9/12/12

Women and Girls series: Rapunzel, a Disney Princess with ADHD.


When I went on a father-daughter date to see Disney’s Tangled in theaters last year, I, even as an adult, found myself identifying with the curious, outspoken, and (at times) petulant character of Rapunzel. She represented a Disney princess who, despite being locked in a tower for most of her childhood, displayed the “go-get’em” attitude of a true heroine (and without having to lose her voice in the process!).

Prior to taking her first steps out into world, and over the course of that journey, discovering who she truly is, Rapunzel launches into the song, “When Will My Life Begin?” While listening to these lyrics, I began to reflect upon myself as a young girl with ADHD and what that experience was like for me.

Re: Me as a little girl with ADHD. One part pink. One part knight.
ADHD manifests itself differently in girls. Sure, we’re still as feisty, creative, and at times, as lost as the boys, but some girls with ADHD also embody the spirit of a dreamer or else, as mentioned in “What is Burnout?,”  the little girl who does too much.

Rapunzel embodies both of these as she wiles away the morning hours, jumping from activity to activity and multiplying into various versions of herself to accomplish all that she aims to for the day (from painting to darts to reading to pottery and ventriloquy). Heck, I relate to that busy-as-as-bee lifestyle as a woman in my twenties with ADHD.

At times, Rapunzel leans against her tower walls, visibly worn out from all that she has done and all that she has yet to do. But still, she continues, unable to choose which book to read (and so takes out “two or three”), or else rehearses ballet while competing in a game of chess. The indecisiveness, the overflow of creativity, the tendency to multi-task, the curiosity, the impatience to pursue something greater than what she has are all characteristics of ADHD and shine throughout this musical montage.

For all of you girls and women out there with ADHD, Scholastic has released a list of six other signs that can be recognized as symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. These include:
1. Nonstop Talking
2. Friendship Troubles
3. Difficulty Paying Attention
4. Exceptional Messiness
5. Unfinished Work
6. Emotionality
“Girls and ADHD: Are You Missing the Signs?,” by Caralee Adams.

Maybe you recognize yourself in these symptoms, or maybe you’ve discovered a few of your own. Either way, I’d love to hear from you! Email me at WriteToJulianna or comment below.

For more posts about Women & Girls with ADHD, check out the series below or click through to the full list here!
Girls, Women, Femininity, and ADHD (a new blog series!)
Too often when I seek out resources on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), I come across stories of children, adolescents, and grown men who have struggled with the symptoms of ADHD. But what of we women? 
The Legend of the Mermaid : Believe in Your Differences
Recently I turned to Fulghum’s essay “The Mermaid” and was charmed by the anecdote about the small child who in a game of Giants, Wizards, and Dwarfs asked, in all sincerity, “Where do the Mermaids stand?” (pg.73) If you’re familiar with this camp game, you already know that, unfortunately, there are no Mermaids included on the team roster... 



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