5 min read

I was distracted but now I’m back

I was distracted but now I’m back


It's good to be back. I first skipped an edition to recover from my Covid-19 vaccination, and then my laptop had an undignified and unforeseen death.

These stories are always about the carnage left behind. In my case, I was in the midst of writing a research paper. I had just been granted a deadline extension, to schedule conversations, and improve what I had so far. The next day my laptop died and “what I had” was a borrowed laptop, some transcripts, and icy panic. My life had to revolve around immediately pushing out a brand new research paper. A part of me mourns what went missing, but I try not to dwell on it.

I learned useful things about myself. My new daily schedule became a hallmark of rigidity, productivity and discipline: all antonyms of how my ADHD brain is built. Before, I was never sure if my ADHD medication was working. Long story short: doing the same things on medicated weekdays and unmedicated weekends taught me that they work.

I take a light dosage, so I use other tools to help me stay on track. These are some isochronic/binaural/focus music I rely on. I'm not equipped to go into the science of it. I can only say that it helps me, and it might help you too (even if you don’t have ADHD).

These isochronic tones have a larger fan community that use them to induce all sorts of states: meditative, sexual, lucid dreaming, etc. I am only interested in: productivity. YMMV.

I rely heavily on Mind Amend’s ADHD Intense Relief tones, especially when writing. It's not musical; it resembles brain waves turned into audio vibrations. A friend said he’d have a heart attack if he tries to work through this, but it works for me. Extra oomph on earphones.

From the same channel, these are my reading and editing soundtracks.

I know it’s not for everyone, including fellow ADHDers. If you’d prefer something less intense, Lofi Girl’s chill beats are popular. People also use the animation for body doubling.

I used to pester friends for laptop dates to work (not socialise) together. It helps me stay focused. I now know this is a common ADHD coping mechanism called body doubling.

Cozy Ravenclaw common room audio atmosphere
Listen to a sound of Sitting by the fire in Ravenclaw Tower, sipping tea and working on a History of Magic essay... Inspired by the Gryffindor Common Room mix.
Apologies for the TERFbot’s universe but this is genuinely a good audio atmosphere — there are other TV shows too, I’ve just not explored any beyond Doctor Who

My last recommendation is a soundscape of a crackling fireplace in a studious (whispers: Hogwarts) environment. This newsletter was written to it. It doesn’t help me focus, but it’s pleasant. You can also customise existing mixes or create your own (which is why I love this website).

I recently launched a Discord server. It was originally named something like Asian Queer ADHD, because choosing dreary names is my passion. A friend suggested changing it to ‘ADHD Queeples’, similar to a separate Whatsapp group we joined called ‘ADHD Queeple’, and here we are.

I mostly use it to body double. I love that others are sharing their hyperfixations hobbies. We seem to be veering into mechanical keyboards and textiles, and I can also indulge in my new interest: learning to code a Python Discord bot.

A screenshot of my Zoom window, I am sitting in front of an illustration of cacti, some hipster plants, with birds and butterflies. I am looking down, pensive, and my face has a goatee filter put on it.
If I must be on Zoom, I will do this. I will add a beard.

The Discord was launched because I didn't want to use Zoom/Google, which is where the Whatsapp group primarily body doubles. Now that the informal group on Whatsapp is an expanding initiative, its founder and I are talking.

The Whatsapp group is now fresh on Instagram and Twitter, with a goal to educate people about ADHD and how the symptoms affect queer people. The names are now nearly identical, but these accounts are technically separate from the Discord, with some overlap in community and lack of attention in communicating the details.

I’ll be looking to better integrate or more clearly separate the spaces depending on what the Whatsapp founder and I discuss, as we have different approaches to inclusivity and security. My best case scenario is that we find significant overlap in principles (very likely) and mechanics of how those manifest.

It looks like we share doing this with service and community in mind, and we’re not looking to profit from it (unlike some tech bros). The rest can be worked out.

Overall, my interest is that many options exist to serve different needs! I love having access to multiple queer ADHD spaces, and finding more of my people. Some friends laughed at my “strong uwu vibes” when I couldn't find body doubles at the start. It is thanks to others on the channel now that I managed to meet my research paper’s deadline (and manage the uwu).

I want more spaces for ADHD and queer folk. If you're queer, ADHD, and would like to join the Discord, give me a shout!

I have been struggling for a while to replace GoodReads. I miss the lively bookworm community, but not enough to continue using an Amazon platform. After testing a few alternatives, I am happy to report that I am now settling into Open Library. An added perk is that I migrated my GoodReads database over!

It’s run by the same team that does The Internet Wayback Machine on Archive.org. I appreciate that there are no current plans to charge for the service, and afaik, they only earn a token fee from affiliate marketing purchases.

A cutout of my hand holding up an open page of Banned in KL, to the postcard "Banned in KL", which looks like a faded zine poster with punk letters cut out, and a black and white image of someone jumping onstage with wild hair, in shorts.The title of the page reads 1990s Banned in KL at Voodoo Lounge Kuala Lumpur
Have I even read all the texts? No. But is it such a pretty book that I enjoy holding? Yes.

I also added a book into Open Library’s catalogue! My most recent purchase: Banned in KL, Astroboy Rides The Wave to SkyKingdom on A Grasshopper, which looks at Malaysian history through 15 postcards. It’s by new indie publisher cloud projects, and retails at RM50.

This is a book that dreams of imagination, chaos, and being something bigger than a collection of postcards — however, it does leave some of that heavy lifting to your hands. I like it most when the connections it makes occasionally wanders, like from the rotan grasshopper swatter, to 1900s locust swarm sightings, to the bloodthirsty pelesit spirits. Pick up a copy if you can! The publishers are also launching Wawasan 2020 in about 9 days.

That’s all for this time. I’m glad I didn't put off writing this newsletter. Like I said, it’s good to be back.


PS: This newsletter is free, but you can help it grow by being a paid subscriber, or buying me a cup of coffee. Thank you for reading! 🏳️‍🌈💁🏻‍♂️🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟