Tag awareness

4 posts

Depression and I (TW: Suicidal Thoughts)

I’m going to be doing a series of posts about depression (my depression). I could do one long post but it’d be a small book…
I’ve struggled with depression since puberty. That’s about as far back as I remember anyway. At the time, I had no words for what I was feeling/going through, my parents dismissed it as “adolescence”. I thought it was normal – normal to hate myself as viscerally as I did and continued to (on new deeper levels as time went on), to completely shut down my emotions and stop feeling, to live in a constant state of melancholy and numbness.
I didn’t understand mood swings because I didn’t have any moods to swing from. I alternated between meh and grumpy-meh. NOTHING moved me, nothing made me cry. As time passed and I went through more changes, I began to loathe myself more, I began to believe that I was worthless, didn’t deserve to be human or treated as a person or with respect, I was nothing more than a tool in my parents toolbox – a tool that would never please it’s operator.
When I started my period, and I was “fully a woman”, I added shame to my already hated existence. I hated that [bleeding/fertility] about myself – more biology that I couldn’t fix. Biology that would haunt me forever, end my life as I knew it [because children, eventually] – the debilitation (after I moved out and was no longer running on adrenaline) added so much negative to my already non-existent body image, and self worth. I would lie in bed for a week, and just fantasize about plunging steak knives into my uterus and ripping it out.
When I was 17, I was borderline suicidal for 6 months. I thought death would be better than continuing my existence at home – my shameful, guilt ridden, broken, worthless existence. Because of friends (and knowing that killing myself would defeat the purpose of my impending escape) I managed to stay away from self harm, and ultimately, suicide. I had a gun (16th birthday present), I knew where it was, I would imagine using it, but I never took it out, I never tried anything, I just liked the thought.

Ex-Teenpact Blog Week

I was talking to a friend a while ago, and we were comparing notes on our experiences with TeenPact. It feels like such a taboo subject to talk about, I’m actually almost scared to, which honestly, is why I am – because if this one thing from my past has this much hold on me for no real reason (when I’m open about everything else) I should probably talk about it.
So on the 20th-26th, we’re doing an Ex-Teenpacters exposé. Because TeenPact is just another piece in the conservative christian “culture wars” machine that teaches (or in my case, because most of this wasn’t new, emphasizes) the lies and the wrongness of my past as right and perpetuates misogynistic theology (among other things).
Guest/Anonymous submissions are welcome and Starfury at Between Black and White will be posting them over the course of the week. If you’d like to post on your own blog (like I am) we’ll have a link-up widget over there as well.
I have a feeling that our two stories aren’t the only ones out there, and I think it’s time that we give those a voice.
If you want to submit your story, email us here.

Going Dark

Going dark (as you can tell with the theme) for net neutrality. If you haven’t been following SOPA/PIPA and don’t know what it is (or why it’s bad) and have been seeing stuff about it everywhere – the vote is on the 24th, and this video helps explain everything.

I’ve changed all of my twitter and FB pictures (and my WP theme) and sent emails to my congress people via the ECA to spread the word about something that if passed, could be detrimental to (my and other small businesses) and the web as we know it.
So, watch the video, and take two minutes to attach your name and zipcode to the thoughtful and detailed letter the ECA put together to send to your congress people and tell them to leave the internet alone.

The Burden of Home-school Parents

I’m not a parent, but as an early-graduate home-school alumnus, and one who did a lot of teaching to my younger siblings, I think that I can be afforded some room for an opinion. I was thinking the other day about graduating and how it felt then verses how it feels now. Honestly, I was not ready to graduate when I did. But I thought I was, at the time, when I was 15. I believed my mom when she said she’d taught me everything I needed to know school-wise and was prepared for the world beyond high school. In my (and my mom’s) defense, I did end up graduating with 30-some high school credits, but we opted out of higher math (and by extension, higher science like Chemistry 2, which was replaced with basic nutrition and physical education dvd courses) – my fault, because I couldn’t find anyone to teach me algebra in a way I understood. My parents didn’t have the time (too many other people to school), and my grandfather, who has a math degree, was just way above my comprehension level on the subject.
This lead to years later (i.e. now) my feeling inadequate when it comes to math, higher education, and simple SAT tests. Last year, I took the SAT’s, and naturally (for me) did well on verbal/writing/reading sections, and scored just above the minimum in math. There were things on the test I’d never even seen in high school – because I never got that far, and went for consumer math instead (give me fractions any day). When I was in high-school I was relieved to have a basic life-math that I understood taking place of algebra, which was a constant thorn in my side and the cause of many tears and frustration.  But…..that wasn’t what was best for me. I didn’t know that. My frustrated mother didn’t have time, and was just as happy as I was to find a substitute that I could do by myself like the rest of my subjects.
Aside from that I feel like I got a pretty decent (tailored) education. I think something that many home-school parents don’t consider is that their children trust them implicitly, beyond their public/private/charter schooled counterparts. Not only do we trust them to take care of us, love us, and provide for us, but we trust them to know what’s best for us and what we need academically. We trust them to give us a *better* education than the system, because, at least, that’s the message preached in the homeschool community.
However, “the education system” that home-schoolers avoid have more teachers, assigned to specific subjects that they know about/have degrees in. The students there have the responsibility to learn – much like home-schooled students. The difference is, the parents have the job of all the different teachers, yet often without the education. In the name of “tailored” education often leave parts of education that seem “unnecessary” out of their child’s curriculum, even skipping basic things (like algebra). Home-schooled kids learn what their parents teach them, and other subjects that are left out, they’re none the wiser about. Until they get older.
It’s a sad feeling when you realize the people you thought were giving you “the best education” ended up leaving you feeling inadequate and behind because they failed to teach you something necessary – whether that be math, spelling, language, or even basic sex education (evil of evils) because you didn’t seem to “get it” and they were trying to prepare you for <insert choice path here>.
I’m not against tailored education at all, however, I don’t think that other, necessary, subjects can/should be eliminated in the name of “you’re going to be a wife/mother you don’t need algebra” or “you don’t need to learn a language you’re going into trade” essentially, in the name of “I don’t think it’s necessary”. School standards are there for a reason whether we agree with them or not. The beauty of home-schooling is not in all that you can leave out, but all that you can let in, and the flexibility of tutoring to specific learning styles.   The appeal of homeschooling is not “graduate your kid at 16 regardless so s/he can help with the rest of your clan” but that it’s not a one-size-fits-all standard that we hear so much about in schools.
I feel like parents get caught up in the idea that they can choose what their kids know that they miss the heavy burden that lays on their shoulders – the burden to do as good, or better, than the dozens of teachers in school every day. These parents, or in most cases, one parent, has a huge responsibility to their child’s education when they decide to take it on themselves. Especially if they live in a place without, or opt out of home-school groups or co-ops that provide opportunities for kids to learn things their parents may be lacking in from another parent who’s strong in the subject. Admittedly, home-school curriculums have been getting better with DVD/computer courses and labs for various subjects (how I got through biology without a lab, and prepped for the SAT) and those are helpful, but don’t take the place of learning from other real-life people.
I guess, if I were to mention one thing that might help….I’d say try to prepare your child to get into an ivy league, like Harvard, MIT, or some such, regardless of if they’ll go or not, but meet those educational standards. Then add whatever your child is interested in to their education – be it the arts, electronics and engineering, computer programming, or what have you. Allow them opportunities to learn about what they’re interested in without neglecting staples like spelling, language arts, higher maths and sciences, history, and even foreign language.  Also, teach your child to their learning style – I learned best with a group, and my best high-school experiences were in our co-op with other parent teacher’s who’d grade my work and were strong in their subjects. Some of my siblings prefer one-on-one mom time and learn better that way.
The other thing I want to say, is don’t be ashamed to find a class or teacher, or even send your child to a school if you aren’t equipped to teach how or what they need to be taught. I know most home-school parents and philosopher’s disagree, because the school system is the “big bad”, but honestly, you’re a parent and you need to do what’s right by your kid, even if that means you can’t teach them at home. There’s no shame in that – I dare say that’s better parenting than people who home-school regardless of the fact that they aren’t able to meet their kid’s educational needs simply because they’re so scared of “the system”.