When I was in school, I was one of those super-bright, top of the standardized tests awesome kids. I was straight As all the way through elementary school, a couple of Bs in junior high, and a slinking by C student in high school. Teachers often made over my standardized test scores, to include once incident in high school where a teacher was expressing her frustration that I should have been valedictorian based on those and why wasn’t I doing well in her class (a class I didn’t want to take and got dumped into… hrm).
Of course, high school is where my spoons completely vanished. The month before I started saw me getting strep throat so severe I couldn’t eat (and incidentally lost weight I couldn’t really afford to lose), and I should have taken it as an omen for the following four years. As it were, because I’m ‘hyper’, teachers blamed me for corrupting other students, got my on my case because I wasn’t top of the class like they felt I should be, and oh… nobody asked me how I was doing. Ever. Ever. It gave me a deep-seated loathing for organized education; why would I want to be in a system where instructors are denigrating and dismissing me rather than trying to see if maybe, just maybe, I needed help. No, I didn’t turn the entire band onto drugs. No, I was not a drug dealer. No, you shouldn’t tell my best friend to shun me because I’m ‘obviously’ a bad influence (hint: he was ‘bad’ on his own steam before me met me, bless his sweet butt).
Add in the fact that my mother was on my case non-stop for not doing well enough either. I strongly suspect she too has bipolar, but I can’t exactly convince her to go and seek help (even though I am confident if she did, her quality of life would be vastly improved, as mine has been). I also strongly feel that she was trying to live vicariously through me, so I got a lot of negative messages and a severe dearth of the positive reinforcement that I direly need to get by. That isn’t to say that I want people making sweet noises of falsehood at me, but if say, you found something I said to be clever or enlightening, it does my soul good to hear it. Or in those cases of old, that I wasn’t stupid — my personal armor chink is my intelligence. One of my younger sisters is reputed to have a 196 IQ; schools tried to put her into the same grade as me, and when I needed to be told that I was smart on my own steam, I was often told to go away. The combination was toxic, and it’s only been in the past year or two that I’ve had the strength and space to analyze and work this particular problem. It’s not gone away yet, but at least I can function without say, burning holes in my work because I couldn’t complete it and I was forced to turn it in (which happened a few times with math assignments; in my head, the assignment was not complete unless it was completed, ergo, turning it in incomplete was not an option).
To be fair to my parents, I’m not sure anything could have been done to help me at that juncture. We had no spare money and nothing much resembling health care (USA! USA! *snorts*), and even if we had, I would have been less than cooperative due to being threatened with both military school and asylums (trufax) because I wouldn’t talk about my feelings. THAT skill wasn’t developed until my 20s, and it was hard won. But all in all, I’d pretty much given up on life at that point. I wasn’t suicidal, but just… I already felt that I was condemned to a life of drudgery and no point. The few times I braved up enough to try and talk about me and my feelings, I was brushed off universally. While I am a supporter of humour as a coping mechanism, it’s one thing when you’re doing it for yourself, another when everyone around you is cracking jokes to change the subject from you having feels.
Anyways, where was I going with this… I guess to say that first of all, kids and teens are actual people with feelings and they need to feel safe to express them. I never did, and felt that every single person in my life of all ages had expressly made it clear that my feelings were invalid (something I’m only managing to counteract oh… this year). Applying high standards externally is brutish and asinine; one should perhaps encourage others in their lives to develop their own high standards, but not force them to meet bars they might not have the spoons to ever reach. And, of course, from my late great grandfather – never assume anything, lest you make an ass out of ‘u’ and me. Just because someone in your life, whatever age, seems to have it together and be a ball of sunshine, it might not be true. I know myself that I have been a victim of my own self-control for all of my life, and have taken a lot of attacks from people who think that I’m a safe target who can take their ire. That all ties into the golden rule of ‘Be excellent to each other’, which yanno… it supposedly made the world a utopia in the Bill & Ted universe, so why not in ours too?
And as that is quite a long bit of babble, I will go ahead and leave on that not, and wish everyone a pleasant weekend, happy holidays, etc. I’ll surely be writing more in the next couple of days as the mood takes me, but yanno… doesn’t hurt to keep wishing the good feelings onwards.