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Open Thread for Personal Stuff: Feb 2016 Barrel of Fun Edition

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An open thread for personal stuff. No trolls, no MRAs, etc. No fussing or fighting.

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Social Justice Atheist
Social Justice Atheist
4 years ago

@EJ

Thanks, I definitely will if I am ever struggling with a hard problem.

Imaginary Petal (formerly dhag85, trying out pronouns - they/their)
Imaginary Petal (formerly dhag85, trying out pronouns - they/their)
4 years ago

@clever

I think you’re one of the cool kids!

I know I’m late to this, but I wanted to say I recognize pretty much all of what you say. Other people’s work is easy, my own work is too hard. Other people’s problems are fixable, my own problems are insurmountable.

I’m leaving a pile of hugs here.

Imaginary Petal (formerly dhag85, trying out pronouns - they/their)
Imaginary Petal (formerly dhag85, trying out pronouns - they/their)
4 years ago

@Orion

Thanks for that 2e link.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ cleverforagirl

You’ve certainly got one of the coolest nicknames I’ve heard.

@ IP

You familiar with the phrases “plumbers’ taps drip” or “cobblers’ children are always poorly shod”? They sort of encapsulate that thing where it always seems simpler to sort out someone else’s problems than your own. It does seem pretty common. Even in business terms, I have a reputation for that “last minute solutions to insurmountable problems” thing; but it can take me six months to fill out some simple paperwork on my own behalf. Wonder why that is?

Orion
Orion
4 years ago

I’m despondently curious now. Was anyone reading this identified as a gifted student before age 18 and did they receive any special programs, enrichment, or accommodations?

Imaginary Petal (formerly dhag85, trying out pronouns - they/their)
Imaginary Petal (formerly dhag85, trying out pronouns - they/their)
4 years ago

@Alan

Those sound like very English phrases to me. :p But I understand what they mean. I’m sure it’s a common phenomenon, but I think I have it to an extreme degree.

@Orion

Not me. I was always top of my class until age 15-ish, and then it went downhill.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
4 years ago

@Orion:
I was identified, and went on to compete in several junior maths programs including the Olympiad. I didn’t get any special support of any sort though, it was very much in-your-own-time stuff.

The main effect it had was that I learned no study habits whatsoever and so struggled in my first years at university.

kupo
kupo
4 years ago

@Orion
I went from failing math so badly in elementary school that my teacher recorded the wrong score so she wouldn’t have to fail me (I can’t do rote memorization well and performing arithmetic in my head takes a long time, so I was probably never going to pass anything to do with multiplication tables) to being recommended by a middle school teacher for advanced placement classes. My parents refused to let me take those classes because they were afraid I would be teased, so I had to remain at a lower level, got bored, had poor study habits, still got teased anyway, and struggled in high school to the point where I failed math. I ended up doing well in college but the pace was almost too fast for my slow self, and had I not worked too long and hard to possibly be good for my health I would have failed. But somehow I managed it.

Skiriki
Skiriki
4 years ago

Orion:
No, because schools in my neck of woods (and in 1980s) were furiously against anything that smacked of “elitism” (but a school focused on music or sports was perfectly fine, apparently), and being intellectual or smart was bad-bad-bad form of “elitism”. Add in some gendered expectations, and there you go.

Viscaria
Viscaria
4 years ago

@Orion: I was in a gifted student problem from grades 7-12. There were positives and negatives, for sure.

I’m also, just now at 26, in the process of getting a ADD diagnosis that may help to explain why I’ve never lived up to my supposed “potential.”

Hambeast, Social Justice Beastie
Hambeast, Social Justice Beastie
4 years ago

Orion

I’m despondently curious now. Was anyone reading this identified as a gifted student before age 18 and did they receive any special programs, enrichment, or accommodations?

Oh, yes indeed. I was tested and identified at age 7 in the Los Angeles Unified School District in the mid-sixties. We even had a program where all the ‘gifted’ students went to special classes and field trips once a week for a few semesters. It was a lot of fun, concentrated on science, mainly and I never even saw any resentment or teasing of us* in the program.

Once I left grade school, my parents (well, my mom, really) plunked me in parochial (Lutheran church) school due to concerns that I might get bused downtown. It was a good school; small (around 100 students in three grades) and I got a surprisingly good science education. But no gifted program since private schools were on their own, budget-wise back then.

By the time I was ready for high school, the busing threat was over and I went back to the good old LAUSD. I got into AP (advanced placement) science and then they re-tested me for the “gifted program.” I put scare quotes on that because the person testing me admitted that they were doing it because the district allotted individual schools more money for gifted students, but there was no gifted program, as such.

On another subject, I read guy’s link on discalculia and I believe I must have a mild form of it. I think it explains why I have had to take remedial algebra at every new college/uni I’ve ever gone to even though I get A grades every time I do. I just don’t seem to retain the information even though I apparently can learn it!

ETA: *I never noticed any, but that doesn’t mean it never happened, obviously.

Orion
Orion
4 years ago

I don’t know much about what American* high school is like. Would you say there’s a need for a “gifted program” in high school or having access to variety of AP subjects sufficient?

*or any other kind of school

Viscaria
Viscaria
4 years ago

The gifted & talented education I received was focused on enrichment, rather than acceleration. Just as I was graduating a decade ago, we were beginning to see a shift away from enrichment programs for students identified as gifted, and towards accelerated classes (AP, IB) for academically successful students. I really couldn’t tell you which was the better approach, as I’m not an educator, and I have no personal experience with AP or the International Baccalaureate program. I can only give my impressions of the program I was in.

I think being told by experts that I was “smart,” like it was an unchanging aspect of who I am, was not good for me. It led me to believe that success wasn’t something you could work towards; you either possessed the internal qualities necessary to succeed (i.e. giftedness) or you were forever doomed to failure. As a result, I was disinclined to try anything that I didn’t already know would come easy to me. When something didn’t come easy, it was a big hit to my self-esteem and my self-concept as a “smart person.”

It also set up some pretty high expectations in my mind, and in the minds of the adults around me. My parents are still disappointed that I don’t have a University degree. They still think I’m destined for a more prestigious career. I’ve tried to move past that myself, but I still sometimes hate myself for not living the adult life I thought I deserved because blah blah IQ scores.

On the other hand, I really enjoyed the enriched curricula, and I do think I would have gotten bored in more mainstream classes.

The other big advantage in being streamed with similar students was social. I finally had kids I could relate to. I wasn’t teased at all (although I did know some kids who were). We took pride in being a pretty weird bunch, and that allowed me to explore some of my weirder interests without being judged or ostracized.

Whoa holy wall of text, sorry. IT is working on my computer and I’m bored lol

Imaginary Petal (formerly dhag85, trying out pronouns - they/their)
Imaginary Petal (formerly dhag85, trying out pronouns - they/their)
4 years ago

I went to an International Baccalaureate program in high school, by the way. It sucked (for me).

I just had a very successful first attempt at making a Lebanese style lentil soup! All vegan and yummmmy.

guy
guy
4 years ago

I was identified as gifted in Elementary school and placed in a program that ran through middle school.

I don’t see a need for a gifted program in high school beyond honors and AP, but that assumes that enough are available, and only the largest and richest school systems really provide all of them. Also, there’s a popular education columnist who ranks high schools based on the percentage of students taking AP classes and not the number passing, and this has incentivized school administrators to make questionable decisions.

Hambeast, Social Justice Beastie
Hambeast, Social Justice Beastie
4 years ago

Orion

I don’t know much about what American* high school is like. Would you say there’s a need for a “gifted program” in high school or having access to variety of AP subjects sufficient?

Well, now that I think about it, access to AP classes is (or was, in my 1970’s experience) probably quite sufficient. Then again, I qualified for AP classes I was already good in (English and Biology that entailed little or no math) and so was never identified as deficient in higher math. The only math I took in high school was Geometry and whatever passed as math in Chemistry and did rather poorly compared to my other subjects.

Viscaria

The gifted & talented education I received was focused on enrichment, rather than acceleration.

Mine, too. I think this is probably the better approach because it’s less likely to alienate students from each other. Better yet, give all students more enrichment! Ha, ha. As if!

I think being told by experts that I was “smart,” like it was an unchanging aspect of who I am, was not good for me.

I also agree with this, as another chronic ‘underachiever’! My first IQ test was given to me by a friend of our neighbor’s when I was five. I now think I was more precocious than genius. >.< I also think there's a big difference between the two!

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
4 years ago

My program was almost entirely about winning prestige for the school. They were extremely happy with encouraging me to be the stereotypical masculine nerdy dude and not do anything to develop myself more broadly if it meant that they got to boast about their Olympiad entrant.

I liked it at the time, but now I feel that it’s a bad idea.

Cleverforagirl
Cleverforagirl
4 years ago

@alan – I was working in a college comp lab and a coworker said that to me. I found it a bit horrifying, hegenuinely meant it as a compliment.

MexicanHotChoclate and I kept discussing it until it went from mildly horrifying to funny to him calling me that when he teased me.

@everyone – thank you for the support, now that the anxiety has subsided I’m no longer freaking out and am much more comfortable with my plan b. (There are also plans c and d)

🙂

Dalillama
Dalillama
4 years ago

@Orion

I’m despondently curious now. Was anyone reading this identified as a gifted student before age 18 and did they receive any special programs, enrichment, or accommodations?

Yes, yes, and no. I was tagged as TAG (‘Talented and Gifted’) in elementary, and sent off to some after-school programs and summer ‘enrichment’ programs and suchlike. I was bored out of my skull and hated all the other kids there, so eventually my parents quit making me go.

I don’t know much about what American* high school is like. Would you say there’s a need for a “gifted program” in high school or having access to variety of AP subjects sufficient?

IME, AP classes work fine, but are a pretty mixed bag (some of mine were total crap, others were great, depending on the teacher). I had the option of going into the IB program, but elected not to, for similar reasons to why I left the TAG programs.

@Viscaria

FI think being told by experts that I was “smart,” like it was an unchanging aspect of who I am, was not good for me. It led me to believe that success wasn’t something you could work towards; you either possessed the internal qualities necessary to succeed (i.e. giftedness) or you were forever doomed to failure. As a result, I was disinclined to try anything that I didn’t already know would come easy to me. When something didn’t come easy, it was a big hit to my self-esteem and my self-concept as a “smart person.”
It also set up some pretty high expectations in my mind, and in the minds of the adults around me. My parents are still disappointed that I don’t have a University degree. They still think I’m destined for a more prestigious career. I’ve tried to move past that myself, but I still sometimes hate myself for not living the adult life I thought I deserved because blah blah IQ scores.

Quoted for massive truth. All of it. I’m the only person in my immediate family in three generations not to have a postgraduate degree.

katz
4 years ago

I was tested for the gifted program in first grade and it went as follows:

Parents: You got the 90th percentile on math and the 10th percentile on reading. Were the reading questions hard?

Me: They were so easy! So I stopped reading the questions and just picked answers randomly.

Parents: …Next time, just answer the questions the way they ask you to, OK?

Long story short, I got into the gifted program in second grade.

Imaginary Petal
Imaginary Petal
4 years ago

I was working in a college comp lab and a coworker said that to me. I found it a bit horrifying, hegenuinely meant it as a compliment.

Jebus. Makes my blood boil just thinking about it.

cleverforagirl
cleverforagirl
4 years ago

It was marginally better than being given a compliment on my appearance after doing something clever/difficult. I laugh about it now, but at the time I would flip flop between anger and confusion.

Tracy
Tracy
4 years ago

I’m not sure when I was actually tested – first grade, I think, though it may have been kindergarten since I came in reading at a really high level (thanks to my mum)

I wasn’t skipped grades, but was put in various enrichment programs either with other kids, or with a special teacher. I was usually sent to higher grades to do things like spelling, and I was singled out a lot for other things (performing in particular)

I hated it. I hated all of it. I desperately wanted to fit in with my friends, and I usually didn’t. I desperately wanted to like more of the things they liked, and I didn’t. And I hated that sometimes, the things I could do (that they struggled with) made them feel bad.

I also hated that I also kinda loved being different and ‘special’, and the attention I’d get for it.

When I got to Grade 5, my school didn’t really know what to do with me so they did things like give me a University-level psychology textbook to read. I refused to participate in any enrichment after that.

I still have a ton of issues surrounding my school experience, the whole ‘gifted’ thing and how it made me feel and act – been exploring them lately. Not easy.

It also set up some pretty high expectations in my mind, and in the minds of the adults around me. My parents are still disappointed that I don’t have a University degree. They still think I’m destined for a more prestigious career. I’ve tried to move past that myself, but I still sometimes hate myself for not living the adult life I thought I deserved because blah blah IQ scores.

Me too, 100x me too. Really been struggling with this.

guy
guy
4 years ago

My school system was large enough and wealthy enough to have gifted centers, where they sent all the gifted children from several schools and could get maybe 100 per grade in dedicated classes, so I didn’t have to worry about not fitting in with my classmates. It seemed to work pretty well for teaching us, and also had rather more cynical advantages for the administration.

See, schools had their performance measured based on standardized tests performed yearly, and everyone in the grade took the same set of tests (number and subject varied by grade), including the gifted students. And they were averaged over the entire school. And it was in no way a coincidence that the gifted center invariably wound up in schools with lots of free or reduced lunch or ESL students. Because it was easier to make test scores go up by shuffling us around rather than actually improving educational quality. There’s a lot to complain about with No Child Left Behind, but by measuring subsections it managed to undermine that strategy somewhat. Also their other strategy of gerrymandering schooldistricts.

epitome of incomprehensibility

None of the schools I went to had a separate “gifted” program, aside from splitting into “basic” and “advanced” math in grades 10 and 11. I’ve usually tested in the top 2-5% for verbal skills, but my math and problem-solving skills are middling.

I did get some informal accommodations in elementary school for being “difficult”! For example, my grade 5 teacher gave me a sketch pad because I kept drawing in the margins of assignment papers.

….This brings to mind an argument that happened at work today. I apologize in advance for complaining. I have a supervisor who can be very inflexible and difficult to get along with. It doesn’t help that I’m stubborn too. This morning I was showing him some ideas I had for ads, and I was making some sketches next to my words. Things seem to be going well, until perhaps I got too pushy and suggested a particular design incorporating the logo. Suddenly he changed manner and objected, saying that since he is a graphic designer with X years of experience, the images were his job. He went on to say that you should NEVER tell a professional designer what to design, etc., and I should take this as a “learning experience.”

No doubt it’s true that graphic designers aren’t usually given sketches by corporate clients, but why lash out at me for giving ideas? Why couldn’t he just say calmly that he would take care of the design, and that I could continue working on the written part? As it is, I tried to explain that my sketches were suggestions, and that I respected that design was his area of expertise, But I added (in retrospect, I shouldn’t have argued back) that when I worked for a college volunteer thing, I drew a logo which was then turned into a graphic design by someone who had that area of expertise, so in my experience it made sense for artists with different skills to work together. That got a comment along the lines of “Pfff, student stuff” and me being inexperienced in the professional world. (True enough.) When I tried to say, “Well, it’s my text that’s the point, the sketches don’t matter” he still kept lecturing me about focusing on my job and about me not being a good learner.

In short, his manner upsets me and I’m probably making it worse by being my stubborn self. I guess I just have to learn to bite my tongue and not try to change what he thinks, but it was frustrating again at the end of the day when I apologized for the “misunderstanding” and he replied with something like “No, no, I understood you; you’re just wrong.” Nothing about apologizing for getting upset or calling me a bad learner.

I wish I didn’t have emotions right at this moment, because I use them badly. I also suck at debating. I need a happy medium in between cowering in nervousness (“Don’t get mad at me! Please!”) and arguing back inadvisedly.

epitome of incomprehensibility

Me again.

@Social Justice Atheist – I’m sorry to hear about the useless school counselor. You sound like a great person and you remind me a bit of my younger brother. He has severe dyscalculia – he couldn’t read a clock until he was 11-12 (a round clock, I mean) and he had to have exemptions for the last two grades of high school math. It took him a lot of trouble to get into the CEGEP program he wanted (CEGEP = Quebec thing you do between high school and university). But he’s a great thinker and writer, and he’s doing excellently at age 25 in his first year in university (in another province – I miss him!). There, he’s learning another language basically from scratch and working on a novel. He’s also a feminist ally – won’t call himself a feminist because of being a man, he says – and a supporter of Bernie Sanders, despite being in the wrong country! So, I guess this is all to say that you don’t have to do certain life steps and particular times, or conform to other people’s idea of success, in order to do cool things.

@Viscaria – “When something didn’t come easy, it was a big hit to my self-esteem and my self-concept as a ‘smart person.'” – Same here. Sometimes I worry about being either smarter or stupider than the people around me – and it’s either one or the other, or both at once somehow – even though I know this is a bad way of thinking.

@Paradoxical Intention, if you’re around – #notallgraphicdesigners 🙂 I got the shirt I ordered with one of your designs, and it’s awesome! It’s the one with a pink winking pixel-person, and I ordered it on a white long-sleeved shirt with red sleeves. I’ll wear it to work tomorrow and if the snooty boss asks me about it, I’ll tell him his competition designed it 🙂 …No, I won’t. I won’t. I promise. I’ll be good.

Social Justice Atheist
Social Justice Atheist
4 years ago

@epitome of incomprehensibility

Your brothers sounds awesome. 🙂

Also, I too have a lot of trouble with reading non-digital clocks. I get the two hands mixed up all the time.

epitome of incomprehensibility

Oh, thanks! 🙂

My problem is reading maps, or more specifically, connecting maps to actual directions. Spatial awareness is just not my thing, unless I’m somewhere I’ve been often. I also have ADHD and have trouble organizing myself time-wise. (Which reminds me, it’s past midnight here, so goodnight!)

Imaginary Petal
Imaginary Petal
4 years ago

Ughhhh. I just lost all my progress in Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 since it was released in September, due to my computer crashing while playing. Now I have a “corrupted save file” and it doesn’t seem like I can do anything about it. 6 months wasted. :/

kupo
kupo
4 years ago

@IP (btw, do you have a preferred short name? IP, Petal, something else?)
That’s the worst feeling. It takes me at least six months to even consider picking up a game again if my save data is lost. I love that a lot of the time you have a cloud backup now, but unfortunately that isn’t always the case.

@epitome

@Viscaria – “When something didn’t come easy, it was a big hit to my self-esteem and my self-concept as a ‘smart person.’” – Same here. Sometimes I worry about being either smarter or stupider than the people around me – and it’s either one or the other, or both at once somehow – even though I know this is a bad way of thinking.

I’m the same way. Add to that some stereotype threat and it’s often paralyzing.

Imaginary Petal
Imaginary Petal
4 years ago

@kupo

“Petal” is fine. 🙂

Stories
Stories
4 years ago

I’ve been lurking in this community for a long time, which is what I generally do on the internets because I’m sensitive, possibly overly so, and when people bite I usually leave–and I don’t want to leave here!

Anyway a couple of the posts here just made me want to reach out, so others first and then I’ll infodump about me me meeeeeeee…

@SJA and winter sky, I so feel for you both. I’ve been there. For me the answer was to a) stop listening to other people who told me depression was my fault and I just needed to exercise or look on the bright side or whatever, and b) get on medication. Depression is a real thing and honestly I think they ought to change the name, because I don’t think people take it seriously these days, and also mine tends to manifest in a very physical way with pain and exhaustion, so I view it as a full-on physical illness. When I was diagnosed (in the stone age, 1993) I got a LOT of shit for taking medication, people talking about “happy pills” and that, but I’d tried literally everything non-pharm before breaking down in the doctor’s office, and that’s when I said “fuck them, this works.” I had a hard time with side effects at first, but they leveled off. It was also hard when the doctor told me I’d be on them probably for the rest of my life, but if it’s take pills or be sick, I’ll take the pills. I don’t know what will work for you, but I seriously hope you find it.

@Orion, I was tagged as Gifted and did Gifted programs and it was freaking GREAT until 6th grade. I’m not sure but I suspect this was when my depression and ADHD (formally diagnosed years later) kicked in. Around 6th grade I kind of just stopped caring. My parents made jokes about me getting interested in boys at this time but it wasn’t that, it was just that none of it seemed important anymore. Looking back it seems they should have looked into it when their super-high achiever turned underachiever almost overnight, but they had their own problems at that time, so I can’t blame them. They put me in honors classes on the basis of test scores in junior high, but then in high school I discovered I could opt out of that, so I did. I was bored out of my mind in high school and wound up doing a program where I could go at my own pace, and finished up right quick with a diploma because I am a snob and did not want a GED. I have Issues with education to this day and I’m glad my kid had no problems in that area (he’s 24 and working on his master’s in philosophy and I could not be more proud).

Warning: Death stuff and grief and powerful sadness. Also brutal honesty and stuff I haven’t really told anyone.

Me: Things are a little overwhelming for me and have been for the past while. My oldest boy, like I said, is in grad school and he’s wonderful. We have a weird relationship, I was 19 when he was born and I feel like we kind of grew up together, but we love each other and sometimes I think we are the same person (until he turns into Mister Spock) and I love him fiercely. His father, not so wonderful, but he was pretty and could play flamenco guitar like a boss and I fell hard. He wasn’t very nice to me after the reality of babies hit, we got divorced, and he tried like hell to take the kid away from me but never quite succeeded.

My second boy died of SIDS at 3 months old; it was fucking awful and I basically stayed drunk for a year. His father was a man I loved more deeply than I ever could have imagined and we were together for 15 years when he was diagnosed with leukemia, then suddenly took a fall and had a brain hemorrhage. The doctors said he wasn’t coming back, and I kept the pact we’d made, and pulled the plug. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and still haunts me. A therapist told me I had PTSD from both of those incidents, which is probably true. After he died, I was pretty lost, and really afraid of men in general without him there to protect me (born in the 70s, raised fundie, it’s complicated); fortunately I’ve got some excellent male friends who helped me get through that.

Now, after moving five zillion times, I live with a dear friend in her mother’s house; mom has Alzheimer’s and is unable to walk or take care of herself, so I do it. When my own mother was sick, she was in Cali and I couldn’t do anything for her, so I’m glad to have this opportunity. I work days (at home, so I can still step and fetch for mom), roomie works nights, and really the only complication is that the house (which is very nice) is kind of hoarded out. After eight months I’ve made very little progress in cleaning up, but it wears on me sometimes.

I was recently diagnosed with a severe vitamin D deficiency and am supplementing to get it back up, but it’s sloooooooow going and I’m exhausted and hurt all the time. Recently my insurance changed and the ADD med I’ve been on for years became prohibitively expensive, but my GP is not willing to prescribe anything else, so off I go to the psychiatrist later this month. Been unmedicated as far as ADD since January and my work is suffering — I get paid on production and I’m not making dick. Roomie is willing to support me in the meantime but I’ve always been really good at my job and it goes hard to be always under quota and having mistakes coming back.

Also, this is a very petty gripe, but with all the vitamins the GP put me on plus my regular medicine I am now taking 11 pills a day and that is too many, but I don’t see anything that can be done about it.

I write fiction (hence my name) and am just about dying to get back to it; between the scatterbrain and the fatigue, I have about a million stories stuck in my head and I would really like to get them out on paper (well, computer). I can’t help crafting them in my brain, no matter what’s going on, LOL.

I really enjoy this blog. My family’s polite term is that I march to the beat of my own drum and since I’ve been reading here they kind of think I’ve gone overboard with the feminism, but I think what they don’t realize is that I never before had language to explain the things that have been pissing me off since I was five. LOL.

Thanks to David and all the commenters here. I may not post again, but I’ll definitely be here reading and appreciating.

ETA: I have read the welcome packet and comments policy and I really hope I haven’t said anything offensive; if so, it was unintentional and I’m very sorry.