How do I explain almost 60 years with ADHD, 23 of them undiagnosed?
Two weeks ago, I turned 59, and it was a surprisingly momentous, life-changing event. I hinted a few weeks ago that I would reveal a personal change and here it is: I’ve changed my name. All of it.
I was born Margit Leigh Roshal. I got married and became Margit Roshal Crane. I got divorced and became Margit Crane Luria, in an attempt to transition from Crane to Luria, an ancestral name from the 1500s.
Then I decided it wasn’t Crane that needed changing – my stepkids are Cranes, and I like the birds! – it was my first name. I am now Yafa Crane Luria
What does this have to to with you? Or ADHD? or parenting children with ADHD?
Sometimes old memories and old feelings come up at unexpected times and this year that happened to me. I remembered birthdays and birthday parties – mine and those of my friends – when I couldn’t sufficiently channel my thoughts, my energy, my actions, and my words. I embarrassed myself because, as I was told, I embarrassed my parents. I remembered one birthday in particular, when my mother just couldn’t handle one more day with me.
I knew I was different. I could see that other kids thought like the teacher and that I did not. I could see that the beautifully complex answer to a teacher’s question, an answer that I had enthusiastically spun out in my head, was way off base. While I was offering a symphony, the teacher only wanted “Chopsticks.” I felt like a complete weirdo – who can miss an answer so simple? – and my sense of enthusiasm about my wonderful brain was quashed regularly. There must be something wrong with me.
That kind of backwards, self-deprecating thinking is common with many ADHD kids. Even today, we are told that there’s something wrong with us. We “suffer” from ADHD, or we’re “afflicted” with ADHD. We have a mental illness or a disorder or we’re deficient or troublemakers or lazy or insensitive. We are told to change in order to be successful.
I reject this thinking.
Margit would reject it with anger and pain. Yafa rejects it with laughter and love. That’s one difference.
But it was also Margit who fought all of that, Margit who overcame obstacle after obstacle. Margit who fell in love, got married, became a stepmom and a grandma. Margit is an overcomer. Margit is someone who will fight for what’s right till the bitter end.
But I no longer want to be an overcomer. I’m tired of having things to overcome.
I love Margit. I couldn’t be Yafa without Margit, but Yafa doesn’t have the emotional baggage that Margit has. Yafa, to me, is a poet, an angel, a love warrior, a lover of families in a way that Margit couldn’t be. Margit would be your family’s avenging angel. Yafa is your family’s guardian angel.
For Margit, the world is an adversary, an opponent. For Yafa, the world is a love-filled playground.
I want to be YAFA.
In Hebrew, Yafa (or Yaffa) means “Beautiful,” the kind of life I have now. According to the Urban Dictionary, YAFA also means “You Are F***ing Awesome,” and I am.
ADHD can be lonely and confusing and a big downer, but it doesn’t have to be. In its essence, ADHD is the source of creative genius, powerful leadership, compassionate living, and abundant joy. I think I’ve been Yafa for a long time; my name change is simply a chance to make Yafa official, manifest, physical, and a bold leader in the real world.
Copyright 2017 Yafa Luria/Margit Crane All Rights Reserved
What troubles you about parenting an ADHD child or teen?
Let’s talk! No judgment, no salesy come-on. However you WILL receive a good deal of TLC and a slew of strategies. You can say anything. You can cry. You can swear. Your confidentiality is guaranteed, and I promise to listen and give you hope and relief. (You might even find yourself spontaneously doing a happy dance).
“Thank you Yafa. You’ve given me incredibly helpful tools! It was really a pleasure to speak with you. I’ll be back in touch in the coming weeks.” Stella R, Portland, OR.
“I really appreciate that I could be vulnerable and you didn’t shoot me down. I feel comfortable with you and your humor brightened the call.” Danielle A, Bellingham, WA.
“I talked with you a year ago, Yafa, and your voice is always in my head, guiding me. I just wanted to email and thank you.” April W, Queensland, Australia
“Thank you for your encouraging, enlightening suggestions.” Jill E, Seattle, WA.
Thank you for ‘being there’ to share your wealth of knowledge and personal experience with us who are ‘floundering’ and ‘lost in the forest’ when it comes to ‘dealing with special and difficult circumstances’. Gratefully yours, Rochelle H, Alberta, Canada xox ((((BIG HUGS)))
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***(For a more in-depth look at my childhood and young adulthood, check out this interview with “Work In Progress” host, Courtney Killian http://www.blogtalkradio.com/positivenetwork/2016/06/28/work-in-progress-with-courtney-killian )