The Shutter-bye Effect


Photograph taken in Oroville, CA by Jessica Shippelhoute.

The sun beat against the back of a flowered dress as it stuck to the little girl’s skin before disappearing behind a tall building. The squeaky black shoes gently tucked themselves under the church pew, as the strumming of small fingers pounded the wooden bench seat.

The elders leered with disdain at you. “Shhhh, be quiet, stop with that fiddling,” said a stern mother. The constant tapping was soothing, now the child had no way to release all the energy that was building up. Everyday you are reminded to slow down, to stop, to think before you act. 

As a child of nine, limbs would move lightning fast, so much so that it was hard to make out the child behind it all. Black and blue, with matching bumps and scratches were usually the result of running into every corner and wall in the house. 

Usually, thoughts and actions have no filter, flooding spontaneously, flowing from one idea to the next. Like a hyper squirrel jumping from one subject to the next, unaware that you never got the answer to the first question you asked.  

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a common neurodevelopmental disorder. Often diagnosed in childhood, it is usually a lifelong condition. People, especially children, living with ADHD have difficulty paying attention and may act impulsively. They may be overly-active, fidget constantly, talk at-length, make careless mistakes, or take unnecessary risks. People with ADHD can be found lost in their own daydreams.

On SHRM, Martin Yate explores the two sides of having ADHD in his article “Use ADHD to Your Advantage.” Learning to work with your ADHD and finding your balance in the chaos of everyday life is one way to become a high functioning individual with ADHD. 

“ADHD increases positive traits such as creativity, sensitivity and the ability to multitask,” Yate said, “We tend to have lots of ideas and energy.” 

Green bellowing grass stood tall in the field next to the two story faded blue-white house that towered alongside the willow trees. A gray wrap around the porch drapes itself around part of the home before ending off the corner. 

White-tipped hair peeks out the front door, followed by a set of tinkling eyes, my lips turned into a smile. My great grandmother’s house is filled with many of my favorite memories. After a long week at school and home, my parents would often drop me off with my great grandma. With open arms, she always welcomed me with love, never judgement. 

Granny was the name I always knew her by, most would call her Welvie, but she will always be my great granny to me. The best times I can remember of when I was young were with her. She was always there for me daily whether that meant coming to my band recitals or loving me unconditionally on difficult days.

Growing up, my mom would say I was a trainwreck waiting to happen, while my granny saw things differently. Her fond nickname for me was Lethal Weapon because I could never seem to slow down, always going a hundred miles an hour, but for her the name meant to teach me to find a middle ground. When oblivious to my surroundings I could hurt myself, but if I slow down and breathe, I become aware of the things I can achieve. 

Carolyn Hax, a columnist for The Washington Post and a mom, shares her perspective on ADHD in the article “They really cannot stand their rumbustious grandchild.” 

For Hax, the world just needs to be a lot kinder and judge a lot less. “…all of those ‘ADHD boys’ — and! girls! — or just energetic kids, or otherwise quirky kids of all kinds, need to be looked upon with love by the world just as badly as calmer kids do,” Hax said.

My favorite person will always be my granny. The gentle love that  was in every hug, the patient redirection followed by “I love you” will hold a special spot in my heart. She was patient with me even when I was bouncing off the walls and showed me the possibilities of who I could be. 

The weekends I spent with my granny were filled with laughter and gave me the desire to be patient. One evening before the sun was about to set she suggested we go for a little drive. We packed up her Canon camera bag that she always seems to be sporting, and with a couple of water bottles we were set for our adventure. I remember that I was too excited and I had a hard time focusing or settling down in any way. 

We rounded the familiar corner, and went along a bridge until we made our way to a road that we could park and walk to the lake. The colors in the sky were magnificent, the soft pinks mixed with the vibrant oranges and the stark gold blending together to create a masterpiece before us.

 My granny had her camera ready to go.I was so distracted, yet she was so patient with me despite how annoying I must have been. She gently took my hand and pulled me in the direction where she wanted to take the picture.

“Here is perfect,”she said, “There are always going to be perfect moments in life, and sometimes that requires a lot of patience. To stand still and wait for that right moment to take the shot that you want.” 

As she took the shot of the sunset the camera clicked loudly as the button disrupted the silent calm of the moment.

Jessica Shippelhoute can be reached at [email protected]