I HAVE ADHD PODCAST - Episode #254

March 12, 2024

Years Old And Learning To Read With Oliver James

I’m beyond excited to share this episode with the one and only Oliver James. At 35 years old, Oliver is learning how to read for the first time.

You might have seen him on TikTok, Good Morning America, The Rachael Ray Show, or NPR, where he’s shedding light on functional illiteracy.

After being diagnosed with ADHD and OCD as a child, Oliver spent most of his life struggling to keep up both in and out of the classroom until a string of bad choices found him in prison.

On the other side, Oliver continued to struggle. His ADHD and OCD left him desperate for answers but not sure where to turn — until he decided to teach himself how to read in 2020. Oliver captured the raw journey on TikTok, where he ended up going viral.

Over the past four years, Oliver’s story has inspired millions. He’s now using his powers for good as a public speaker and advocate for adult literacy. I truly cannot wait for you to hear his story.

You can follow Oliver on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.



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Kristen Carder 0:05
Welcome to the I have ADHD podcast, where it’s all about education, encouragement and coaching for adults with ADHD. I’m your host, Kristen Carter and I have ADHD. Let’s chat about the frustrations, humor and challenges of adulting relationships working and achieving with this neurodevelopmental disorder. I’ll help you understand your unique brain. Unlock your potential and move from point A to point B. Hayward what’s up? This is Kristen Carter and you are listening to the I have ADHD podcast. I am medicated. I’m caffeinated. I am regulated. And I’m ready to roll.

I can’t wait to chat with you today. I have a really special guest. I’ve been dying to get him on the podcast. We are finally here and ready to chat Oliver. James is here. He is a tick tock sensation motivational speaker. And in his tic tock videos, Oliver introduces himself by saying I’m a 35 year old man who struggles with reading. However, it wasn’t long ago that he would say I can’t read. He opens up about many deep struggles that he’s gone through with learning to read and his mental health. He has ADHD. He has OCD. We’re gonna get into all of that. His story is inspiring. And he ended up being interviewed on ABCs Good Morning America, the Rachael Ray show, NPR and other major outlets and we get him today. So fun. He was also recently featured in People Magazine. In October, he was awarded the 2023 National Literacy honors award by the Barbara Bush Foundation for the light that he has shed on being functionally illiterate. When he’s not working on reading or speaking, Oliver is tackling another new frontier, which is parenting his son, born last January. That’s so fun. I’m so excited to chat with you today. Oliver, thank you so much for being here with me. Thank you. Thanks for having me. So fun. So would you mind just getting started by sharing your story? So you’re 35? You consider yourself I guess, actually, you can tell me? Do you still consider yourself functionally illiterate? Or is that something that is a part of your past? Like, where would you say that you are,

Oliver James 2:26
I’m writing that I’m writing the core of Funch functionally illiterate. Before I was I couldn’t read. Like there was the other, even though I could read as a person, like who probably understands, you know, the brain when it comes to differences. You know, if you don’t know, like, if no one’s taught you like, Hey, you’re a reader, you will grow up your entire life, even if you know how to read not knowing how to read like so even though I knew a few words and stuff, I had no idea what reading was I it was so foreign to me, like I just did not know anything about it. Now, I consider myself a functionally illiterate person, because I’m aware of my issue. And I’m focused on it. And I understand that I have something that’s hindering me from being equal to everyone in the world. But I’m acknowledging it and I’m happy about it. You know what I mean? Like, it’s mine, I’m like, No, this is my bad reading. And I mean, I’m happy about like, it’s actually a good thing. That like that part, that’s a really, you know, that’s a really hard twist in the brain. So I’m a functionally literate person, probably for like, the next 10 years or something, it’s gonna take a long time, you know, two, three distinct, if I do make it to that level, you know, we never know, I may always have just a handicap in that part, you know?

Kristen Carder 3:37
How is it that you went through a school system and didn’t learn to read? How did you get missed?

Oliver James 3:46
You know, looking at it now, it’s easy, because you know, how humans deal with things, adults, you know, we run from problems, we just make a bunch of issues, and we think we know what the heck we’re doing with everyone, everyone in this world. It was a time you know, it’s 90s. Everybody’s stuck on whatever they’re stuck on in that time. No one knows the actual trouble that’s going to be in my life. They just kind of gets it. Like if you don’t know how to read, you know, things are gonna be hard. If you don’t read, you might not be able to do this. You might not get a job. They just say it. But they’ve only ever seen it on like TV. The teachers never really, you know, they never really experienced the person grow up and be like, Look at who I am. That person usually ever like is in prison. They’re not around anymore. They never show back up. He just kind of fell off there. You know that? You see what happens? You don’t hear about him or nothing. Yeah. So for me, it’s like I don’t explain it. The adults is kind of similar to now we live in a world right now where we can see a lot of things going wrong. One of us could sit here and say that’s wrong. Why don’t we just not do that? It was that. Did you understand like we that problem where we’re like, right now we’re seeing you’re seeing all these kids from COVID. And I’m like, you can say it say what you want but I’m they’re gonna be me. And about 10 years, whatever issues are boiling up in there, but people know that but are they doing something to say? No, no, this is it, put some money in there. Let’s do this. This is our number one point. No, they’re just going to let it happen. And then we’re going to have a bunch of me’s, whatever they do sprout into the world to give it a name. Yeah, that’s what I’m saying to you. Like I was living in a time where everyone could have seen it. I’m an adult, I watch a kid, I can watch a kid for 10 seconds and be like, this kid. Parents is like this, or this kid needs to stop eating this, or this kids like, like, I could see it in 10 seconds. Yeah. I was among these adults every day, as they taught me as they see me. They gave me tests, and all that stuff. But they also understood that like, how do we fix something that we kind of broke in the beginning? Like, how do we do that? They don’t know. So I got to fix it myself. Like, all this stuff I’m doing is me just doing it just me just saying, I don’t know what you’re supposed to do. But I know I need to learn how to read. So whatever happens in that time, I’m gonna fix it. Like, that’s how I kind of been operating. I don’t know what the heck I’m doing.

Kristen Carder 5:55
To feel the fire coming through the screen from you about like, I don’t know what y’all broke. But I’m just gonna go ahead and fix it. That feels I can just feel that through the screen right now. And I’m wondering, at what point did you say, enough is enough? I’m going to acknowledge that I have an issue here. And I’m going to fix it myself. Like, what was that moment for you? You

Oliver James 6:23
know, I went to prison, I’ve done a lot of things. I was considered a bad kid in school, I never really wanted to listen to body it wasn’t. Because that’s what I wanted to do is just how I knew how to operate the world. There was no other way to operate the world. So when 2020 happen, it’s, it’s a place then in a time that everyone can acknowledge, like, whatever your life happened in 2020 just think like, so is mine, everyone got hit this exact same way, or whatever it is, we all felt uneasy, let’s just say that. Everyone, regardless if it was bothering you or not, that was a time when I realized everyone feels the same. I you know, my whole life, you gotta realize I’ve been feeling and you know how this is different. You know, like, everything’s harder. It’s hard. Everything’s hard. I’m like, gosh, I’m not gonna attempt that. Because it’s too hard. I’m not gonna do that thing over there. It’s too hard. But when 2020 happened, life was hard for everybody. I’m saying so equal the playing field for me to say, Okay, let’s try something that you’ve never done. Because right now the world is looking kind of equal for you. Like it was I lived in COVID time, my life, my life was more like COVID. So when people went into COVID, I was like, You’re scared of this, like, I get scared of this part. But I’m like, they’re scared of the other part. Like what I was like, gonna go back to normal or? Or is this like my least to my world everyday being shaped something switching? Because I’m following people. I’m learning. I’m working off of them. So they do something, I got to kind of change with them. I’m used to that. This is the first time the whole world was like, kind of like, Why me? You know, we people who got mental issues and things like that we do to why me? Why me not everyone felt like they had a mental issue. It made me feel in some way. It made me feel connected. Everyone had problems. You know, that felt like to sit around and be like, everyone got problem like, great. You know what, congratulations for feeling what I felt for 37 years and other people. There were many people were like, hey, COVID kinda suck. But I was at home minding my business didn’t have to work. I kind of wasn’t stressed out people who had mental issues. Kind of were like, I got to take, dangled, like, handle myself, deal with me. A lot of people took that time to do that, because we never understood the world. We were just like, man, I’ve been following this for so long now. COVID and I was like, I’m gonna make my own world now. Because there’s nothing going on. So I gotta be a 35 year old man reading right now. You know, whatever. It’s no one’s doing nothing. And it was that wasn’t it like that people were starting up new jobs going online starting on online careers. They were just making stuff up. Dears, alive was the ADHD ears. We’re like, I’m gonna start a podcast. We were just dreaming, right is part of the ADHD dream injury group. I’m like, this my time. I’ve always been the mental dude and had this. I could use some of my weird gifts like dancing in front of a camera or learning to read those are the ADHD things, you know? Yeah. But tick tock gave me the opportunity to said hey, we’re gonna give you some following will maybe give you a career out of this. I’m like, how are you gonna give me a career for my ADHD? Sit down, shut up stuff. You know, when you got all that energy in there? Like sit down, shut up. Don’t move. That turned into dance more fun, show me what you can do. And I was like, You’re gonna show me that y’all love me if I just give you me. And that’s how that kind of happened to get I mean, like, I was like, I gave you the weird me and y’all were like, congratulations. Thank you for being Miss. I’m like, you know, like, thank you. Like that’s how it kind of it happened. Like, when you join, I started something that most people won’t do. 35 years old started going on tick tock talk about my problems trying to become you know, new changing. That’s something that a college kid does a teenager you know, you change in your life. We’re not taught to do that at 3030. You know what I mean? We kind of keep our job and keep going. And I went in like a, like a kid literally graduate in high school, you know, when people asked me to wear like when I was learning like a kid. So 2020 is the only thing that could have allowed that to happen. You can say, like, any other time before 2020 know how the world was, we wouldn’t, they wouldn’t be able to make fun of me out of being a weirdo. But tick tock came and changed things. And it allowed me to be a free open person in that time to just express my troubles, my issues.

Kristen Carder 10:31
When it’s time to be alive. Yeah,

Oliver James 10:33
for especially for people like us who have neurodivergent. You know, this is a time where people were taking a look at it. I didn’t know what neurodivergent was just a month ago. No idea. And now people are talking about you going to restaurants, you can tell people like I’m new diverging. And I have issues with reading. And people are like, Oh, no problem. And they’ll come up and they’d be like, here, let me help you with the menu. I’m like, that wasn’t there. I’m trying to tell you before if I went up and may try to read that many people would have been like, come on, like, did it get on sir? Like, I don’t know. And maybe a person might jump in and be like, here, honey, let me help you. Back then No, people will just, you know, they may funny, or somebody might laugh, like a lot of Rebake. But now, it is totally different. It is a total different, not everywhere. But in many places people are looking at and saying, I don’t mean to be off the script, but I was at. I was at a restaurant the other day, there’s a neurodivergent person who was there. And I don’t know much about neurodivergent people, but I am one of them. I walk among the world of these people. And I’m like, I’m one of you. I just been posing like I’m not, but I’m one of these people I am. So I’m realizing that okay, I’m at this restaurant, fast food place. A guy comes in a really cool guy. You know, he’s part of the Cool World, pulls up his motorcycle goes in, he has this cool attitude on his phone was cool girlfriend. She thinks he’s cool. You know how the whole thing goes. And here goes neurodivergent person working at the front desk. He is who He is. Now he comes in and cool person comes in because he is cool. And he has to hold that personality. So soon as he comes in. He’s not acknowledging the person who’s at the front. He’s acknowledging himself. So as soon as he comes in, he’s like, Hey, let me get this. Let me get that. Let me get this dude have a little bit of this. And the dude who’s neurodivergent works on a certain, you know, high goals. He works on a pattern. So while he’s answering, he’s answering and seems ignorant. He’s like, Nope, we don’t have this or Nope, we don’t have that. How about this? Nope, we don’t care that Nope. And the guy wants more of a connection. Like what you do have, he’s like nothing. We don’t have anything, none of that type of that type of sauce. We will never carry that sauce. That’s not the sauce that our place carries. And the guy got upset like, Dude, you ain’t gotta get all cocky. Like, we’re just gonna make fun of me or so. And I jumped in. I jumped in and attacked him. I was like, Hey, sir. He’s neurodivergent. Literally his whole eyes everything all the cool left him. He was like a kid who got you got told something like a playground. He’s looking at his own. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. On the phone. Oh, let me go off honey. I talked to him a bit. I’m sorry, dude. Like, yeah. And I mean, and he started to work with him. He came into his world now. And the guy had no idea. He’s doing this. He’s neurodivergent. So he’s still like, Okay, I’m sorry, to what would you like? Like, he’s still in it. Like, now. Now he’s seeing this is a grown man. But I’m seeing afterwards, you know, he was done. We went outside. He thanked me. He was like, how do you know? Do they had you? I had no idea. I thought he was trying to be smart with me. And I was like, because I’m neurodivergent. And I think we used to think I was being smart with them too. And I was like, he did not mean that. Like, that’s how he is. Now afterwards, I go back into the restaurant. I’ll give him 20 bucks. You know, I ain’t got much money, but I felt it. I was like, Yo, here. You’re working here. You’re not making much money. I’m not an idiot. You know, I mean, like you probably in the world, probably hard for you every day. I’m sorry to tell you. I went nuts on I was like, Hey, listen, I don’t know how work is or whatever you but you’re 20 bucks. When you’re done work, get yourself a good meal, or some whatever you do, whatever it is, I don’t know, if you’re gonna be candy, whatever it is, go get it, you know, and just know that I’m one of you. I told him that. He shook my hand. He was like, thank you so much. No one’s ever, like, talk to me. Or, you know, he’s like, Thank you. Thank you, Oliver. Thank you. My name is Oliver. I was like, and I was like, I get it dude. Like, I get it. Like, I know, we’re different in our ways, but I do get it like, I can see, you have the heart of gold that he did. Like, he can’t do wrong. He doesn’t understand wrong, he just does what’s right in his mind. And it may come off as ignorant or passive or aggressive. But it doesn’t is how we enter stuff. And I don’t know that little bit right there. As you can see, I’m telling you to store it. It’s been changing me. Like I feel like I know, I’m neurodivergent but I know I can pose as a regular and not saying nothing. You know, I mean, it kind of just, I can’t No more because I realize I’m like you are like one of the people who can walk the earth. Seeing both like, I can see that people who don’t mean to be that way and then I can see the people who take it wrong. Because I have a mind that works in that pattern in a weird way. It’s hard to explain but as I’m learning to read, I’m gaining more awareness on it and figuring out more about it.

Kristen Carder 14:53
I just absolutely love this and I think that it it really speaks to those of us who You can pose as typical, being interpreters for people who are not able to pose as typical and who may be misinterpreted. And so it’s almost like this responsibility that you and I and others like us carry, wear, because we have the privilege of being able to pose and pretend and mask and make the world think that we are, quote unquote, typical or normal. We have the responsibility then to be interpreters for those who don’t. And I feel that so deeply. I’m so glad you told that story. I feel that so deeply.

Oliver James 15:40
Me too, I’m glad I stuck up for it. Because it’s one of the first times I’ve ever was strong enough to do it. That’s the truth. I get them. And that’s, that’s hurts me. Because I’ve known him at times, I might have joined in on it. And they like, you know what I mean? And I’m like, when I was young, and I knew in my show, I was like, you’re not, you know what’s wrong here, like, Stop, like, Don’t do this. But I didn’t get taught what was wrong with myself. So I was trying to pose as normal more I wanted to be, you know, I goes, you want to be more on this side. You can’t like you don’t want people to know your issues. They’re like, I have those same issues. But I’m like, You will never know this. Like, I won’t tell you look at what they’re doing the head, you know, I mean, I’m like, looking bigger than him. I don’t want to do that to me. But now, you know, I can do like you said, I’m taking on my own, like, as an adult, my own imprint my own privilege. Yeah. Because it’s a privilege to have this is to be able to do this, because you see, this person will have this privilege, you at least have this. And to me, it it for years, it felt kind of like a you know how it goes like, like a curse. Because, you know, it’s like, it’s like, you can walk to different worlds. And you know how that goes. Like, it’s like, it’s so weird, because you’re constantly walking in someone else’s headspace. Like trying to make sure you’re not stepping on your toes or making nothing seem uncomfortable for them. Knowing that you’re like, I’m just existed and dude, like me existence, maybe be really hard for you. I’m sorry to tell you, but it will be really hard for you. But for me, I’m gonna be great. You know me like because you get what I mean. And for people who can’t switch, like you said, they’re very ignorant to your ways, which is great, but I can see it. I know that something’s wrong. And I can’t that now I know now to step in and just be like, Nope, that can’t happen like this. I want them to have an equal playing field on you know how the world is like, they need to have a space as well, like you should know about, you know, like, you should know about him like that, ya know, like that. That’s what I’m saying. And the only way to know is if you have people like us, who could step in and be like, let me open your brain. When you do though. It is literally like, they feel like they’re taken advantage of somebody you know, that feeling like they meet you can see it in their eyes. They wake up and are like, Oh my god, oh my gosh, like there’s some, you know, don’t get me wrong. They go over the top, like, is he like, slow? is like, No, it doesn’t look slow to you. Our business? I’m like, No, not slow. It’s actually a genius. Genius. Like you, in your world. In your mind. You can’t see someone different and think that that’s a tedious level of thinking. Yeah. I mean, I can see I’m like that dudes, probably a genius. You get what I mean? Like you. And I would know that for him. He thinks he’s like, barely can say like, letters or words are tight. Dude is a genius. I’m telling you, but his level of genius doesn’t fit in this world. You can’t be a genius in this world. That’s what I’m saying. Like too many people.

Kristen Carder 18:30
Okay, so you mentioned that this was one of the first times that you had the courage to step in and kind of interpret, you know, stand up for something like that. And what I’m curious about is, was that because you’re finally being vulnerable with the world? And you’re finally sharing your own struggles, your own story? Is that what gave you the courage to then be vulnerable in that moment? Or or kind of out yourself? Maybe, you know, as you are standing up for this other person? Was it the vulnerability that you’ve been kind of displaying in the last year or couple years? You know, I

Oliver James 19:07
think it was a mixture of all of it. I think the best thing is, the vulnerability people don’t realize came because I started teaching myself something hard. I didn’t know what vulnerability was, you know, I mean, I had an understanding of vulnerability from my understanding. I’ll understand that when I started learning how to read vulnerability changed. So I always had the ability to step stick up for people and doodles, and I did it my whole life. Only different was when I acknowledged like my own problems, then it allowed me to stick up for people in places that I acknowledged I just couldn’t see it. I was always one of those people who jump in and say something, but if it doesn’t hit me, I used to die. But why would I care? I’m not gonna care about it. Once I started reading, I understood and this is scary for many people. That understood me more. Because I realized I’m like, if you didn’t learn to read my mind, you guys saw real issues going on up top, especially in a world that is Designed for you to read, it’s a world, it’s made up for that, like it’s think of someone made something up. And then they were like, okay, the rules of this game is you got to know how to read. Because we’re creating a game, this is a whole illusion, it’s a fake an illusion for you. In this illusion, you need to know how to read. Now, if you don’t got that, you got to understand, like, the rules of this game have been made up kind of by yourself, like you just made, I made up the rules of life, I just made things up in my head, you know, that can be so hard, you know, like, you can’t do that. Like, that’s something you cannot because you don’t know, the world, the world’s already been running before you got here. Behaviors, people’s manipulated taxes, their anger, their frustration, their ways. They parent, mom, dad, sister, brother, Christmas cards, everything, we’re here. So when you got here, if you just started making it up, that can be a problem, because it’s already made up before you got here. People are gonna be sitting here kind of saying, like, were you to come and try to switch this. This is the way it goes. That can make a person neurodivergent people who just go, why don’t like Christmas on Christmas? Why don’t I get into neurodivergent people might say something. Like, why do you think you come here putting Christmas in June? I’m like, Well, why do you have it on? Yes, like that day? Like, I don’t understand, like, who did that? It will told me it has to be that way. Like don’t ask don’t ask questions. That’s a neurodivergent mind. You know, when I was like, Oh my gosh, that’s me as a kid. Like, why am I doing Christmas? I can have Christmas every day? No, like, but why not? Because it’s not the way it goes. But technically, you could do right? Like, no, people will tell you that and you’re like, but my brain couldn’t understand that. My brain is like it just I don’t think you get what I’m saying to you. It doesn’t make sense. Why can’t I have Christmas today? I just had it yesterday. Because the way that you want it to be like you start to realize you’re gonna mean like, totally, those things. Were always there for me. You see what I’m saying? I was always this kind of kid in person growing up. But I was unaware of it. No one was explaining like, yes, you’re technically right. Christmas is something you could if you wanted to do every day. It’s like no one could think on that level of thinking they were just kind of like, stopped doing that. Yeah, don’t like You’re like kind of stopping. But I’m like, I can’t stop something I am. I’m not doing this on purpose. I didn’t make this I’m just a person. I’m a human being. Why am I doing this like that? It’s a lot. Like I said, You It’s easy to talk to people who have these things, because then you can get it. But if you don’t get it, you probably be thinking like I mean, you’re talking in riddles. You’re tiny. I’m like, No, this is a real thing. Because this is how my brain function. I don’t mean for it to be this way. Right. I’ve always known I had issues with ADHD, OCD. I’ve had these things, but I made them regular in your society. Like it’s like he’s like, I was doing OCD, ADHD, having these things, mental things, not thinking different not being able to handle but then acting like it’s not there. Yep, that’s it. That’s all I was doing. But it’s there for 30 some years. It was so hard to be able to stick up for anybody because I’m not even like sticking up for myself. I’m not even knowing myself. All this like that. Yeah, I mean, I don’t know. As soon as I started reading, it was like, here’s a little bit of something you’ve been missing your whole life, awareness, awareness of yourself, what do you think about yourself? And immediately I start to be like, Well, why is it that it’s wrong? I’m like this, why everything because all these years, people have been kind of telling you. Now how do you feel when I started to take over and think I’m like, Well, I want to walk different. I want to talk different. I want to be me. I want people to know I have OCD, OCD, and I want people to know I struggle when I want people to know I have. It was because I acknowledged it. Then I realized I’m like, I have this, this is me. This is not you with the problem, are you it’s me. It’s like Yes. Can you know about it? Like yeah, hey, I don’t worry. Well, why are you telling me because I haven’t told you about in 37 years. It tells you. I don’t know why I haven’t said this. And like that. Reading helped me acknowledge myself, which it became easy to express because I’ve always been this type of person. I just didn’t know it. I had no acknowledgement of who I was like. But it’s like, yeah, you see how wild that is? It’s like a reading gave me a little voice. A little voice that will say, here, like, this is you. This is who you are. And I’m like, Oh my gosh, like, it’s scary. I’m not gonna lie. I was like, Oh my gosh, why am I this? Why am I but I always knew that. I’m like, you’ve always known this. Why are you acting like you don’t know. Is it because you never acknowledged yourself? You never knew you? That that once that happened, I start to see everybody. Like me, people, I started walking around, like, you’re like me. You’re like me, you’re like me. Like, I didn’t see him. I had no idea. But now I walk around and like you’re like, I’m gonna be at the grocery store. I’m like, huh, now the ADHD are in my head. I’m like, congratulations. I wonder if you know you like I wonder if you know you got this. Yeah, there’ll be people who had no idea they’re in the lines. You ever see them? They’re like, wonder if the person knows and they don’t. They’ve been posed. Unless something else, I have no idea like it. Has this ever happened you every time you come to the grocery store? Yeah, I’m like, it’s probably going to be that way. This isn’t where you are, I’m like, but they don’t, they don’t know that and scoot, including myself. Now I go into the grocery store I’m trying to tell you is this like, I’m reliving childhood. Again, I have the green light to you just straight up. This sounds crazy. And this is something I may do have the green light to run around and getting some go inside of some of the clothes and just hanging them. And like, because I’m like, I’m pretty flat. But somebody might look at me like, I’m crazy. Like, what are you doing under them clothes and run around the curve. I’m like, I’m healing my mental. I’m sorry. Let me do this. I came nine on the air for a little bit and had some fun. But no one can say nothing to me because I’m an adult. So when I’m done, I’ll clean it up. And then I’ll go on about my way like you. I mean, like, when I was a kid, I might be yelled at. And when I got in trouble by a worker, you know all these but I was like I was just exploring. You know, there’s another world when I went under the clothes, like I was in another world, and I was living in another space. And it’s like, but you thought I was just being a bad kid running around the store. You know what I mean? Like that is like, that’s the parts I live now in those spaces. Like you’re a 35 year old man hiding under clothes like your kid, I’m like, You have no idea what I’m doing right now. I am healing the hell out of me.

Kristen Carder 26:19
That’s the truth, healing your inner child, one trip to the store at a time.

Oliver James 26:28
Like me would know that, like I remember those. I know that. I understand that they will get it. Thank you. Thank you for doing that. Because people who did that we didn’t try to be bad, or we just did not know how to control our beings, or people who we are. That’s all it really was.

Kristen Carder 26:44
It sounds like reading kind of woke you up to yourself? Yeah. Like learning how to read gave you an awareness of self and even like an inner monologue, like the ability to think and like observe your thinking and notice that like, Oh, I am I am thinking right now I am having thoughts like, I don’t know that that’s exclusive to literacy. I think that that is part of like the ADHD journey, as we like, are waking up to ourselves and like, oh, my gosh, I have thoughts and my thoughts matter. And like all of that, it’s just so while I don’t relate to the literacy part I relate to realizing that I’m a person, if that makes sense. Like, I’m a I’m a person. Oh, I have thoughts. Oh, my thoughts are kind of like, dictating what I do. And I could think different thoughts if I want, like I had no, why didn’t anybody teach me this when I was a child, you know? Yes. So I totally relate to like the waking up to yourself. Part. Totally,

Oliver James 27:53
it just so happened that this is the part that and again, it may not happen for everybody. Reason why it happened to me in this way is because you got to realize I didn’t do something that I probably should have been taught as a kid, books probably would have gave me a little insight of certain things or might have helped me. But I didn’t, didn’t have no one teaching me nothing. Books are teaching me. It’s all it is. It’s just teaching me how to be myself. And so it’s a really weird place. I think that’s why a lot of this becomes what it becomes. Because because I have these issues because I have all these things. Reading has been a really big part because people are starting to see what reading could do to an individual who doesn’t do it. So we’ve got a person who’s like, Man, this person’s going in that prison. They don’t know. I’m like, did they read? Like, no, I’m like, do you know if you like, again, you give them medicine or other but if you sat that person down for three weeks, and gave them the understanding of like you just read don’t matter if you get good at it or not. There’s something in reading that opens up your brain and started to like, you know, I read on it like your frontal cortex. Think about never use that. It’s like you never use that part of your brain like no. Well, let’s give it a try. Let’s turn it on. How do you do that? I don’t know. What’s the thing you don’t do? I don’t read. Well, here, let’s stroke. Let’s throw some flame on that fire. Like let’s do jump on in there. Like what do you mean? Here’s a book read what you got. Your brain is gonna immediately start going into shock. Like, I don’t want this. I want to quit. There you go. Now we’re finding Oliver. Why do you want to quit? I don’t know. Who are you? What’s quitting? I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m frustrated. And oh, here you go. Here you go. This is who you are. Frustration. Anger. Have you ever dealt with this? No. You need to like you need to understand that. This is not how you feel when you pick up a book, my friend. This is not. This is not the relationship between books. And I’m like, Oh my gosh, this is not the relationship like no, it should be the total opposite. You should sit down feel comfortable. If you’re, this is your time. This is your space to relax and take something in. I don’t feel that. That’s when I started to realize I was like no, this is going to be a journey because if you start to feel that there’s something you’ve never felt Ever. I mean, I’ve never felt that. So I think that’s why I’ve have such a high energy or so much passion behind it because it’s, it’s like a drug. From not reading, I have reading like a drug. So someone goes and smokes a cigarette or something, I could be stressed out and start reading a book. And that’s like a cigarette, because that’s what I have to explain it, but it’s not supposed to happen this way. A 35 year olds not supposed to have an awakening about what reading could do to him and how much he doesn’t have had that as a grown through it. So I think that’s why it looks a lot of like, Whoa, dude, you’re a person who can’t read who also deals with mental issues that now is that, like, I’m learning how it is, no one’s taught me I don’t no idea what this is. If I never learned how to read, yeah, that’s the part that makes me scary. You know, I mean, like that part, like, because this is important for people to understand how important it is, when you’re younger, and you don’t know how to read, you have enough energy to do other things to help you get by. When you start getting older, you don’t have that. And the only thing you have are the tools that you’ve built up over the years. Now, I can’t use those tools that I was using that as a young manipulation, you know, lying, cheating gaslighting, because that’s what you do. Use that now. 35 people were gonna look at you and be like, I’m not dealing with you, like you, I’m sorry to tell you or you’re too old for that. When you’re young, you might have a young person participate. Your significant other your mom, everybody still has energy to help you. As you start getting up into 30s and 40s. They’re like, hey, we lose in our lives. We all don’t care about you. Sorry to tell you about it, you better figure it out. And that’s what it says become. Yeah. So I have no choice but to learn. When I learned it gave me another life. I get to live like a kid without parents. I’m my own parent. I’m the parent. I’m the teacher. I’m the guru. I’m the monk. I’m the lesson teacher on everything. I’ve become that.

Kristen Carder 31:57
Oh, gosh. Okay, this is a perfect segue into a question that I have written down because I really wanted to ask you, how has learning to read helped you to break generational curses? Well,

Oliver James 32:12
it immediately puts a different picture into everybody’s mind. That is now watching what’s going on. And I don’t mean, I don’t mean just watching. I mean, everyone, my kids, my mom, my sisters, my brothers, everyone who’s watching me, because they are not able to see me. As a person who doesn’t like read. I didn’t make reading, like I learned how to read congratulations, I made reading my life. So meaning like my kids know me as a reader. I mean, like, they might think that’s my job, like dad reads for his job or something like I made it like an accession. Like I’m up. So I know that my kids, they do this like thinking it’s like a part of our family. Like my son, my little one, he wakes up, he jumps off the bed, he runs over to a book and just starts carrying it around and starts like messing around with he just thinks it’s a part of life. He doesn’t understand that it’s hard. He doesn’t know how to read, he just doesn’t carry. He was like whatever is in there. I want to know, let me give you he hands it to me, I read it to him. He doesn’t have any disconnection towards it. Because there’s nothing for him to have that I show a love for it. So as long as I’m showing the love, he thinks this thing is the coolest thing ever. All kids will do that. Because I’m just sitting there with my book. So he might jump up on my lap and start trying to rip my book out of my hand and then take it and try to look at it himself. It’s the same thing with a phone or if you had something else, they’ll do that. But I realized I’m like, I’m just literally programmed to think that books are amazing. Like books are supposed to just be played with touched. You just carry it for no reason. Like, why am I carrying this? I don’t know. It’s in my hand. I just need it. That’s what he thinks. He thinks that it’s a part of his life like he needed to grow up. So that’s the breaking the curse my I never had books in my house. So I didn’t realize I’m like, my kids will grow up with books. Like I grew up with the things in my brain. I know my mom drank as a kid. I know she smoked cigarettes as a kid. She didn’t know that. I shouldn’t know she read as a kid, right? But but the world didn’t teach her that I can’t fault her for that. Because that was a time that she was getting through hard times as a single mom, and this is the stuff she needed to use. But I’m acknowledging I’m like, This was her fight. My fight was like, I wish I would have woke up and see her reading in the morning. Give me a kiss on the forehead, like Mary Poppins or something, you know, I mean, that’s what I wanted. But that didn’t happen. I might have gotten a scream and get your butt up and get ready for school and she might be smoking a cigarette and yelling at me. But I didn’t understand that that was going to be my internal monologue. When I realized I was like no when we get older baby what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna change this. We’re gonna break those curses by bringing things into the house that wasn’t in my house. There was no books now you’re going to my house was books all over it. They just laid on the floor pages ripped all over good. That’s how the house is the house is full of books. Like why because I want you to be in the future when you grow up. Have books everywhere. I mean, we can go nowhere. I used to rip them throw them out. I said whatever you were kid, but you have books. You don’t know there’s no separation. Now they’ll just it’s So weird, but they’ll just grow up like probably like you or anyone else. Like you don’t even know what reading is like I just had it right and gave it to me and I got it me. I gotta go to it. I gotta go pick it up. Like when I get up in the morning, I pick reading up and I bring it with me. It’s not a part of me. I gotta bring it with me. Because if I don’t, I won’t read anything at all.

Kristen Carder 35:17
Yeah. Oh, it’s so good. Yeah.

Oliver James 35:20
Can I drop this bikal?

Kristen Carder 35:22
Good, yeah.

And now, a word from our sponsor. Hey, Kristen here. And the host of this podcast, an ADHD expert and a certified life coach, who’s helped hundreds of adults with ADHD understand their unique brains and make real changes in their lives. If you’re not sure what a life coach is, let me tell you, a life coach is someone who helps you achieve your goals like a personal trainer for your life. A life coach is a guide who holds your hand along the way as you take baby step after baby step to accomplish the things that you want to accomplish. A good life coach is a trained expert, who knows how to look at situations or situations with non judgmental neutrality, and offer you solutions that you’ve probably never even considered before. If you’re being treated for your ADHD, and maybe even you’ve done some work in therapy, and you want to add to your scaffolding of support, if you’ve got to join my group coaching, program focused, focused is where functional adults with ADHD surround each other with encouragement and support. And I lead the way with innovative and creative solutions to help you fully accept yourself, understand your ADHD and create the life that you’ve always wanted to create, even with ADHD. Go to I have adhd.com/focused to join. And I hope to see you in our community today.

Oliver James 37:10
Okay, thank you. Sorry.

Kristen Carder 37:14
You good? Yeah,

Speaker 1 37:16
the guy, not the nicest guy in the world. Sometimes, you have to deal with those. You know how you know you’re different. And I’m like, code switching. For me. It’s really easy, but it’s usually hard because like, I’m also raised, and this is a weird thing, but just cool to get on camera too. But I’m also raised in a black community. I speak very proper, and I coach which so I’m like going, I’d be like, nice, Oliver. But I’m still like smack the shit out of you, Oliver, because I was raised in the hood. So in my mind, some people might be like, ignorant or mean to me, but I’m in my head. I’m like, you realize I probably could knock your head off your shoulders. But I’m still like, I’m broken. But I’m like, congratulations. Thank you so much. I’m like, Oh, I have to be. I have to be like mask Oliver right now. Because where you are, you know what I mean? Like, but people don’t get that they don’t understand that. Like your brain is completely shattered. Like in so many different things. I’m like, I’ve been raised that way like to react certain things do certain things. And I’m like, why am I raised like this? This is so messed up. But I can see that other people are raised to not understand like, you like in some weird way. It’s weird as heck. But persons really mean the person who cares, just like

Kristen Carder 38:21
that. Yeah, it’s so rude. And if you need to take a minute to like, get your body calm down. We can do that. Because like when someone is rude to me. Yeah. I get so dysregulated like the bring me I can barely think

Oliver James 38:40
it’s so weird. But I think that’s the part that I don’t understand. That’s why I’m starting to get like, I’m like, it has nothing to do with me. It’s like, it’s, uh, you know, that’s why I’m realizing like, this has nothing to do with you, man. Like, even my personality will bother people because I know me that I’m like, I can’t be my real self. Because a lot of my real self, you would not even be able to handle it. Like, that’s why like, I have to be in there like, Okay, this person’s having an issue. Regarless if they’re not or not, this is who they are. I’m like, okay, just hold it in. Like, I’ll be like, Okay, thank you so much, sir. Thank you. Okay. And then I leave and I’m like, but you can see how the way they were treating you. And I’m like, it’s weird, because like, I was saying, there’s like, I have these disabilities and stuff. So I was trying to like, figure out where to go or something, but they’re not like you don’t know where to go. Or the plan says it right here. You should and I’m just saying, okay. Okay, like, I’m sorry. It’s just like, Mom, you know, like, Did you Did I don’t go further in but you just tell them what people are talking. I’m like, I’m so sorry. I just struggle with this. And like, I don’t know why you struggle. It’s right there. I’m just like, Okay, I’m so sorry. I know what you know, like little things like that when you get into and you realize like, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. Don’t worry. But you realize you’re like I can’t explain this to our can break this like if I did. It will just you know it will make you think like I’m attacking you or something. I know that. You know that you’re not supposed to do that like I had like, they will immediately think like you’re attacking them and I’m like, no, let me stop. I have no idea what

Kristen Carder 39:57
it is. so interesting to think about the term that you use, like code switching. And like walking through life, especially for you, like not just neurodivergent, but also, you know, code switching as a black man. And it’s just like, so much of interacting is deciding which version of me is going to be showing up right now. Who’s gonna show up? Like, am I gonna be vulnerable about my struggles? Or am I gonna pose and pretend that I have no struggles? Am I going to speak in a very mild mannered, and calm tone? Or am I going to unleash the rage on this person? And I mean, I’m just a white lady from the suburbs. So I don’t understand all of that. But I do understand making myself small in order to make other people feel comfortable.

Oliver James 40:53
Yep. Yep. There’s no difference. No matter where you come from you we all got it? Yeah, you hit it right on the nail. So you basically see, like, I have to, like, no matter what I was, like, I have to, you have to do this right now. Like you can see like in your world, and like, this is a business. This is people. I’m like, you want to change you? Like, do you know who you how you’re, you can’t, you know, you’re sitting here like to stop, stop and just take this one as a loss. Yeah, you know, somewhere down the line, it will make itself up like this, take this. And I have to, there’s many times I’m sitting there. I’m like, I’m not even being myself. I’m just like, just take it as a loss. Yeah. And go on about your day. And I, you know, I credit a lot of this, I don’t think you get it. But I’ve been to prison. So obviously, I’m in the prison, because I couldn’t handle the choices I made and the decisions, I was making bad choices. Now, you know, I credit reading to help me make these like this, like being able to sit here and say, You know what that guy was so mean, in the past, I probably would have, like, argued or said something or because I was reading it wrong. And certain things like it didn’t matter. Because he would wait, it was like some person was making you feel it didn’t matter. Yeah. But now I think I’m sitting here, I’m realizing now I’m like, this is just the way the world works. You’re starting to be aware of you know, how to be a little bit more smarter for yourself, because you can’t change everyone, everyone’s probably in some of them are in a worse position than you posing to be in a better situation. And like it’s all white, you know what I mean? Like, it’s like, oh, my gosh, so at some sensitive way. It’s hard, like you’re saying, but you got to sit back and realize it like that. You think you’re in pain? That person’s probably in way more pain than you? Yeah. And he looked like they gotta go. No. And that’s what I’m realizing. Because if that was the case, these people wouldn’t act that way. It’s so weird, but it was No, it wouldn’t I don’t have no reason to act that way.

Kristen Carder 42:34
If they were happy and healthy and healed. Yeah, they would just be kind. Yes. And so we can makethat assumption, like well they’re not happy, healthy and healed, because they can’t just be kind to a stranger who’s returning? Like, it’s not that hard. Yeah. Reminds me of what you said earlier about, you know, as as a kid, when you had like, very little self awareness, and you were a kid, and you just were like, I don’t understand how the world works. Like, why does the world work this way? And, and you kind of brought your own rules. And now as an adult, with more self awareness, you’re realizing, okay, the world does work this way. So how can I use that to my advantage when I need to? Yeah, my own understanding, right? So like, you just use it to your advantage when you have to? And maybe other times, you’re, you don’t, but having that awareness is

Oliver James 43:33
goes both ways. I think people are starting to realize now like, because a lot of people are starting to realize like the person with the problem doesn’t need to be I mean, has to be aware just as much as the person who doesn’t have the problem. Yeah, like you both think we’re starting to realize that back in the day, it was only the person who had the problem had to be aware, as much as you possibly can. And then the other person just was just like, whatever. Like they just brushed it off, like that person got problems. Now, I think people were starting to be like, Hey, you both need to be aware. Like we like oh, like, I think that’s where we’re starting realize we both need to be aware, like, oh, this person is like this. I’m like this. He’s like, Okay, we know how to handle this person, like we know how to do like, but I think we’re getting into that, just to think of how small our world is when no one thinks alike, but everyone’s acting like they do. Not one person in this world thinks exactly the same. But we have built a world that everyone’s supposed to act like it is the same every single person. How confusion, this is so confusing, especially to a mind like mine. When I realized like, I’m like, I know every individual is a different being internally. I can see them, I can feel them. But I can see many of them. When I look at them. I’m like, You’re not this person. You act as this person. Like I can see it from the way you look, you act like this all the time. Like that’s how you act. But that’s the thing like that’s the part that I’ve noticed that like, how did the entire world be able to trick us to believe that there’s a certain group in this world that live among us the right way? Yeah, but even those people are the ones who lived the most wrong But the pose as the right way, it’s an image begins it like, but has everyone following that image like it’s the right way, knowing that you’re like, This isn’t real. This isn’t a real image. That’s how it is living in the mind of like my mind where I’m realizing. I don’t know if y’all know what’s real or not. But when you have neurodivergent mind, like this situation, I have to realize it’s a fake situation that you take serious. So you have to realize I had to seriously like, oh, this person believes they’re protected by all this situation, but I’m like, yes, they feel like this is the right time to treat you this way. But if you ran into them at the grocery store, and the grocery line that probably led to butter I wouldn’t even say I’m like you’ve come on now. I’m like, your six to black dude. Probably you know me like me thing. I’m like this dude’s at five foot bath ball. Do you think this dude really tried I’m like known as do group and privilege all the time, like, but you see what I’m saying? His image is clouded by his opera, his life, his business, certain things I’m like, but in that was the same thing in schools. The same thing with teachers. They were treating me and beat me in elementary school because I was beat by my teachers in elementary school. So I was beat from second grade to about fifth grade by my elementary school teachers and special education. That’s why I didn’t learn to read. So like, I was beat by them. Yeah. So like, they used to call it restraining, but they beat the heck out of us. They didn’t know what was wrong with me. They thought something was wrong with me. They were stringing me to beat me Lachman clauses says do all types of wild stuff to us. But when I was in the grocery store, they would just say hello however, how you doing and say, Hey, Miss Sally, or how was school? And I was like, Huh, why are you scared? I was like, you just kidding. My mom. Like you scared of this. This you won’t be the fit in your feet. It’s been over your restrain me. I’m like, we’re streaming. I used to be in the grocery store. I’m like, yo, Mr. Why don’t you restrain me, like, slammed me? And he’d be like, he’d be like, my mom would be like, Oliver. I’m like it when he’s in school. You know, he signed up for the program. We’re allowed to restrain them in my mind, but it all kind of what do you mean? Like what I mean, like, well, when they get behind, we’d like sit them down. You know, we sit them in a corner. And we make sure that we go over breathing exercises we talked to and stuff they would say, I’m not I used to be like, my mom would look at me. I’m like breathing exercise. My mom, I’m telling you like, it’s not like that. Like, I’m Tony, you know, whatever. So listen, I’m saying to you, like that’s how it would be. But I was a kid seeing that where you would be like, hey, Oliver. So good. Like, hey, Oliver, you just kicked me out of my class, call me the bad kid and said I would never mountain. Hey, Oliver, you see what I’m saying? Yeah. But that’s when I started to realize that’s how the world really ran. When you get back and you give them like I was seeing that. Not from one party. The principal was in this stuff. But you know why? Because I’m an adult. Now. When I left school, they went down to the principal’s low lounge, and they talked about a few kids. And when they met, my name came up. They were just like, oh, Oliver. Oh, my gosh, she’s in your class. He’s in your homeroom. Oh, they do it now. And same things they do now with these kids. Oh, my gosh, he is who I feel his mom. And this is what they did. They didn’t know by trying to fix nothing. They’re just sitting there gossiping and those low teacher lounges. And that’s what it is the principal come in and be like, well, he was bad in your class. I’m like you you realize y’all are teaming up on a seven year old and no. Do you see what I’m saying? Like they’re teaming up on him? Like, what are we gonna do with them? What class well, maybe we should do. I’m like us are teaming up on how to bring down a seven and eight year old and they did a good job. They kicked me out of school, they sent me to different places to put me in special classes, they beat me they locked me in causes anything to try to get me to behave the same. And you think about that. That’s a real true thing that has happened and I look at that I’m like, nothing different from that. Till today. People will act on way when you’re in their business and they’ll call you all kinds of names and do certain things. But as you walk outside and you’re walking in public, you won’t even walk on the same side of the street as you know, same people. They’ll cross the street when you walk and you got your hood up and you walk down the street. The first thing they gonna do is cross the street. And you might I might be listening to Britney Spears like this. I’m gonna be walking down the street listening to Britney Spears and you scared of me.

Kristen Carder 49:02
Are you listening to Britney Spears?

Oliver James 49:04
Sometimes? People don’t realize I’m not lying. You you watch. That’s what makes my tick tock show fun because I’ve expressed my personality. Wait, like I play Brittany in place. Loving things. I’m like, yo, I used to listen to this as a kid. Yeah, I was walking around with my good and that’s the truth hood dudes is doing that people wouldn’t have heard they. They watching cartoons. I was watching DuckTales in the hood no difference. Like we’ve seen kids that just because we run around with our hoods up or something like that. When we when we watch their watch. I mean the same thing. Like that’s what I mean by that, like, a lot of people they couldn’t grasp that. Take that into consideration and I did it because the world didn’t show him that so they treated an eight year old seven year old six year old five year old 10 year old kid. Like the rapper they see on TV, a 30 year old rapper and a 30 year old gangbanger. Some I’m not saying that I wasn’t in that route to become like, dangerous. I might have. What I’m saying was I was eight. I was nine. That’s all I’m saying. I wasn’t 39 That’s a difference. Yeah,

Kristen Carder 50:15
totally. Ah, okay, I can’t let you go before I ask you about your

Oliver James 50:22
ADHD. Okay, perfect.

Kristen Carder 50:24
When were you diagnosed with ADHD? And what is it like for you to have ADHD? Like, how does it present for you?

Oliver James 50:33
You know, it’s kind of wild, because I’m just learning it. I didn’t, I didn’t even know I was diagnosed. I didn’t know I didn’t even know I’m diagnosed now, because I’ve gotten like a diagnosis for OCD and ADHD in my 30s. But as a kid, yeah, as a kid, I was diagnosed, but I wasn’t told like, it was more of like, they told my mom, or they told someone else. They didn’t tell me anything. They just tell me like, take me in a room, give me some tests and be like, okay, initially, I’m in a new class or something or a new school. And I say, Why am I here? Like, what is this? I’m getting kicked out of there or something like no one’s telling me? Nothing. I remember when I was a kid. And I had OCD. I have OCD. And I remember I just have blisters all over my hands. And I got expelled from school because I wouldn’t take my gloves off. And they were just like, you have to take them off. I was in middle school. And I remember every day like, they literally call my mom and my mom was angry. My mom had to take me to see some person, the person told them, like, tell him to stop washing his hands. They didn’t tell me what’s wrong with me. They’re just saying he can’t do it. Because the blisters are reason why? Because he’s washing his hands, I blisters all over my fingers. And I remember my mom being like, every time I would go to the bathroom, she would just scream at me or hit me or something. And but don’t touch the sink. Don’t and I didn’t understand why I was touching it. Now this is OCD. But that was causing me anxiety. Yeah. And then the ADHD, having the ADHD, basically the forgetting things and not being able to stay focus. So even though she was teaching me I couldn’t stay focused on what she was trying to teach me. My brain was in chaos. So when I’m explaining to you, you got to realize, like, I don’t know how I was even able to function. Like many times, I don’t know, what kept me going. Like, in life. I don’t know what it was. But it was pure chaos mixed with OCD. And then ADHD, I mean, I don’t know, I’ve never been able to express this to people. So I’m gonna express it. And hopefully y’all get it too. It’s like a fire. It feels like my body is burning. Like, there’s times I’ll get lost in train of thought. And it feels so good, right? But then I realized that I was supposed to be like, driving somewhere. But I’ve been sitting out front of like the laundry mat thinking about like, how the clothes are drying up my tank, they’re drying, like they’re gonna dry like halfway, you’re not gonna go all the way. And I’m like, Why did you sit there and think about that for an hour. I mean, I’m like, the clothes are dry. Now. Let’s go back in and change the clothes. Go in and change the clothes. Now this time I missed picking up my kid from school. He’s there 10 minutes late. I’m like, oh, yeah, I’m like, No. Crap. I’m like, I’m only 10 minutes late. Right? It was like that. But then the guilt and shame within from people understanding like, why are you late? Why the indemnifier? That fiery guilt, like, confused headed. Like you’re like, I don’t know, like, I think you’re trying to make excuses you’re trying to and you realize you’re like, why is my life like this? And at the same time, why that just happened. You’re about to go in the house, and you’ve realized you lost your keys for the 50th time. For the 50th time you’re like, yeah, yeah. Okay. Oh, my now having ADHD, the person who’s in your life will deal with it harder than even you because you might I might be sitting on the front porch and someone come home and be like, what happened? I lost my keys. Got your keys, you did what I’m gonna get. And I might be fine to go inside and be like, Yeah, I just feel like my body’s on fire. But I’m okay. And then now you have to deal with someone telling you how you do this. Like, why do you keep an ear? Like, shut down? Go into a whole, like a board? You don’t even know how to exist, you know? Why am I alive? I don’t even want to be alive. Like you start feeling all those things until you can get through it somehow, some way and then it happens all over again. All over again. So it’s like, I’m in a place of like the whirlpool of like, still trying to decipher like, the things I’ve done in my life. Not are fully my fault. Yes. Feelings that. Accepting it like, Dude, you lost your keys. I’m like, Okay, you’re a person who might lose keys. Let’s not lose it more than three times a year. I’m like, that’s a great thing. I’m like, Oh, should we can minimize them. If we acknowledge your problem, you’re gonna lose keys, you’re gonna lose phones, you’re gonna do because this is who you are. But if we can minimize them by being able to help you regulate the things that you do, this is who you are. When it does go wrong. You can sit back and go, Okay, just to this year, only last two phones. Like great like, Ted, you know, like now you’re starting to realize oh, so good. Do you see what I’m saying? Like now, what I didn’t understand was that burning sensation that confused me I find I’m still trying to learn I’m trying to give you two years raw as I feel it, the hyper activeness like these, like this, I’m given to you. Like when you sit here and you just see how I am. That’s not a fake thing. This is me. This is like me at three in the morning when my ladies like the baby sleeping, and I’m like, Oh, I gotta tell you something. Just like the baby. Come down on my Oh, yeah. And I can’t my energy everything is like, Okay. Well, I’m like, why can I be like, you’re never gonna be like that, even like right now. Like, if you were like Oliver, okay, sit still. Just like, we got to stop the interview, then. Sorry to tell you. Because I’ve learned that except this, I’m like, This is me, I enjoy this about me, like, this is me. And I will never be able to completely fake this. And this is great. I’m a 35 year old man who can get excited about a book. But you know, like, because I have ADHD, my brain is like that. It’s basically saying like, it is part of it. ADHD is a big part of me being able to feel like a kid. I can climb a tree and feel like a kid like I have these things like, but I understand this is the part I can break down for some people when I’m not climbing trees, when I’m not doing the little things that like I used to do as a kid but also seemed healthy and like, okay, take some time do this. When I’m not doing that I am very depressed, very lost. Very lonely. When I’m we’re living in a world where people are like, You got to do this do that. Like you know, you got to work and do these things. Those are fine. But those don’t work well for the ADHD mind. We don’t want to work for money. We need kind of like a purpose. Like something like art, you know how we do like we just that give us that? When we have that our brains are like, you know, if you ADHD we are like geniuses. That’s why when it comes to this reading thing, and all this I am like a genius I will read like a maniac for the rest of my life. Because because of the ADHD. So people don’t realize like, that plays a big role in me being able to like learn, it was also a big role in not learning. When I did not know how to work with it, you get to hear me when I’m saying when you watch my page, I’m doing handstands. I’m dancing to music and reading at the same time. You know what I mean? Like, that was

Kristen Carder 57:08
for you. You have your park at the gym with you. Like I’m gonna move and I’m reading because like that was

Oliver James 57:19
that was a restrain. I used to get beat for that. I used to be dancing at the desk. I’m telling you, that’s why I’m trying to give you the wrong.

Kristen Carder 57:27
I just want to say I’m so angry on your behalf. So you got

Oliver James 57:32
me beat the heck and I want people to hear it like that. So if you put it in your thing I want them to know like he beat me not knowing that I wasn’t ADHD kid OCD, not knowing how to deal with neurodivergent Yeah, hey, this may have beat me and many other kids who all else hadn’t. Who else little girl comes to school with marker on the lips talking about his lipstick that can’t got ADHD. I had kids in my class talking about looking at my lipstick, put marker on their mouth. I’m like, Okay, this kid eating Kranz, they can’t function completely, but they’re not all you got to work with them. You don’t call them dumb or do things or come to go to office. Why’d you do that? You work with them? Their brains were different. Yeah. And you know, these kinds of kids, you know how these things work? And they get older. They’re like, wow, that kid invented the Korean you know, I mean, like, how would you be like you don’t understand you had to eat them first. Now, you invented the new tasting cream, you can eat it. You can eat it in color at the dinner table. You get what I’m saying? Yes, that’s ADHD kid and I was like, You got to crank out the darn restaurant where your kids in color. At the same time. It’s anyone

Kristen Carder 58:39
invented that? Because

Oliver James 58:41
they ain’t got ADHD? Gotta have ADHD. We just invented it. That’s at ADHD. Here’s your Albert Einstein’s all these people with ADHD that’s what we’re starting to realize him like 10 The gifts are in there. But if you don’t if you don’t give like the kids the right teaching and the right people then that ADHD can become damaging. I mean, the opposite bringing to the world can be destructive. With the right mind that person can go into destructive pattern, you know, I mean, like, if you teach them wrong because you put an ADHD person in a game they will ride they will ride you don’t mean they don’t have no other thought process. They go ride ADHD they read they bout it. They’ve been taught as you know how it is to have a D and you just connected me to something like that. Or forget it. I’m writing Yeah, that’s what people don’t fully understand them like you need some people in their life to be able to put them on the right track because I can tell you what ADHD I can go down a wormhole for a week studying. I’ve been trying to get an E bike. I just literally ran it one I’ve been stuck. I’m too into it. Because ADHD even my ladies I Can you hurry up and buy this damn bike. Like despite the bike and I’m like, Okay, I’m gonna buy because she knows he’s like, I’m not gonna be able to stop with you buy this bike. Amazing. That’s the ADHD but I may not want to buy another For five years, and I don’t know where I’m like, I want to ebike Yeah, I think it’d be the most amazing thing. I have a one year old and he loves seeing trees, I want to ride them around the woods, in the bike. That’s the only reason why I want it. I just want to ride around. So he can see trees, all I want them to do. That’s it. And it’s stuck in my bag. And I can’t get it out because I’m just seeing him being able to look at the trees because he loves seeing the trees and stuff when he were riding around. So my lady, when you look at that, though, with the wrong partner, she may think that you’re just like, you just want to spend money or you want to do you see me I’m like, I’m really serious. I have a one and a half year old, and he loves outside. And I can’t get him out enough on feet, like, you know, in places he wants to be. So I’m like these new E bikes can go through woods and things. I’m like, he’ll see all the trees and all. That’s all my brains digging them out. So that’s one reason why I want to bike. That’s it. I

Kristen Carder 1:00:49
love it so much. I love it so much. Oh my gosh, well, you obviously need to go buy an E bike. today.

Oliver James 1:00:56
We’re gonna get one. We’re gonna get one. We’re working on it. We’re definitely working on it. I love it. It’s so smart

Kristen Carder 1:01:01
to rent one first, that was a very grown up. Non ating. Move. No.

Oliver James 1:01:09
Thank you, thank you. It’s not something that usually happens on the record. But being responsible.

Kristen Carder 1:01:18
There was moments where we can channel our executive brain and say, like, oh, it would make sense for me to rent one. And like, those moments are like, Oh, they’re so rare. But it’s so great. I literally could talk to you all day long. I wish I could. But I’m just so grateful for you being here. And I just really want you to hear me say that sitting across from you virtually face to face. It is so invigorating, I feel I just feel your energy. I just absolutely love chatting with you. And I’m just so grateful. I’m so grateful for your time and that you’re here with us. Thank

Oliver James 1:02:00
you, thank you for having me. I mean, I guess it’s It’s all new to me. I’m excited to be able to express things like this. Yeah. And thank you for you’re doing something that I’ve never even seen, like, people kind of want to do. And there’s talk about, you know, like neurodivergent minds, you know, ADHD things, as I’m scared to even talk about it myself. Because I don’t want people to call me weird things, you know how it goes. And I never really been able to, but I’ve been open and I’ve taken on that journey now to say this is what I’m going to do. And I want to tell you, like anytime you want me on your platform to speak about mental health issues and certain things, please call me this is what it’s all about. Like I lived in pain for years. I told you about the guy seen at the when I went out to eat. I lived like that I lived in pain and I I’m just so happy that you’re you’re asking me a question like ADHD, no one’s asked that no one asked that. No one No one asked these things. So thank you, like anytime you want to bring me on to speak about ADHD or certain things like that, yes, I’m living with ADHD, I’m gonna live with it for the rest of my life. And I’m a proud ADHD or I’m a very happy, proud easier, I used to be very hard on myself. So thank you for being able to talk about this. And I hope many people hear this name. They’re proud. Be proud of your ADHD of your forgetfulness and the way you are be happy and start joy that enjoy this because this world was made for you. It just hasn’t been shown that it’s made for you. You have to kind of create it. That’s what we’re doing to help people see like I’m there for you. There are people out there who I live this this is my life. I don’t I don’t just play with this. I live every moment of this. I’m ADHD is a part of my movement and my decision making. I want people to know everything about that. I love it.

Kristen Carder 1:03:37
Where can people find you? Everyone listening is going to be like, Who is this man, I need to go follow him. I need more of his work. So tell us where we can find you. We’ll also make sure to link it in the show notes as well. You

Oliver James 1:03:50
can find me at Oliver speaks with the number one. And that’s on most of my platform. So I only have x Tiktok, Instagram and YouTube. Right now. I just started cameo. So if people want to go and you know, just like I just ordered a cameo from my third grade cast and I want Oliver to read, you know. Then I can read a book to the class and boom, that’s for your class. So yeah, so

Kristen Carder 1:04:13
yeah, yeah. And you are a motivational speaker. So if anyone is listening, who would want to hire Oliver to speak at an event, an organization a school? I don’t know what other types of speaking engagements you you take, but

Oliver James 1:04:31
I mean, I do that, you know, there’s prisons, there’s gonna be juveniles. Like, we got to get in there. And you know, don’t kids can read those people can read. So yeah, we don’t get in there. And I’ve been to prison. So I need to go back and tell them like, Listen, this is something you can do to help you when you get out. So yeah, there’s gonna be different, many options, whatever it is, but anywhere, anywhere where people are struggling in that round reading and not being able to get through we’re going to come there and try to talk to them about this is an option. Reading is an option. It’s not like just something you could do. It’s an option attack. We’d like a good year option that can get you from point A to point B. And live that not like you just Oh, I got I got this and I’m just doing it. No, you will be able to do it on your own. You’ll be able to function in society on your own, but we got to do some hard work. That’s all it is. I

Kristen Carder 1:05:13
mean, I feel pumped up. Ready? On the day, everyone go hire Oliver, go find him. Follow again. Thanks. This is fun. Let’s be let’s be friends forever. And come back on. Share your stuff, have lots more opportunities to chat but I just really appreciate you being here. Thank you. Thank you so much. Hey, ADHD, or I see you I know exactly what it’s like to feel lost, confused, frustrated and like no one out there really understand the way that your brain works. That’s why I created Focus. Focus is my monthly coaching program where I lead you through a step by step process of understanding yourself feeling better and creating the life that you know you’re meant for. You’ll study be coached, grow, and make amazing changes alongside of other educated professional adults with ADHD from all over the world. Visit Ihaveadhd.com/focused to learn more.

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