Nikki Donadio

Dactylynx  | Non-Fiction |

January 4

Cold toast for breakfast. Breakfast at 12:37 pm. I must have heard the toaster pop but then forgot I’d heard it. It was still good, even with the butter not melting. Butter not melting like snow not melting, (not that it should in January). I spread butter on cold toast; the sky throws snow onto the road and sidewalks and the back of my neck if that’s the direction I’m walking in.

Fitbit reports I’m only at 2377 steps.


January 7

Last night I dreamt I was an Olympic lynx rider. The event involved me jumping onto the back of a lynx and trying to hang on as long as possible as it bucks its legs to throw me off. A rodeo, but much meaner as the lynx is tiny compared to a bull. I never make it to the stall where my lynx is waiting.

I google dreams about lynx (there’s not a critical mass of people dreaming about being Olympic lynx riders, so this is the best the internet has for me):

Seeing a lynx in a dream is the omen of secrecy. The message is that you must evaluate and share your secrets in order to learn something new about yourself.

Nothing here about repressed desires for the alternative cowboy-girl life, though plaid is already assumed. Leather perhaps as well. The queerodiverse life of a gAyDHD Olympic lynx rodeo rider.


January 5

Turn on my traps. Turn on the trapeziuses is that the plural? High wire act. I pull on the resistance band slung over the rig and Ray pokes where I should feel it. Traps set out in the snow. Paw-catching. My muscles are slow learners. I hate the phrase you don’t know what you don’t know but my muscles don’t know how to turn on/ I don’t know what to tell them and I didn’t know I was doing everything wrong when I worked out. Nothing connects. Nothing moves in concert with other parts: abs, chest, back. Knees always caving in. Shoulders up around and my ears. My inhalation and exhalation: wrong timing. Dactyl in the middle.






PEW pew pew!


January 12

Christmas tree is still up. Is there such a thing as Epiphany Again I can maybe lean on as a more formidable explanation as to why my tree is still up?


January 13



January 11

Scrolling through stuff on my phone and found scanned copies of my senior kindergarten report card, the one I sent over to Dr. S. Enough there. You miss the full effect of the nostalgia because the scan doesn’t pick up the softness of the paper, the typewriter keys punching ink.

People were so good at typing back then.

Also, people don’t use the word damning enough.


January 2

Plugged in. Hanging on. Mom gifted me new headphones for Christmas. Not the noise-cancelling kind but still primo. Wireless.

I remember when you lost your headphones on vacation and I bought you a new pair and was chuffed to give them to you when you returned home. You were specific: they were rose gold and at the time on sale at Indigo.

I have a MasterCard bill I’m still paying off with charges I must have made around that time. Three years already. There’s some additional interest. I don’t mean money, but I do mean money.


January 22

To-dos: call insurance. Put away laundry. Check grant application status.


January 21

Car accident #467. No Frills parking lot. I backed up into them. I didn’t see their yellowish coloured car because I didn’t look and I didn’t look because

We should address the condition in our world today. The tethering of a phone to a person is a gross misuse of a person’s attention. This is an anti-capitalist rant.

I didn’t. He wore a Shitter-was-Full style hat with flaps. Fake-cop sunglasses. He pointed out the long scratch my bumper made against their back door. I searched my bag in the backseat for a business card to give him and his wife, but the search was a cover. I started crying and didn’t want them to see. I would have buried myself in the ground if it wasn’t frozen. I can only avoid eye contact for so long.

“You know, if you back into the space instead it gives you better visibility,” he said. “Just a tip.” I know I know I know that already because I already took the special collision avoidance course at Young Drivers or should I say Dumb Drivers I mean really why isn’t that what they’re called? Ageist.

Me and the steering wheel got real intimate, my forehead snuggled in there. It’s a good anchor when my shame-crying morphs into hyperventilation. Hyperventilation morphs into arm numbness, face numbness. A whole-body numbness. Hard to drive with whole-body numbness. The doctor or Emerg or home?

Emerg. I suck wind the whole way from the parking lot into the Emerg doors. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.  The cure to shame is breathing.


January 23

Things to buy with grant monies should I be the lucky one:

  • Noise-cancelling headphones and;
  • Skittles for when meds wear off and my appetite comes back.

Every flavour of Skittles.

I want my tongue to turn rainbow. I want my whole mouth to be queerer than it already is. I want for all my words that come late at night when I find them to tell the story of an authentic me who used radical self-acceptance to stop procrastinating and stop

Mostly the sour ones I like.

Snow shovelling. To dos.


January 26

The book is queer: it’s not a true memoir in that it incorporates these things; it’s its own thing entirely. It’s not meant to fit neatly into genre labels, and neither does its author.


January 24

If anyone tells you people with ADHD naturally dislike routine because we crave novelty, do not believe them.

Snow shovelling is best when the sun is out and the wind is kind. When the brown mess of road salt and snow caked up in my wheel wells loosens and falls, sorta like ear wax. Icicle-kicking is another joy. Tidy those stripes of white. Everyone’s driveway bordered by closed parentheses of snow, the fit of the shovel.

I shovelled your driveway, clearing the bottom where water pooled, hefting shovelfuls of water onto the lawn. It wasn’t sunny. There was more slush than snow.

We need routine. If we start to believe we don’t like it, we’ll never get our shit together. So do not encourage your fellow spaz in this mode of thinking.

Though: your routine as someone with ADHD should not be the same routine your neurotypical neighbour employs.

The novelty exists where the routine is of our entire invention.

Do not try to do what they do. Their systems do not serve us.


January 28

Me and the lynx wander. She is not into snow shovelling. I don’t feed her Skittles, cause I’m worried about the diabetes that runs in her family.

The Olympics ended up just being a big commercial for condoms. Disillusioned, we have abandoned the rodeo lynx riding life and are now working out a way to live off one income while the other finishes their manuscript.

The lynx divulges the black tufts sticking up on each of her ears are special antennae meant to pick up workshop facilitation opportunities.

My panic attack was a compromise.


January 3

Fuckups are part of the ADHD ™ brand. Even when you plan, write it down, even when you double-check, triple; count it over, look again. Even when you do all the things to not fuck up, you will.

Too many things plugged in. Furnace comes on. It is too early in the day to listen to Beethoven, goddamn. Hold that pose. Itchy bills what day of the week is it cries for Cheerios

To have eyes that can see in the dark. I only need glasses. After seven years of bad form at the gym, the first thing I learned was how to breathe.

Focus. If you give it to yourself as an instruction, the exact opposite will happen. It’s a law of nature.

Add to the list of things I will buy if I am awarded the grant: a soundproof room. The door only opens when it detects my unique electromagnetic signature. No one gets in except me. Kids will have to figure out how to get their own cereal. I will grow fuzzy in the mouth without access to a toothbrush. The children become feral and eat mice they trap in the garage but not without ketchup.

A day passes. I emerge. There is snow to shovel outside.


January 1

Queerodiverse Serenity Prayer:

Grant me the serenity to finish this sentence,

the courage to <insert self-acceptance-related life goal here>

and the wisdom to know I can’t time travel and make up for all the years I repressed my Sapphic self because I didn’t want to feel any more different than I already was.



January 20

Everyday a list but first I must Google and discover the name of the Looney Tunes character.

J’s bad haircut reminds me. Not Gossamer. Not the Abominable. Not Ralph the Sheepdog. Someone with hair in their eyes

At book club last week, my take on Tomboy Survival Guide: “it’s all these things together. That’s why this book is special. The diagrams, songs, essays…not a… it’s not meta… Wait, where was I going with this?” It was there, it was there, it was there. There there there. I know better than to open my mouth without having it written down before.

Looney Tunes monster

Looney Tunes villains

Looney Tunes all character visual encyclopedia


January 30

Dactyl: / X


I can’t not call them wing fingers from now on. Or even think of a pterodactyl without hearing a bird screech noise. Which is sort of bullshit because no one has heard a pterodactyl before so what if the sound they make is more of a honk or a hiss if they make any sort of noise at all?

It’s the same as imagining a new colour on the spectrum of colours. My brain, in comparison. There is no way for me to know or even begin to know what not being like me feels like.

The word anceps comes from the Latin anceps, ancipitis, meaning “two-headed, uncertain, unfixed.”


February 19

The *real* assessment for ADHD is a mere ten minutes out of the entire four-hour appointment. The psychologist took me to the kitchenette down the hall from her office. She showed me how to make coffee.

If I can do this, if I can wait through her instructions and watch the steps she takes and retain the info she’s just delivered, if I can stand there and wait and then make myself a coffee, I do not have ADHD.

If I instead try to jam the coffee packet into the machine before she’s done telling me otherwise, I do have ADHD.

It’s somehow harder to admit I have ADHD as a 38-year-old grown-ass woman than it was to come out of the closet, and it’s dark in there.


February 11

I imagine my time and my keys get sucked up into a neighbouring dimension. Where the hell else could they go? I looked there. I looked there five or six times before my keys finally appeared on the seventh look in the same pocket of my backpack which I had already looked at six times. A for anceps and attention both.

And as for time. It must do the same, but I don’t think the neighbouring dimension returns it to me the same way it does my keys. Time only disappears.

Unless it’s me bouncing from this dimension to the next? And my car keys are what, an anchor? A symbol of one universe vs the next? Keyless Universe vs Having Shit Together Universe.

C made me a melty bead lynx complete with black tufts on her ears. And a melty bead lynx cub to go with her.


February 9

Often heard: “I tried calling you.”

The phone lines are down, pal. You haven’t been able to get a hold of me. Even when I wanted to slough off my queerness and call back to my naïve/scared old self so we could carry on and nothing had to change

That guy.

Lynx doesn’t mean wing finger-like pterodactyl. It means white, bright, light. Named for its glowing eyes, eyes that can see in the dark.


February 12

Compromise formation sounds military to me. Soldiering into position but not the position I intended at first.


February 2

The gift of hyperfocus is bestowed as an exchange. I have the ability to remain at my computer for six hours and write. Writing is the only thing I manage to hyperfocus on. The rest of the time, focus manages to elude me.

Grown uppity is how I describe the brood of Canada Goose-jacket-wearing-moms on the sidewalk yakking while tiny dogs shiver even in their Roots sweaters. Solar-powered arms and hips wag back and forth on the windowsill. Around the house, the lynx’s claws click-clack on the hardwood. On closer inspection, her claws are made of paperclips.

Dinner TBD. The timer is on, so I don’t go too long without moving from here, here being me writing. I think writing might be the same place I lose my keys only to find them on the seventh look. Verbs are not places. But writing is.

Nobody wants to talk about how the words “art” and “rat” are made from the same letters. Discuss.


February 13

I don’t know how to take steps or what steps to take and where to start, not when it comes to this. Feelings being the thing I don’t know how to. No connection between knowing what’s best for me and doing what is best for me. The thoughts won’t stick, swatted to the side. Evaluate and share. A trap for thoughts would be useful, retain them long enough to look and inspect, decide what to do, and do it. Retain them long enough to establish boundaries and shore them up with a small army of specially trained lynxes equipped with laser guns. Plus, my dactyl finger guns are never out o’ ammo. PEW, pew, pew!


February 22

The lynx coughs up a furball at my feet. Within the fuzz and cat spit is a folded-up note.

Pick a symbol or item that means something to you so that when you see it, you know you are on the right track. Paperclips. Maybe because they hug papers together and symbolize a relationship between writer and reader, apprentice, and mentor. Pages sent back and forth. The rounded C-turn and loop back and open ends.

And paperclips link up. Links being everywhere.


February 14

No Valentine this year? No problem! Here is what you do:

  1. Play Dr. Mario all day
  2. Repeat #1 until you fall asleep and it is over.

And ugh don’t give in to the cliché about being single or without a lover on Valentine’s and moping around and get yourself drunk on ten-dollar wine. Valentine’s Day is just an exercise for straight people to find ways to get mad at each other for fucking it up somehow. Or for people to act like they’re above it. Or people to pretend it doesn’t matter to them. Sure. Sure it doesn’t.

Repeat step 1.


February 10

That guy? Really?!

The question here is where to inflect. The options:

  1. That guy. Really. (think of the deadpan emoji face with a mouth that looks like this —)
  2. That Really?
  3. That guy?
  4. That guy? Really?

Lick the wound of shame. The lynx does.

Whatever I choose

(Feelings are not a medical condition).

The subtext that I mean to say is any guy. That guy. Is it forgiveness, or is it ADHD, because the latter means I only look like I’m moving on because the alternative is


February 18

Compromise formation is not a stance to take in the middle of the street in live traffic when the lynx has run across the road. I cannot breach the curb on foot, and the lynx cannot carry me from here to there, but she does walk alongside me. The roads have not been plowed so I am stuck at home palms Skittle-sticky and the power goes out and there in the dark is a white bright light which I only see now that there is nothing else requiring my attention but nothing else being everything and nothing all at once and it is it is it is a beautiful thing.



Nikki Donadio is a queer writer from Newmarket, Ontario. She holds a BA in English, a B.Ed and an MA in Creative Writing. Mostly a writer of prose and poetry, her work has appeared in Jellyfish Review, Soliloquies Anthology, Ghost City Press, The Hellbore, Gertrude, and others.

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