Straight Lines, Fireworks, and ADHD

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What do straight lines, fireworks, and ADHD have in common? The ADHD brain.

I’ve been thinking today about a weird thing that seems to happen to those of us with ADHD, and trying to find a way to not only explain it, but describe it, too.

Wander with me through my chain of thought:

I think that most of us with ADHD tend to do things the hard way more than we should have to. The reason is that we don’t see another (completely obvious) way.

When I was a little girl, I used to love paper dolls. Whenever I got a new set, I would take them out along with my scissors and sit down on the floor to cut them out. I didn’t hold my paper dolls in my hand and turn them as I cut; no, that would have been too easy.

My paper dolls remained on the floor, while my scissors and I rotated around them to cut out all the pretty dresses and outfits.

I remember my son Andy doing a similar thing when he was little. He collected hockey cards and kept them in special pages in a binder. When he got some new ones, he would open the binder, snap it open, pull the plastic page out and insert his card. The he would put the page back, snap the binder closed, and close it. The next card he inserted 2 seconds later would go through the same routine.

Have you ever spent a day running errands only to find out that you’re passing some of the same places over and over as you run from one end of town to the other and back again? Sometimes I find myself doing that in the grocery store.

I get my produce, and then 3 aisles over I remember I needed lettuce, too, so I go back. The when I get to the frozen food aisle, I remember something I needed a few aisles back. My path through the store must look like one of those mazes that you have to find your way out of.

As I was thinking about this, I was also wondering why we do things like that. Surely it must be related somehow to our ADHD.

I think I have it figured out, and this is where the straight lines and fireworks come in.

People who don’t have ADHD have minds that work in a linear fashion; a straight line.


They understand how to navigate across town or through the grocery store without constantly backtracking. It’s second nature to them.

Those of us with ADHD have brains more like fireworks.


See that bright spot in the middle? That’s our brain.

And all those rays of intense light shooting from it in all directions? Our thoughts and ideas. We have a lot of bright ideas (sorry) and they go in all directions. It’s no wonder we do too.

See? Fireworks are our nature.

Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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