Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolutions in Action

A friend of mine was offended at me last summer when I drive into town and had not seen her. She had expected me to call, and I had- only to be directed to a ringing sight that left no opportunity to leave a voice mail. A friend tried too, with the same result. She finally reached me in the car on my way home, where I pulled over to speak to her. She did not believe me, since she said her phone was always on, and I had not known what had happened. My cell was in the car charger. I tried calling her back to verify that the number was right, and she answered but hung up on me. I felt peaceful, in that I had made my own resolution not long before:

If someone does not believe me and gets offended, then that person is likely not a good friend for me, because I will not repeatedly beg anyone to be my friend, and lead myself into an attitude of giving that person too much power over me as a result. I will wait for her to decide to accept what I have told her, and if not, I will know that I have tried, and have left the door open, but I will not beat myself up over this.

My resolution was hard-fought, and came partly from decades of having done the wrong thing- begging people to forgive me immediately when it was not even my error but they thought it was, being terrified that someone would not be my friend anymore, and the like. I have experienced the fear that comes with that- fear that, for me, was unregulated by the system that regulates the fear of typical people- that went from 9 to 10 on a scale from 0 to 10 in a matter of seconds, and stayed at that level till it was straightened. Prayer helped me have peace this time. I felt it would be all right.

Yesterday, my friend called me. She was able to come to her own realization that it was not worth being offended at anyone, and she wanted to make things be all right by forgiving me and letting me forgive her if I had been offended. She had reasons for thinking that it had been she who had offended me, and that I was playing a game here. I was so blessed! Her early resolution to forgive everyone she could before the new year really saved our relationship! I was able to explain to her that even though her phone may have been on, mine had the problem that it had been cutting off when not attached to to the car charger, so I now had a new phone. Even though it did not matter to her on one level that this was so, it helped her to see that what she had been thinking was not part of this.

My friend is non-Spectrum, and in ways, is extreme NT. She is the first person who carefully told me about watching people's eyes to see the direction that they looked, so that I could look there too, and we could share what we were seeing with one another. She speaks in feelings exclusively when she is excited, and she is the person who really helped me to learn to try to talk in feelings a bit, so that she could follow me- and to be really careful with any statement at all that the feelings track had the same meaning I want to convey factually, because if they mean different things, then she will not get this. I know that it was very hard for her to reach out to me, and that means a great deal. I am learning to speak fluent NT partly by speaking to her, because she cannot speak very much of my native language (thinking in pictures and facts and logic and color and equations and touch and taste and smell and ... -- well, I use words, but think in other things first).

It is an answer to prayer that we are acting and feeling like friends with one another now. I had sent her a card, hoping by faith that it would be received and that she was no longer feeling hurt. When we spoke, she talked of her pride and her need to lay it aside, and that this kind of pride was not a good thing to have. Her example is a great one to all of us, Spectrum or typical (or otherwise), since we can all decide that we want to hold onto hurt or hold onto being right when it means killing an otherwise deep relationship. I think people are more important than being right. So does she.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Mathematical Christmas Fun

Standard Christmas is December 25, which is 1225 in the USA. It is the square of 35:


If we observe that the triangular number of n is the sum of the whole numbers from 1 to n, like

X 1

XX 1 + 2 = 3

XXX 1 + 2 + 3 = 6

XXXX 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10

then we can do this with 49, and we will get 1225.

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10 + 11 + 12 + 13 + 14 + 15 + 16 + 17 + 18 + 19 + 20 + 21
+ 22 + 23 + 24 + 25 + 26 + 27 + 28 + 29 + 30 + 31 + 32 + 33 + 34 + 35 + 36 + 37 + 38
+ 39 + 40 + 41 + 42 + 43 + 44 + 45 + 46 + 47 + 48 + 49 = 1225

Two places in Scripture where there is mathematics related, indirectly, to this subject are the ninth chapter of Daniel, and the first chapter of Matthew.

Merry Christmas to All!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

To the leadership of Autism Speaks

I recently read the Autism Speaks modification of the Ransom Notes campaign. I feel many things on reading it, and one is the horror of knowing that the leadership of that group apparently wishes that I had never been born, or that I would die at once. They assume that I am a burden on society. They assume that I am totally uncaring about anyone else, and have been completely robbed of social skills. They do not even know me- yet they make these assumptions.

Here are a few of the many facts they do not know about me:

(1) I have a number of published research papers in international mathematics journals.

(2) I have a PhD in my field.

(3) I have many friends, and none of them consider me to be a burden to anyone.

(4) I have children. All are non-spectrum.

(5) I was officially confirmed as "Asperger's"- that's right, on the autism spectrum- as an adult. I did well in mathematics because it has been a special interest of mine- an autistic perseveration- and yes, many of us have perseverations that lead to wonderful contributions to society if we are allowed to pursue them- and others of us have perseverations that are just a great deal of fun- and since you have no way to know which is which, and neither do we--why do you try to change something beautiful and cause grief and harm in the process?

(6) I have feelings. I have the capacity to feel emotional pain, including the rudeness of Autism Speaks. In addition, you have insulted many of my friends, and I feel equally badly at that. I don't like that you made them feel every bit as badly as you made me feel. I grieve for the children whose parents are afraid to get help for them, because your campaign has increased the stigma attached to being on the spectrum. Did you really mean to do this?

(7) I remember well before I could talk, and I had feelings then, as well. I was a person, and had the right to live. I do not appreciate the implication that the right to live should be taken away from those who are nonverbal. I do not appreciate the idea that I should have been aborted. To those in leadership of Autism Speaks, how would you feel if anyone said this about you? What would you do if someone published such a report?

(8) I have friends who are nonverbal adults. All of them contribute to society. All of them interact with assistive technology- and all of them type. I first met them online. One I know face-to-face and have been privileged to interact with her a great deal, and another, I will meet later this week for the first time- I am really excited! These are highly intelligent people.

(9) I pay taxes. I live independently. In fact, I teach college.

(10) If I were suddenly to become neurotypical, my IQ would need to be lowered substantially. I would have to give up my special abilities, such as synesthesia, perfect pitch, or the capability to think outside the box. I have many others as well.

(11) I have weaknesses, but I have learned to ask other people for help when needed- for example, saying: "how do you feel about that", because I know I do not read feelings well- and they appreciate that I care- and I know that they do, even if I do not read that they do. People were meant to live together, sharing strengths and weaknesses with one another- we are all greater because we can all share with one another. This does not make any of us burdens on society.

(12) I like neuroptypical people. I also like autistic folk. I believe we all have a right to be.

(13) As a child, I remember being in deep emotional pain caused by misunderstandings, and the key part of this was in people's instructions to put a nice face on everything and completely deny my own feelings- that I was only supposed to think happy thoughts, and nothing else. I find this mentality all too prevalent among the "curebie" idea that you lock away those who cannot be made to look normal, and for the rest, you punish any behavior that is acknowledgment of a neurological difference.

(14) Finally, it is written that we are 'fearfully and wonderfully made", and our "soul knows it right well" (see Verses 13 and 14 of Psalms 139). Therefore, I am fairly certain that the leadership of Autism Speaks is not comprised of people of faith, but in case there are some, please know that God created us for a reason, as He created you.

It is not too late to turn back. Maybe, if my letter has made you feel something, you will write back to learn more.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Rubbed-Out N Label

Lately, I have been typing on a keyboard with the N on the N-key unreadable, due to being rubbed-out. All the other keys look new. I have tried white-out to make an N, but have not been successful- and it chips off too quickly to be worth it, anyway. I know where the N is positionally, so I really do not need to mark that key. If all the keys were blank, it would be a little bit more difficult, since I really do not have the keyboard memorized, but once my hands are positioned, then I can type just fine without looking.

In the real world, I am sometimes like that N-key in that I do not always have the veneer I need. I recently learned, for example, that when speaking, I have just been judging how long I will speak, but not saying a word to my listeners that I have the time mapped out and will not speak too long- and then, they worry about this. It is just one more way that I am like the N, without a marker where there needs to be one for people to fill in the blanks and figure out where it is-- only now that I know, I find myself putting this marker in place where needed- as a teacher, I think it helps my students feel better, knowing that I won't make them choose between staying later than the end of the time (and being late to something else), or leaving before I am finished (being rude) coupled with missing material they need to know. If I do not say, and make them have faith that I know internally (I do), it still adds stress to their lives- something I do not like to happen to me. It is, after all, easier for me when a person states that my needs have been taken into account, and the person is aware of my needs and understands them- and here, I was doing to others a thing that made me feel stressed.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Creativity and Respect

When I was a girl, I never understood respect for authority. I was not wantonly rebellious, or mean, or desiring anarchy, or even "disrespectful"- but in terms of any social cue related to it, I never really had any belief in it or any understanding beyond some bare rudiment. On the other hand, I understood respect for expertise, or life, or creative work, or ability. I loved my parents and knew they had knowledge and desire to take care of me, so I would listen to them because it was, logically, right. I respected my teachers because they were there to teach me, and knew things I did not. I respected the work of a master crafter because I knew that the person who made it loved the work and cherished it, along with the expertise the one who made it had. So, if a person in authority loved the work, then I was very content with that, and trusted this person.

There are the times I got it wrong: When my teachers or parents were in error on details, I was quick to correct them- even when I was in the elementary grades. I did not realize that I might hurt anyone's feelings. I never understood any social rules about this. Then, when I needed directions explained several times to me, people in authority might take me for being disrespectful and defiant: perhaps, they were still hurt over finding out that I had seen an error they had made in some detail, and perhaps, they believed that I knew a lot about social things, or about understanding directions that were given in terms of social cuing or other socially-based and unspoken directions that I really did not know- and they assumed as a result that I was being difficult. I did not know why they thought this, so I was just frightened and also certain I would be harshly rebuked for asking and asking until I learned what I needed to know. Still, my desire to know was greater than my desire for not getting hurt, so I took my licks and asked away till I leaned what I needed to know. I used to think that learning was painful at the beginning, in any subject, because of the constant rebukes I got from many quarters. I was never a quiet person, contrary to the stereotype often held about girls on the spectrum.

Today, I went for a walk with another woman on the spectrum who is also not quiet, and like myself, has asked many questions, over and over, till she learned what she needed to learn. We are both outgoing, intelligent women as a result, and both of us have endured the rebukes to reap the benefits of having that knowledge. I was glad to meet her, and I am happy to reflect on it.

In the last month, I have begun to learn about feelings at a new level. In particular, sometimes a person in authority wiill have an insecurity about being in charge, and not want to be found not equal to the task- or the person will just feel embarrassed to be corrected publicly. I am learning not only to try to let things go till I can say something privately (when I need to say it at all- [and seeing the "big picture" which would help me determine when I need to, is easier in some situations than in others]), and where neeced, to put it in such a way that the person knows I appreciate his or her strengths, or otherwise is allowed to save face. This is embryonic for me. I finally can feel "respect' in a new fashion- a caring thing, and not a fear of punishment-- or a cruel, arbitrary thing demanded of one by force.

There are those who only care about those who "like" and "respect" them- so they do not like those who appear to fail in these areas. Of those who appear to show disrespect, there are some who are difficult people, and who undermine others just to see if they can do it. There are also people who are wired to do the right thing, but may ask questions and say facts instead of feelings, in a desire to be right and help others be right- and because it just feels better. The first kind of people are disloyal; the second kind are loyal to a fault, if that is possible. The first kind are coming from pride and arrogance; the second kind are not coming from that place. I am learning to look at the big picture to tell one kind of person from the other. I hope the typical people who read my blog will begin to look, too, if they are not yet used to this. Autistic people often get blamed for trying to "play people" when they are honestly needing directions. If one takes only a five-minute slice of the behavior, it can look the same. Do take longer, and look at a several-day slice of this behavior to see the difference. When I was a girl, I did not understand authority- but many in charge did not understand me, either.

We are neither stupid not defiant. If we do not understand, let us ask you- and be prepared to be appreciated. Answer our questions, and be patient to give us the detail we need to understand, and we will respect that you did- as a master crafter or an artisan is respected.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

On Receiving My Healing

On Receiving My Healing

I gave my life to Jesus Christ after encountering Him personally, and have spent roughly the last two-thirds of my life as a believer. Not long ago, I spoke with a dear sister in Christ- a woman who dearly loves speaking the truth about everything, and speaking deep love at the same time, and calls me whenever she needs to talk to someone who is not a phony. Though she is not on the spectrum and I am, we can still appreciate each other a great deal, and I find her love of truth extremely refreshing.

In this call, she told me that she had heard recently on the television that someone had a message from the Lord that God was healing someone from Asperger’s (my formal diagnosis) right now, and that she had laid hands on the TV and prayed that I could receive it. I had to grin, because I also believe in healing, but as we both know, you can only get healed of something if it is wrong in the first place. I explained to her that I do receive all the healing that God wants me to have- but that I have to wait on His timing and His will and His order of things, or I will lose my personality completely, and in fact, be hurt and not healed at all. She could relate to what I said, but still seemed to think that I was not receiving. We both know my favorite scripture regarding being on the spectrum: From Psalms 139:13, I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and my soul knows it very well. On the other hand, I desire to forgive everyone in my life, on or off the spectrum, who has hurt me, whether through misunderstanding or intentionally, and to forgive myself for the errors I have made in hurting others, again, intentionally or not. I certainly view this as part of healing, and I plan to receive it all. I can find the places in the Bible where it says that this is the will of God. In view of that, I need to be able to discern how typical people feel in certain situations, and to be able to discern how I feel, and to develop the self-control (related to executive function) that will enable me to handle my feelings, and to respect the feelings of others, and to interact in a way I want, rather than in a way my feelings make me interact before I even know how I feel. (See Galatians 5:22 ) Of course, these are scriptures which a typical believer can be expected to read and take seriously. In my case, when I had prayed about this back in the winter of 2006-2007, I had begun to realize that I have more difficulty with this (emotional detection and control and more) than typical people have in a number of ways- and I began to accept this about myself, even though I did not want to think of myself as being disabled in any capacity if I could help it. I began to understand that I am indeed different in this way. Back then, I melted down much more easily than a typical person would about certain things, and kept my cool about things that would scare a typical person very badly- and I am still like that today, though I have gained a great deal of control compared to where I was, by learning to pray for help when I feel I need it, and learning to ask better questions to make things less overwhelming for me.

In July of 2007, I self-diagnosed, at the time finding Asperger’s to be a very accurate description of me in many ways- down to sensory issues I had told nobody about for years. In the process, I discovered that for me, it confers a number of decided advantages along with the disadvantages, so that being “healed” of it might actually leave me quite a bit worse off than I am at present, as well as incredibly disoriented. In particular, my IQ is in the top one percent, my long-term memory goes back to before I was born, I have perfect pitch and color-sound synesthesia that coordinates with it, my synesthesia coordinates color with many if not all of my senses other than sight in a way that aids my long-term memory, I have mathematical intelligence, I remember names as well as a typical person recalls faces, I can ignore my feelings in crisis situations so that I can apply logic more clearly and more rapidly, I have a hyper-focus that enables me to concentrate on something intensely even in heavy background noise for long periods of time, and more. Would I trade all that in for being typical? I certainly would not quickly agree to it. On the other hand- and I learned humility in a deep way from accepting all of this- I am face blind (prosopagnosic), have had to learn to read facial emotion as an adult by using Simon Baron-Cohen’s software (and I am still learning- it has helped amazingly!- but I still have great difficulty in knowing when someone is trying to manipulate someone else, or play a trick, or reacting to a social situation I have not discerned at all, for example), have visual memory that is quite poor (I say the name of a landmark if I want to remember it!), do not have words to match the levels of even many of my common feelings (but I am learning them quickly, now that I am studying!), have interesting sensory issues, have trouble in following the social content of two simultaneous conversations at once, have to work hard to see the “big picture” in social situations (this requires a hyper-focus on my part often enough, if I am unfamiliar with the situation , even when a friend is really trying hard to explain it), and although I have nearly complete memory of events back to childhood- I lack the understanding of why the typical people in my life did the things they did, for good or for bad- in many instances. Again, I am learning. I also lack the big picture that goes with many of these events, though I have learned the meaning behind many of them with help from typical people.

The conversation soon changed to something else entirely, but came back to healing- we both love that topic in many forms, so my dear friend and I come back to it easily and often. If she had perseverations I would say it was one of hers; it is surely one of mine.
My friend mentioned the man born blind, whom Jesus laid hands on to heal, and then asked him what he saw. The man said he saw people as trees walking. I replied that this is me- I am receiving a gradual healing- I see people’s emotions like I might see people as trees walking if I make my eyes blurry. Now, she understood. I am becoming a whole person. To me, that does not mean becoming typical. I am developmentally delayed, but not unable to grow. My current perseveration is learning to understand how typical people process things- everything from emotions to facts- including asking how it feels to them, and pausing to try to imagine feeling that same thing when they share it with me-- and to be able to communicate with them- and understand the reply- on different levels, including the kinds of incongruity between facts and feelings that enable them to be direct with one another in conveying displeasure and gentle rebuke without being too blunt or backing one another into a corner. At the same time, in all my memories there are none of having ever been typical, so I have learned that in experiential matters I will have to ask for more detail about what someone means, and share the experiences of others to gain the understanding I need to interrelate when shared experience is the method of social interaction that is in use in a conversation- and there really is no “healing” that will give that to me for free. My friends are happy to share- I think they are glad I want to feel what they felt. Sometimes, they ask me things about what I feel in certain situations, or what my experiences were- and it is fun for me to share as well- it is cross-cultural communication.

There is a word about each person as having a place that we are meant to fill (please see 1 Corinthians 12, 13, 14 and 15). I feel that I am being created and fashioned according to this, prepared for where I shall go (not to negate free will within this framework), and that to be healed, I need to wait on Him completely. I think that healing is for everyone, autistic or not, and that part of that is in learning not to be afraid of who people are-in my case, that involves accepting typical people as they are, and learning that they can accept me as well., and learning to accept that I am not perfect, need help with certain things, and that this is OK. I am only formally confirmed this last March.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Funny Story

Two days ago, I went to an amusement park with four friends, all on the spectrum. We had all brought different things with us, for a variety of reasons: I had brought an easily-recognizable tote bag, with a few stim toys in it that I had somehow not removed. We were in line for one ride, when someone asked about another nearby attraction, and I explained that it was like the old "scrambler" that had little seats and that spun people around two ways at the same time, but with an additional feature that it was held in a dark room, with a strobe light- "like this", I said- and took out a ball that strobed when squeezed- and one of my friends began to laugh a lot. It was contageous, and soon I was laughing hard, too. In the middle of this, he asked why it was funny, and went back to laughing. That was even funnier! Sharing made it even better.

Do we laugh "inappropriately", as many of us have been "observed" to have done at formal evaluations or other places where we are under professional observation, or do we simply realize that something is funny where NTs cannot get the joke? I have often felt so lonely, when they could not share my laughter with me. Maybe, they have felt lonely when I did not get their humor, too.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Disclosure of AS in Marriage: Pro/ Con

Dear Reader,

In what follows, feel free to replace AS by autistic, and feel free to replace NT by NS (non-Spectrum), as desired. Of course, there are many more reasons in either category. I would tell people that disclosure is better.

Ten Reasons Not To Disclose AS to Your NT Partner

10. You really are not sure yourself about it- you just think you might be AS.

9. Your partner does not believe in any "psychobabble", so you are not quite sure how to convey it in a credible fashion just yet.

8. You worry that your partner will reject you if you do disclose.

7. Your partner had a prior bad experience with another ASpie who used AS as an excuse to be rude and inconsiderate, and you don't know how to disclose without sounding like you are doing the very same thing.

6. You are not 'out", and your partner cannot keep a secret well. (Assume that you are self-dx, but not formal.) Being outed right now would cause you to face serious discrimination.

5. Your partner really listens to everything her best friend says. That friend has been complaining about his or her spouce's AS, and saying that people with AS are emotional parasites on the normal members of society.

4. Your partner is applying for health insurance to cover you both, and there is an ASD question on the form, and you do not want your partner to have to lie to avoid discrimination.

3. You have in-laws who are looking for a reason not to respect you, and you feel that your partner would tell them without your consent. Assume that their respect is important to your partner, and that they live nearby.

2. If your partner feels really down, if you do not disclose AS then it will not be automatically your fault- due to "CADD". You want the blame to be assigned fairly.

1. If you break up, AS cannot be used against you in a custody fight.

Ten Top Reasons to Disclose AS to Your NT Partner:

10. You feel the need to explain why you have been admiring the beautiful colors in the rainbow of an oil spot on the sidewalk, and why you played that same fantastically beautiful classical music CD about 100 times last week, in a way that makes sense to your beloved.

9. You feel like explaining why it is that you have every street in the city memorized, or how it is that you have all those prime numbers memorized, or why your beloved's voice is such a pretty color, or...

8. You never get your partner's jokes, and want to explain why.

7. You have a lot of sensory issues that you really need your partner to accommocate.

Your child reminds you of how you were as a child of that age, and you want to have your child tested for AS, but your partner is downplaying the whole idea, and would take it more seriously if you disclose. This is particularly relevant for school accommodations/ IEP. It is also important to share with a therapist or other medical or health-care professional who may be evaluating your child, and non-disclosure could prove difficult in that situation.

Your child has sensory issues and your partner will not believe them. You know your child is telling the truth from your past experience in being an AS child, so you want to advocate for your child more effectively.

4. You make a lot of social errors, and really need your partner to have a way to keep you out of that kind of trouble in certain situations. You trust your partner implicitly with this, and know that your partner is worth it to you- for you to try hard to get this right- and he or she is willing to help.

3. You have common experiences but interpret them very differently, and realize that it would really help your communication if you could just explain the differences.

2. You want to help your partner understand why you do not always read your beloved's feelings, but that you still really care. You want your partner to share in words what those feelings are more often, and tell you what would please him or her.

1. You love your partner greatly, and want to share everything with this person you care about so deeply.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

An Article I Really Liked

http://chronicle. com/weekly/ v55/i41/41cowena utism.htm

I read this, and it brought back memories -- feelings I have had all my life-- knowing that my brain was somehow wired differently, and that if one learned to use that wiring correctly, it would be a really excellent thing, not better and not worse but different from NT wiring (I did not know the slang NT back then), and with all this an intuition that there were others who shared my wiring and had not learned to use it effectively, and were viewed as not very smart by others, and denied the opportunities to learn in the best way they could- appropriate to their actual learning styles- as I was and am. (Of course, we are all different, so my intuition was at best an extremely rough approximation. Also, my definition of "best way" is only rough and intuitive.)

As a college educator, I see the other side of this as well, and again, there were things about this article that really struck me as accurate.

Dear reader, what do you think of it?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bill's Emotional Rating Challenge

This challenge was put to me by Bill Nason, whom I know well from another list. The idea is to choose any emotion that is hard to feel at low levels, and then create an effective rating scale where you list different life events or experiences that cause you to feel this emotion at low levels. For people who are in touch with their feelings, the challenge would be to find an emotion that they could do this with- it has to be one that is somehow hard to feel. Later, I will post more of Bill's background information for this- but for now, here are my parameters (feel free to change them to something that works for you- it will still meet the challenge).

My rating scale is from 0 to 10. A rating of 0 means that the event does not make me feel the emotion at all, and a rating of 10 means that the event makes me feel the emotion at the highest level of intensity imaginable. I can have feelings I am not aware of, so this can be a real challenge for me.

Here is one example:

Worry Table (mine)

10-Being in the W T C when the planes hit it, or having a friend or family member inside, or equivalent

9-Losing my purse with all my cash and credit cards in it- and some other items that are virtually irreplaceable, but highly useful.

8.-Number 7.5 below, where the person is insisting that there is no explanation, and refusing to even speak to me.

7.5-Being accused by a friend of being incredibly rude or arrogant or hateful, when all I have done was misunderstand directions to something, or misread a social cue-- and being worried about how to communicate what I need to clear my name, and help my friend not feel hurt by the misunderstanding. (My friend's reaction can make this better or worse.)

7. Being publicly blamed for something I have not done, with the appearance given that nobody will believe me.

6-Being observed at work, in an unfamilar task, where I have only heard the directions one quick time, and I am being evaluated on how well I understand NTs.

5.- Trying to hear really important directions in a crowded, noisy room, where the person giving them is really quiet, has already repeated them twice, and I have not really understood well enough to do them.

5-Finding a person I know (and am supposed to recognize) in a crowded place, when I have not disclosed being face blind.

5. Seeing my mother cry, when I was a child, and did not understand why she was crying. (I wanted to make her feel better, but could not really do it.)

4- Being unable to find my glasses, when I am at home, know they are in the house, and can find my back-up pair.

4. Getting a letter from the IRS, saying I owe several hundred dollars, and being told I need to find records to show I dont (and I have put the records away over a year ago, and do not immediately know where they are).

3.5 Needing to drive 8 hours in a snowstorm, but with a car that is in good working order, with a full tank of gas, and no passengers.

3- Thinking about things I need to do the next day, when it is bedtime (writing them all down takes away that worry, and puts this back to Level 1 or 0)

2- Having a student get worried about having the ability to learn my subject.

1- Needing something from the store, and learning that it is closed after I get there- so I will need to go back the next day (but the item is not one I really need even this week).

0-- Doing interesting mathematics problems

0-- Public speaking. (Do I lack the T.O.M. to have stagefright? I have never had any, unless the situation itself warranted it.)

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Favorite Word

"Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me;
It is oil upon my head;
Do not let my head refuse it,..." ~ from Psalms 141: 5

I like this word, because it says my attitude towards my friends: Do not spare my feelings, but clearly tell me what I need to know, when you see me in error. I can read between the lines a little bit, but if you do not want me to know at all, for fear that my feelings will be hurt, then I will likely not know (from you), and if I do not learn indirectly, then I will be hurt, because the thing that is really wrong will surface, and I may not even know what hit me.

There are people who do not want to know. There are many reasons: fear of feeling badly, worry that the correction they receive is not accurate, pride, fear of rejection from the person who shared, low self-image, laziness, and more.

I can read this:

Me: "Do I look fat in this dress?" (Assume for the sake of argument that I do- to you and to me.)
You: "I like the color, but I would not wear it."

I cannot read this:

Me: "Do I look fat in this dress?" (Assume for the sake of argument that I do- to you and to me.)
You: "You look beautiful today."

Some people cannot understand either of these statements. I used to be one of them. For that case, say something more clearly than either of these scenarios, if your friend really wants to know.

If a friend realizes that I do not understand, I hope my friend will say it more clearly to me. I really want to know. If I hear what my friend says and think I understand when I do not, and I act on what I think I know, I hope my friend will stop me and correct my misunderstanding in time. I would not be offended if my friend were to say,

"Yes, you look fat- I know you will look OK in that dress another day, but today, it will not be what you desire."

or something else equally fair. My feelings of looking bad are completely overwhelmed by my feelings of delight that I have an honest friend who cares enough to risk offending me, to help me be my best in this situation. I feel this way in general.

Do you?