All posts tagged sharing is caring

  • For Your Reading Pleasure

    I doubt this is much of a revelation for anyone, but I’ve been neglecting this space. Badly. And badly is perhaps the largest understatement I’ve made all year. It’s been over a year. I’m too embarrassed to actually check, and I’m not going to put in some note for me to fix this post later with a more accurate length of time.

    So what happened?

    Well, to be blunt, I got a Job. A real, grownup big person job with health insurance and a pension and all the other things that make a job a Job. And having that Job made me want to die.

    We aren’t supposed to talk about that. I can hear my mother already hissing into my ear about how You can’t say that on the internet! What if you need some other Job in the future? What if they reeeaaad what you said? Which, I suppose that could happen. But does it really matter?

    I had a Job. And having that Job made me want to die. That is not an understatement, nor is it hyperbole. The Job that I had seriously made me consider taking my own life. It made me feel trapped and discouraged and like the person I am didn’t matter.

    I’m doubly not supposed to say that because that Job was teaching. Like, little kids. Like, this is how you multiply numbers together and why you might want to read for pleasure. I’m triply not supposed to say that because, despite everything, I like teaching. I might even want to do it again someday.

    But my teaching Job made me want to die.

    I have struggled with depression for more years than someone who is only 28 should. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t struggle. Suicidal ideation is as novel to me as eating cereal for breakfast.

    What if they reeeaaad what you said?

    Yes, what if they read what I said. What if someone finds out that I struggle with depression. That I have pondered the various ways I could end my life, both in absurdly creative manners and in ones so cliche they’re boring. What if they read what I said and realize I dare want to be around children. Around people. Around life.

    To which I say: that’s exactly the fucking problem.

    We live in the era of social media. We are to curate our lives into this rosy, perfect package. We project our best selves. We are eternally successful and happy and doing exactly what we’re meant to do.

    But what happens when you suddenly find yourself not living your best life? It’s not enough to curl under the blankets because it is just too much to get out of bed. You cannot just hide. You must disappear.

    And so I did.

    I carefully stopped talking about myself anywhere. I neglected this blog. I let my business venture die. I stopped responding to email. I ceased updating Facebook. If anyone asked, I said I was happier living my life than documenting. Never mind that I was barely breathing, let alone living.

    Saying ‘I am depressed’ is the unspeakable secret. I’m not living the best life. I’m not doing okay. It’s not so much that I want to die, I just wish I didn’t exist.

    What if they reeeaaad what you said?

    I think being a grownup with an important Job is the loneliest I have ever felt. It brought me the furthest I have ever been from myself. The depression that settled over me was unlike the depression I have come to call ‘normal life.’ It sucked every ounce of desire from my body. I no longer cared I hated my life. I no longer cared the artist in me was choking. I no longer cared to be seen. I made myself smaller. I stripped away everything, including the thing that has always been my greatest asset: my voice.

    And fuck that.

    What if they reeeaaad what you said?

    Fuck all of this bullshit. I don’t want to be silent anymore. I don’t want to sit here, biting my fingernails, worrying about what if someone reads something I wrote.

    Isn’t that the whole point? Isn’t that the whole goddamn point?

    In case you’re wondering, I feel a lot better now. Now that my Job is not my job. I am slowly finding my way back to a place where I can confidently say my name and say I am a writer.

    Mom, you don’t understand. I am not ashamed of myself anymore. I want them to read what I said.

  • Three Days of Night is Now Available!

    I’ve been attempting to play the slow game of book-selling. In what may or may not be viewed as somewhat dickish behavior, I have purposefully been letting the news about my novella release come in dribs and drabs. If I’m completely honest, this may be rooted in a bit of fear. Fear of what, I’m not sure. But sometimes we get afraid of our successes, and this might be that for me.

    Anyways, the happy news is that Three Days of Night is available on Amazon. I’ve already had some success with it, which is incredible. It’s been on two Top 100 lists, and still clings onto one of them. I’ve also already made back a little more than 10% of the money I sunk into its publication, so that’s reassuring. I’m optimistic that I can break even on it before the year ends. What? I never said I was an optimistic optimist.

  • The Trouble with Words

    It would be a gross understatement to say that I love the Utne Reader. You never know what you’re going to get each issue, but it’s guaranteed to be interesting, thought provoking, and likely to change your mind at least a little about something. But also confirm a lot of what you expected. At least if you’re me. Also, it’s a magazine that was a feed reader before everyone used Google Reader and BoingBoing to keep them up on everything. I have a soft spot for slightly out-dated literary things. Sue me.

    In their latest issue, they featured a blurb from the Harvard Business Review: The Trouble with Bright Kids. Never mind how hilarious it is that this article comes from the Harvard Business Review.

    Ironically, writes the Review, “gifted children grow up to be more vulnerable, and less confident, even when they should be the most confident people in the room.”

    Read more:

    Yes, I did just quote something quoting something else. Not a ‘best practice’ of, well, anything, but I’d rather encourage people to check out Utne than HBR. Harvard Business Review tends to be stuffy and boring and really involved with itself, whereas Utne is interesting and only a little involved with itself. But I digress!

    I was really happy to find this and not entirely because it confirmed something that I have long known. It’s not really a secret that I have a thing for writing, or that it’s something at which I’m usually pretty good. And yet, there have been plenty of times I have been paralyzed with the inability to actually write. Plebes might call it writer’s block, but it’s not. It’s not that I don’t have any ideas, which is truly what writer’s block is about. It’s this odd fear of doing writing it wrong.

    And I think it stems from years and years and years of being told how good I am at it. Also the years and years and years of personal and educational evidence with little-to-no professional validation. Even though I know there’s nothing wrong with my writing, there is always a small piece of me that is going to think that I must be doing it wrong if there are no fruits to my labor.

    I wish this was the sort of thing we talked more about it education. We’re overly concerned with making the data work, getting our students to be successful, and being good cheerleaders for the good work and effort we see that we completely and totally forget that words matter. I’m guilty of this myself.

    Reflecting on how I talk to the group of the first graders I work with who are struggling with math, I wonder how much damage I have done that counter-acts the good.. They do not struggle with math because they are unintelligent, or are bad at math. They struggle because the way they think about math is not the way it is being taught.

    A lot of what I do is reassuring these 6- and 7-year-olds that they don’t have to do math the way their teacher does. If that method doesn’t work for them, it is okay to do something else that does work for them. The kids that are terrible with numbers? I show them how to see patterns on a modified number grid. (Side Note: whoever decided the first row of a standard number grid should be 1-10 and not 0-9 really doesn’t understand the way some kids think.) I show them different ways to manipulate number sentences to make them make more sense to the kid. I identify misconceptions they have and correct them, because the misconceptions they have were taken for-granted by adults that they were obvious.

    But the thing I do a lot is say things like “you’re really good at math” when something clicks for them. I’m trying to build their confidence as mathematicians, but what if that’s not what I’m really doing? What if I’m setting them up for that sense of fear I feel when it comes to doing math in the classroom? I do know that a teacher has said about a particular student “He does so well with you, but when he’s with me, it falls apart.”

    I’m going to really have to think about the words I say. Perhaps “You are working so hard” is something I should say more often.

  • Happiness

    This picture just makes me so happy. Every time I see it, I can’t help but feel a little giddy.

  • Just wanted to share…

    My boyfriend took this picture of me a few weeks ago in Indiana. I believe it is the perfect photo to sum me up as a human being.

  • How About Some Blu?

  • Lady Gaga is viscous hungry sex in hellfire.

    I didn’t watch the Super Bowl. Is anyone surprised? And while the internet is all abuzz about how misogynistic the Super Bowl Ads were this year…I’m not going to discuss that either. Yes, shocking! How could I possibly resist the intersection of media and gender?

    Because Riese over at Autostraddle wrote the most amazing takedown of Taylor Swift and the Grammys. That’s how. And oh boy, it touches on virgin/whore complexes, and copycat songwriting, and the perpetually perceived purity of childhood. And she’s got awesome charts and awesome comparison pictures between Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga, and has quotes like this:

    Let’s bring it back around to the lady that obvs should’ve won: Lady Fucking Gaga. Lady Gaga is viscous hungry sex in hellfire. She’s more theatrical than Broadway and every night she sings in romantic open fists. Lady Gaga opens her dress, extracts her gut, assembles it in shapes splashed in sinister glitter and then shatters her dangerous violent diamonds onto the piano and screams FIRE and it sounds like bad romance. She wants your ugly, she wants your disease, and she’s everything Taylor Swift will never be. Punks don’t win awards, they eat awards.

    Yeah. I don’t need to talk about the Super Bowl. Or anything else. Just go read it.

  • Just Take the Trolley

    Photo courtesy of Thomas Hawk.

    I spent some time at the local library this weekend getting some work done. I took some time to graze through some periodicals, including the Utne Reader. It’s been several years since I last picked up the Utne in a tiny Michigan town, and that’s a decision I have come to regret. The January/February 2010 issue has some fantastic articles and dispatches.

    In particular there’s a quick dispatch from the IEEE Spectrum on the coming streetcar revival. Considering I’ve been planning a move to the stereotypical trolley-land of San Francisco in two years, the timing is interesting, to say the least. Nevermind that the true trolleys are the land of tourists and real transportation is on subways and trolley-busses (far less romantic).

    I’m sort of passionate about public transportation. While driving is convenient (and a necessity for my current locale), it stands in stark contrast to my ethics. Cars are perhaps, among other things, a hallmark of American consumption and consumerism. They’re also terribly inefficient in terms of resources, and time & energy waste. And I’m aware that most people who have never lived in a public transport mecca will go on and on and on about how that is false, cars save so much time, blah blah blah.

    I hate to break it to you, but no. They don’t. I’ll concede that they do in public transport black holes, but anyone who’s lived in cities where transportation is essential to the entire population will understand my point. When implemented effectively, public transportation is superior and reduces pollution and the need for resources. It’s why I’m such a huge fan of the bicycle.

    But back to the trolleys. I find them to be exciting. It could potentially be a way to get an effective public transportation system in place without the crazy high costs associated with them. Smaller metropolises could utilize a streetcar system to great effect. The more people we get on mass transit the better. Driving a car is political, and it’s not politics I endorse.

  • National Geographic: The Bionic Age

    I’m probably going to regret posting about this when some of my friends start hacking off their limbs, but! This month’s National Geographic has a fantastic article on bionics. We are officially living in the future. We might not have flying cars, but my god, we have cyborgs. Legit cyborgs.

    This is completely awesome. I’m having trouble expressing just how much glee this brings to my life. The Editor’s Note of the issue, I think, states it well:

    But the bionics of modern medical engineering has little to do with enabling someone to run 60 miles an hour or use an eye like a zoom lens. It is more about the quiet miracle of holding a fork or seeing the silhouette of a tree. […] “It made me feel I was just Ray again”

    I know what it means to lose part of yourself. Perhaps not in the physical, corporeal sense, but in no way less painful and traumatizing. It’s really difficult to regain that footing, that sense of “this is me.” The fact that these new technologies are giving some of that back to people is simply beautiful.

    In some ways it is a touch creepy. Reading about the rewiring of nerve-ends gives my skin the crawlies. I couldn’t read the section on how bionic eyes work. The details are gross, but the big picture is amazing. And I hope that this doesn’t become corrupted in too quick a fashion. I know some of my cyberpunk fanboys are drooling over the idea of that arm with a weapon attached. In the technological dream, such fantasies are cool and fun. I just hope they never enter reality.

    Photo courtesy of Mark Thiesson via National Geographic.

  • Terrorball

    My excellent friend Bora “Max” Koknar pointed me in the direction of Lawyers, Guns and Money’s Terrorball.

    Our national government and almost all of the establishment media have decided to play a similar game, which could be called Terrorball. The first two rules of Terrorball are:

    (1) The game lasts until there are no longer any terrorists, and;
    (2) If terrorists manage to ever kill or injure or seriously frighten any Americans, they win.

    Ah yes, the awesome game played by American politicians and American media outlets alike. It’s a game designed to keep all of us living in fear of ridiculously unlikely things. It’s the same mindset that leads to what counts as “good parenting” (ie nothing short of placing children in plastic bubbles).

    It’s also the same reason why our healthcare system is broken and not going to be fixed by any healthcare reform that might pass. Keep the masses scared and distracted so no one can ponder what is truly scary in our country. Like our uninsured and unemployed. Like our rampant destruction of our environment. Like a million other things. Focusing on terrorism lets us ignore the mirror we should be examining. It excuses us from fixing more pressing problems

    Which, of course, benefits big media and politicians. As long as we remain scared, politicians retain their power and media retains it captive audience. If we actually focused on real issues and not imaginary ones, we might actually go outside and do good work that will transform our society. Transform it in ways that demands accountability and shuns consumerism for the sake of consuming.