What ADHDers Can Learn from Wicked
Wicked is the celebrated musical that is based on the book Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire which is a revisionist retelling of the classic movie The Wizard of Oz which is the film adaptation of the 1902 musical The Wizard of Oz which is based on the 1900 book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum. This musical has popped up in my life a couple of time recently. Upon reflecting on this show, I believe there are a few things we ADHDers can learn from Wicked.
The Outcasts Are Often Not Who They Are Made out to Be
Those who are familiar with The Wizard of Oz know the Witch of the West as evil. Yet, Wicked paints Elphaba (AKA the Wicked Witch of the West) as someone who is good, who has noble intentions, and is trying to make the world a better place. Yes, she is driven out and causes mayhem, but if she was not made out to be a monster, she would not have been an enemy of the people. She needed a chance to succeed and follow her noble intentions.
Sometimes, people are cast aside and not able to succeed through no fault of their own. Wicked depicts this quite accurately. Elphaba was not given the opportunities to succeed like others. Someone who recently saw Wicked on Broadway said of the musical, “It’s relatable in a sense that one person has more support than another person when they don’t deserve it.” Glinda is superficial and is hungry for fame. Her intentions are not noble, yet she is the one gets success and is lauded for being good.
What all of this tells us is those who are outcasts seem strange or worse because we do not know them. They do not get to tell their story. We tell their story, and our story of who someone else is is not often accurate.
“I’m Through with Playing by the Rules of Someone Else’s Game”
I feel like a broken record when I say this, but ADHDers are different. We cannot thrive if we play by the rules of neurotypicals. We need to play by the rules of our game. We need to follow Elphaba’s example and stop playing by the rules of someone else’s game. We need to play by the rules of our games. This is our life, and we will not be forced to live it on someone’s terms!
Gravity holds everything down to earth. It is expected that, when you let go of something, it will fall to the ground. That is what the expectation is. ADHDers are expected to be screwups and not able to succeed. Defy that expectation. Defy gravity, and fly. Elphaba showed her doubters that they should not attempt to hold her back. Do the same.
“Together, We’re Unlimited”
In the beginning of the show, Elphaba is crabby and not pleasant to be around. Then, after she does something nice for Glinda, she become happy. We see her fun side and how she can be an incredible person. This highlights the importance of friendship and community. Friends make our lives better. We are happier, and we are more motivated to be a better person when we have friends. In a community, we have support and are better equipped to succeed. By surrounding yourself with others, you become more like the incredible person you were created to be. We need others. I need others. You, dear reader, need others. Find a friend. Plug into the ADHD community.
“Because I Knew You, I Have Been Changed for Good”
At the end of the show, Glinda sings, “I’ve heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason.” This is a profound truth. Everyone has an effect on each person they meet. How will you use your gifts to help others? What will you do to use your talents and gifts to make a positive impact on others? How can you ensure you share with them the positive side of who you are? What can you do to prevent the negative ADHD symptoms from wreaking havoc in these interactions. People will be forever changed by meeting you. Make sure it is a positive change.
Moreover, you are changed by interacting with others. If people do, indeed, come into our lives for a reason. Will you be aware enough to learn what that purpose is? Will you be too distracted or too hyperfocused on yourself to be able to benefit from your interactions with others? How will you prevent that from happening? Do you need a coach to help you manage all of this to be the best person you can be?