Monday, April 15, 2013

Catching UP

It has been forever since I have written a post, mostly because I didn't have very much to say.  I didn't have any awesome terrible date tales of woe for you to scrutinize, and mostly every post would have just consisted of, "So I fucking hate grad school...." or "So I fucking hate Baltimore."   Both of which are still pretty accurate as of now.  The good news, however, is that sometimes things happen nowadays.  

I am interning full-time at a Baltimore City Public high school.  Every time I say that, people say things like, "Oh wow, I've heard that's a pretty rough district."  Like I'm living in an episode of "The Wire."  Certainly, it's true that things happen in urban districts that don't tend to happen in suburban districts; gang affiliations, kids macing other kids to avenge some perceived facebook slight, high school boys saying "fuck you, bitch" to me occasionally...  But here's the secret.  When you work in a high school urban districts aren't that different from suburban ones because ALL TEENAGERS ARE IDIOTS.  Across the board.  Black, white, rich, poor, suburban, urban, rural, the whole pack of 'em.   I love working with teens and I don't mean this as a character assessment.   I mean, teenagers are idiots.  The best way to handle them is to think of them like drug addicts.   Think about it, they're self-absorbed, impulsive, unpredictable, prone to mood swings, and frequently fail to think of consequences.   Seriously, sometimes when I'm dealing with little Johnny I just envision a reed-thin toothless crack head tweaking out of his mind.   This helps me act appropriately.

And while I do still occasionally get panicky taking a shower in the morning thinking of all I have to do  during the day ahead, I would have to say I'm a lot happier than I was with my previous job.  Like a lot.   Like I don't have to chain smoke or go to happy hours 4/5 days to dull the stress tumor that was rapidly growing in my brain anymore.  I sometimes kind of panic in general though.  I think I am so neurotic that I need to swap addictions.   I'm not addicted to smoking anymore so I instead have become addicted to believing that I have accidentally poisoned myself.   Seriously, that's a thing.   I was cleaning the bathroom the other day and I was cleaning up gobs of hair dye I had gotten all over the counter with foaming bleach cleaner.   Than I remembered that if you mix ammonia and bleach it produces a toxic gas, I was pretty sure my hair dye was ammonia free but nevertheless I started to forget how to breathe and envision my dead, lifeless, partially cat-eaten corpse found two weeks later wearing only granny panties and a wife beater (which is how I am typically adorned when I clean my bathroom).  So that's fun, right?   Did I mention this is me in a really good place right now?

I have started to make friends at the school where I work, which is a huge relief since I was beginning to think I was like the smelly kid at summer camp nobody wants to hang out with.   Mind you, I've made friends with my usual level of grace and poise.   The first few weeks a teacher came into the counseling office and said she thought I was doing a really great job with the kids and to let her know is she could ever help me with anything.   I ended the conversation feeling confident and happy, both with my professional competence and my ability to connect with other humans.   I walked past a mirror, and to my horror, noticed I had a huge green mustache from the weird health food smoothie I had downed a few moments before.  No wonder she was so nice, I'm sure she thought I was moderately mentally handicapped.  And you all thought it was only blind dates that could be embarrassing and awful for me.  

This hasn't been as cohesive as I like my blogs to be.   I should be writing about a fun outing I took, or my thoughts on achieving peace in the Holy Land.  I am, however, happy to be writing again and I'll probably try to do it more often.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


I recently finished a one week Appraisal and Testing course, and as part of the course, I took multiple self-inventories.  I learned that I'm an ENFJ, within the normal range of mental health (the "normal" range has some girth on it), and that my conflict management style is collaboration.  I am a huge fan of taking personality inventories and tests because I can make my mind up easily and like to talk about myself.  Huge fandom aside, It occurred to me as I was taking the inventories (test implies that there is one "correct" answer, so typically anything based on personal preference is an inventory.  I apologize you just had to read that anal bitch sentence) how absurd the entire exercise is.  There are over 7 billion people on the planet; how can anyone expect to classify all 7 billion neatly into 16 Myers Briggs types?

I understand that these standardized inventories and standardized tests are based on research and observation and that no one test is meant to paint a holistic picture of a human being.  It seems to me, however, that there are even more "tests" we inflict upon ourselves and others that are not standardized and have no basis other than our own fears and ignorances.  For example, this morning I did the daily "Annie's Self-Worth" test.  It consists of me looking in the mirror and deciding if I'm attractive.  Today, consistent with most days, I decided I looked bloated and my nose is too big.  Thus, I failed and conclude myself to be a person who is less worthy than others.  Less worthy of love.  How many times have I conducted this test?  Why am I trying to classify myself in the first place?  How many times have we looked at each other and performed tests; fat or skinny?  Pretty or ugly?  Kind or mean? Someone I can be friends with or someone I should avoid?

We all do it.   And I don't mean that it's not valuable to use our best judgement, especially when it comes to trusting others.   I do think, however, it's important to examine our criteria.  What kind of person do you want to be and are your tests helping you get there?