH!

Now, fast forward 18 years.  I have twin daughters and a son.  I began watching my girls start to grow up fast with what they were experiencing in school, emotionally and socially.  And seeing one daughter literally start going through similar experiences I had in school.  My husband and I have been very involved in her education and spent several frustrating hours with her at home to help her academically.   Every day, my husband and I talked about our worries, with me more so since I felt like I was literally watching myself in school and adamant that she wouldn't repeat my mistakes and lose that love for school/learning.  But that meant that my stubborn natural to ensure she didn't follow in my footsteps meant I had to face my insecurities in myself before I could raise her in a different direction.

I didn't realize I had those insecurities at first.  It was over the time I spent reading books.  During that time of being a mom with a small investment in self help books from Barnes & Noble on my bedside table, I felt a sucker punch.  That started almost two years ago.

I started keeping to myself more, I gardened A LOT….gardening to the extent that a friend told me that soon she'll come over to find a Budha in one of my flower gardens and me in meditation.  Joking aside,  it was the time that I needed.  Time to just be in the moment, be present with my family, separate myself from social media, cell phone and anything that was distracting.  I locked everything up in my head, occasionally sharing little bits and pieces with my best friends. But I was still not being that person of integrity, morals, confidence and a voice…few of the core values I was trying to raise my children with.

Then one day last summer, when picking my girls up from a close friend's house, I broke down.  Not broke down sniffle cry but full blown sob cry.  And I confessed every little hidden secret I had but never told.  Next thing I knew, my friend was crying with me while trying to wrap her head around these feelings she didn't know about.  Afterwards, I felt like a million pounds were lifted off my shoulders and heart with confidence to finally confess my feelings of insecurities and no longer feel ashamed.

During that time of my obsession with parenting and self help books, I was evaluated for ADD/ADHD.  I've always joked that I was the classic ADD girl but having the evaluation done was just part of facing what I didn't like about myself…short attention span, etc.  Seriously, that evaluation was amazing in feeling validated and actually typical in the characteristics.  A week later I received the evaluation results, I laughed when I read….'severe ADD' and handed it to my husband.  My husband read it, and said he wasn't surprised.  I agreed with him but also said that reading it on paper with the word 'severe' was laughable for me.

It's incredible when I think back over the whole process of learning who I am in helping to be a better parent that made me realize…my kids truly have been the best gift in my life.  It's because of my children I finally admitted that I was insecure, and started the dramatic 'finding myself' process.  And I can finally write, I'm doing better in being that example of what I teach my children. 

Raising my children to know that everyone has bad choices, have integrity, confidence to have a voice when they disagree even when standing alone, live to personal standards opposed to peers, always treat others the way they want to be treated, and be firm with standing up for themselves but with respect.  I feel like I finally have a confident voice, stopping the need to please and keeping others happy before myself….basically, just not giving a damn about the things I worried about or worrying about making another mad.

I'm amazed in how the lessons have been taught and situations have played out over the past years.

And lastly, through this whole process I've had the BIG question I still haven't answered…
what to do with my photography business after Easton starts school?  What is the best choice
 for myself and family?

My heart and passion is helping children with emotional and behavioral struggles.  I left special education 8 years ago and at that time I was seriously over the crap that was going on in education.  I was fed up with the red tape BS that had me feeling powerless in what could be provided to help my students reach and meet their potential. With that being written, I don't foresee returning to a school district.   I'm actually not sure what I'll do or what capacity.  But, that comes back to remembering to live in the moment.

Photography has always been a creative outlet for me.  Since I quit teaching, I started this business and have built incredible relationships with families I've watched grow up.  I have friendships with clients that I'm loyal to as they have had a hand in my business growth.  I have respect for the relationships made.  Over the past recent years, I've cut back the work load in hopes of finding a better balance between working from home and my family.  Cutting back with respect in meeting the standards I've set in the services I provide and valuing quality over quantity in sessions I schedule.

And this is why this blog post is long over due in needing to be written.  I want to be fair to the families I photograph and friendships made.  What I do know right now is that I am grateful to still have a thriving business with patient, loyal and understanding clients.  Huge emphasis in understanding as they respect my family comes first.  I will continue to schedule sessions through the remainder of this year, on a limited basis.  

I realize this post if full of details that are personal and completely has me feeling vulnerable to be transparent.  I've appreciated every email and text from clients checking in during my disappearances from Facebook.  My heart is always touched when I get a message and want to extend these details to explain where I've been and what has been filling my days.  

This past week, I spent a few days roughing it at a ranch we have property at with my friend and kids.  I like to think of it as our hidden gem where the high desert meets the pines.  It was the perfect getaway to help me finally write this out.

Most families I photograph know that I have another job during the week in which I continue to work with an amazing young woman I started working with 20 years ago before I started ASU.  I love this little lady more than she'll ever comprehend and she's stuck with me.  One day, I hope to be able to have her brother with me on these adventures too…but in time.
Me and my babies that are full of adventure, attitude and fun.  I handed my monster camera to her with a brief lesson and she did a good job.  She had me laughing while she made snake sounds to help the kids smile.  She did say cheese or smile….she just hissed.  That girl never stops surprising me.
While at the ranch, I took hundreds of pictures and braved carrying my monster camera along.  Here are a few pictures.  I'm hoping sooner than later I'll post more from our spring break camping trip.


Melissa said...

Tami, what a great post, I can only imagine ow hard it was for you to put into words! I am pretty sure I suffered from ADD myself in school. I took struggled through school with c's and d's. I took have always struggled with issues of self esteem, etc all my life. I was finally diagnosed with anxiety a few years back. Every year gets easier of me the older and wiser I get. I am able to not sweat the small stuff so much. I just turned 43 and I have to tell you the 40's have been great for me so far. If I think about being in my 40's it's a bit overwhelming. But I feel so much better in my own skin as far as life goes and letting things slide off of my back. I definitely don't sweat the small stuff as much. Hopefully it will surprise you also. I think it's much harder on us women. We struggle with the "mean" girl issues all through life. We really need to find ways to pick each other up instead of putting each other down. My oldest just turned 16 and I told her sadly it doesn't stop when you graduate. Best of luck to you, I hope you find your destiny:)

Melissa Dubbs
Madison Reece designs

Melissa said...

Wow, sorry about all the typos:)

Stephanie Butler said...

Tami, I had the utmost pleasure of meeting you at Imaging..and you display nothing but extreme confidence, and collection of oneself...which I happen to love! You are one cool chick! You have shown such a tender piece of your heart in this post, and I want you to know you are not alone. I too have ADD...not sure how sever mine is but definitely have it. We had no idea while I was growing up and struggling terribly in school, I was a little overweight too, which didn't help my self confidence at the time either, and feeling very "undone" in my brain all the time made for tough school age years. It wasn't until my brother was tested when he was in Highschool (we are 7 years apart) that I found out that he and I both are ADD, his is more severe than mine. I had learned to cope and work around it, but it explained so much of my childhood for me. I used to have to sit behind the door in 2nd grade because the teacher said I disrupted everyone with so much talking. I wish she had spent a little more time to give me the help I needed to succeed. Fast forward to my age now...I am 1 year from 40 also, I chose not to go to college because I hated learning standardized subjects. I didn't do well on my ACT either. I went to EMT school as young adult and passed with flying colors, thanks to the help of my very smart hubby, but found great solace in Photography. I love learning about it, but most of all the people I have met along the way...and you lady are one of those people. Thank you for making others who have those same feelings raising kids, being an adult in a crazy busy life, and competitive field, not feel so alone. You have a beautiful soul and I am happy to have gotten to meet you! XOXO Stephanie Butler

Tami Proffitt said...

Thanks for writing your struggles. Here is what I find most beautiful, other women that admit openly that we aren't perfect because truthfully there are many more people that share these feelings just don't admit them. A friend of mine in the behavioral field shared with me a brilliant author and researcher, Brene Brown. I am fully addicted to her research on shame and how it is one of the silent epidemics of our society because it isn't talked about. Seriously brilliant researcher. Do me a favor, tell your daughter I agree…mean people SUCK and it doesn't get easier. The one thing I try to point out to my kids is seeing those that are mean and work hard on being opposite of that. What's even worse is those mean girls grow up to be mean, catty adults that still work on maintaining a similar high school status on the social hierarchy and they have kids that simply repeat that cycle. Mean people just suck!

Tami Proffitt said...

Stephanie, I swear in the few hours we spent together I'm pretty sure we could conquer the world together with our honestly! Think about moving this way girl, we have amazing weather!:) And thank you a million times for sharing your experiences…I really appreciate all your words!

Nancy Proffitt said...

Beautiful post Tami ~ you know how much we all LOVE you!!! All the pictures just really make me smile of course! LYG!!!

Melissa said...

Well said!