Thoughts from Mentoring.

I got a job!–Last month.

Yeah, I kind of keep forgetting to mention it.

But it’s way cool.

My college has a program for ASD (Austistic Spectrum Disorder) students, where regular students help them along with getting adjusted into school.

Kind of like an assistant who’s paid less and has less hours.

But on the plus side, it’s excellent experience for someone like me who is learning to work with disable people (since technically Deafness is still considered that.)

It turns out this job is suited to my talents almost perfectly for the most part. The only thing I don’t naturally tend to do is askpeople a lot of questions aobut their sceduel and personal lives, even if I want to know, I don’t normally think it’s polite, but as a mentor, I am supposed to do that.

You kind of have to flip a switch in your brain to tell it that you’re in a different mode than before.

My mentee is very high functioning, and I’m pretty sure no one who didn’t know could even tell he was ASD. He speaks normally and remembers things well and makes eye contact fairly easily. Plus can track with a regular conversation with only a slight tenancy to derail onto the same subject.

Actually, at one time in m life, I had a lot of tenancies that could be grouped into this spectrum. The only difference I see is that I was able to learn myself through trial and error, and did not have a label or a class to go to in order to help.

I also got blamed and held responsible for my lack of social grace, whereas these students tend to be excused for simply not getting it.

It makes me wonder, do we choose to blame certain people simply because we think they know better?

There are jerks who will still get mad at people with real disabilities. I have a friend with a brain injury disability. It can be frustrating to talk to her since her memory is effected by it, as well as her ability to understand instructions or questions. She is smart, but processes slowly.

I have been blessed with a very quick mind, not bragging, I know that it’s a gift. I could just as easily have had a different learning style and less ability to process.

Under pressure I tend to kick into a higher gear because I can process quickly and effectively, while some people freeze up.

I feel it’s important to assist people who learn with more difficulty than I do. I guess I never gave it much thought. As a kid, I just naturally explained things to kids, my younger siblings, even my parents. I’m the kind of person who can get people interested in stuff, if I put my mind to it.

As I got to know more of my peers I naturally answered their questions. And I always got a thrill when that change in their tone or expression would come, you know the “I get it” look.

Now that I’ve moved into teaching Sunday school, assisting friends with ASL, and mentoring, (which is kind of like teaching by example and input, more than teaching directly,) I see it more and more.

Even in my Math class, my worst subject (in high school, though I did okay), I’ve ended up working with two older ladies who are much slower at it than I am, and helping them do it. Of course, who you team up with in class is subject to change, but it seems I’m still one of the fastest people.

I end up helping my classmates in virtually every class I’m in. Often people just ask me, like they know by looking at me that I’m a good student.

And being a good student comes naturally. I don’t put that much effort into it. I take notes, do assignments on time, and that’s about it.

All this to say, I know that I’m very lucky to find it so easy. Being home-schooled, I learned to enjoy learning for its own sake.

The Bible actually says, in Daniel 1, of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego:

“(17) As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams…(19) Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king. (20) And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm.” 
Also, in another place:
“Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance…” — Proverbs 1:5
Skill to learn and understand it a gift from God.
I don’t have a lot of skills in the Manuel labor department. I don’t dislike it, but the opportunity to learn those things has rarely presented itself in my life.
Doing an honest day’s work is nothing to avoid, and many people should take pride in what they do.
Teaching itself is something a lot of people in my generation seem to be interested in doing.
Not everyone who has a message should preach it, not everyone who has a lesson should teach it,
and I say that not because those things shouldn’t be shared, but because they are not always meant to be shared in that form.
I’ve had many people deliver a message who were not good at it. Who should have delegated more to people with gifting in that area.
I happen to be good at that, and hop to grow better in it.
I might be better at other things, though. I prefer to write (no shock there).
This job of mine is only temporary, though I hope to repeat it in the future, but the important thing was, I am strengthening my gifts.
By taking Math, I am working on my weaknesses, but I find that even my weakness is strong if I simply treat it as an opportunity to apply what I am good at within that class.
The real secret of studying is taking the approach that works for you and figuring out how to insert that into every subject in some way.
And if I can help other people get there along the way, so much the better. Because I think everyone should be able to learn and improve. I’m not interested in living in a world of wimpy morons who learn nothing and don’t apply themselves, so why would I encourage people to give up by not helping them?
Anyway, that’s all for today, until next time–Natasha.

Why I got into Anime (not just fangirl-ing, promise.)

I wrote my last post on Sunday, and the blog site says it was Monday, my sister asked if I learned time travel…

Yeah, no, maybe it’s a zoning thing?

I think maybe a more lighthearted post after all the serious stuff would be nice, so I thought I’d talk about why I got into anime.

Contrary to the norm, I only got into anime in the last year, and the last 6 months or so of that year is when I got into watching more than a select few.

I have friends who like it who encouraged me to check out more after I got into RWBY, and my sister eventually talked me into watching My Hero Academia, and since that blew my mind, I tried Cells at Work, The Great Passage, The Quintessential Quintuplets, Toradora, Kaguya-Sama: Love is War, Konosuba (not recommending that one), Tsuredure Children (cute one), The Rising of the Shield Hero (really good), Naruto, and now Fairy Tail, I’m still working on the last two. I prefer Fairy Tail, but both are good in a different way.

I also finally watched Avatar on my other sister’s persuasion, and enjoyed that, though I liked RWBY more, but avatar is really well-paced.

My absolute favorite is still MHA, I don’t think that will change unless the unthinkable horror of the show drastically changing its tone happens in the future. I mean, I know season 4 will be dark, but I know plenty of light and funny things that are also going to happen. And best boy Bakugo will be part of them.

Don’t fight me if you watch it and prefer Todoroki, he’s my second favorite. And really, I almost couldn’t choose. If you asked me which I’d rather see in an arc, I’d quote that vine where the girl says in Spanish “Why can’t I have both?”

And best girl Momo too, still waiting for the three of them to all work together, and if you think it’d be boring, watch the Jump-fest OVA, and it’ll blow your mind.

But, hey, if you don’t watch anime, that’s fine. I refused– well to be accurate, I just didn’t know it was a big thing–for years.

I watched Ponyo back in gradeschool, and one episode of Dragon Ball (Z, I think) without really getting it. Maybe Yugio once too. I’m not sure what it was.

See, my mom wouldn’t let me watch TV unless it was at someone else’s house, or unless it was the wholesome kids channels. I don’t have any hate for that, since if I had watched anime as a kid it would have been way too intense for me. I think now is the perfect time in my life to appreciate it.

Anyone who thinks anime is for kids has not watched any of the popular ones, Naruto is supposedly a kid’s show, though maybe the fans wouldn’t say so, and I’m two seasons in, I would not show this to a kid under 12 at least.

I’m not going to shame people for not liking anime, the format is weird. I find it charmingly weird, now that I’m used to it, but it took at least the first season of mha for me to get used to it. And MHA is a little lighter on the tropes than other ones, because it’s supposed to appeal to more people, I think.

Also the pacing in many anime is strange, even if you’re fine with the yelling. The humor is just as much visual as verbal. I have never liked visual humor all that much. In all honesty, I don’t laugh a lot at most of it. And sometimes an arc can take, no joke, 8-10 episodes to set up, and 2 episodes to finish. The movies are better for that.

All this is reason enough to frustrate some people, I couldn’t blame them.

But I also understand why it’s such a huge craze now.

I’ve spent most of my life frustrated by the messages TV and movies in America send to kids and adults alike.

I don’t like how idiocy is portrayed as funny, cruelty is portrayed as funny, and often as not, a show has no real point besides cheap gags, and character stereotypes that the writers seem to assume are funny to the masses.

I guess it works. From what I hear with the people around me, they pick which shows they will ignore the bad stuff with, and which shoes they will criticize, based on a few superficial differences.

You like vampires? Then you ignore how stupid the movies and shows are. You like zombies? Ditto. You like both, then sure, but if the same problems show up on a show with normal teenagers, then you can hate on that.

Anime still has its problems with stereotypes. People who have been watching it for years find it more annoying than me because it’s all still a novelty to me, I’m already sick of harems, the pervy characters, the fan service, and…well dragging out romances and never just letting it happen.

But to the accusation that all anime is light porn, or hentai, if you’re into the lingo, I would respond that shows in america show people having sex on camera, stabbing each other, and being creepy, and it’s not animated, it’s real people, and often teenagers.

The amount of anime that actually show sex or anything coming of the innuendos are very few compared to the ones that just tease it.

I don’t mean that I think it’s right, but I at least don’t get as bothered by it as I do by seeing real people do it like it’s nothing.

You have to pick and choose too.

What outweighs the negative stuff, in my opinion, is that anime do not hesitate to tackle moral issues, and often heavy ones.

Contrary to America, the favorite message, form rom-com anime to shonen (action) anime is that hatred is bad for you, and that you have to be willing to forgive, and to forgive yourself.

Anime combines this with an holy respect for sometimes needing to deal severely with the person who hurt you. Or to have your friends help you deal with it.

And the message usually concludes with the need to move forward, and letting love back into your life.

Anime is as full of lonely characters as most media is, and they are often  stereotypes. But the stereotype includes good qualities. Cold characters learn to care, rougher characters can have a heart of gold, meek characters learn courage, and the protagonists are often extremely noble and kind.

The villains are quite awful, even in the non-shonen type ones, but often they are redeemed even so.

Friendship and love are often the answer, the overwhelming power, even on the lighthearted shows.

And no matter how lighthearted it is, I’ve yet to see an anime that did not tackle the deep things in life.

You can’t go 4 episodes into most of them without it, you can go whole seasons of our shows without any significant change in tone or characters.

Say what you will about people just watching it for the action, action without conviction is empty and boring and wouldn’t be any different form watching sports. People get hyped over the anime battles where the hero confronts their demons and wins.

Basically, it’s the kind of stuff I’ve always wished existed, and I only just now found out it did.

Admittedly, I watch it probably more than I should—said every fan ever–yet, I actually don’t feel guilty, because it’s just that good. It encourages me to face the real world bravely.

Not because I think it’s real, but because I think it’s right. Real or no, the messages of overcoming your problems and not letting the darkness get to you and helping your friends, those are important things. No matter who’s saying it.

In fact, Fairy Tail goes even further with that idea, by making slightly pervy, crazy, or dumb characters often be the ones to spout the deepest truths. The idea being that even with our besetting sins, we are still capable of understand profound things, and everyone has something to offer, even if most of the time they are a jerk.

(Sadly, that means I can’t count Mineta out yet, MHA fans, sorry, but with this writer…you know it’ll happen.)

Anyway, so that’s, in a nutshell, why I’ve come to appreciate this genre. and why I’ve turned into a weeabo, or maybe an otaku, or maybe both…whatever I am, learning all the Japanese words is fun for a language buff like me, so

Arigato, until next time–Natasha.

Heart recovering after abuse.

It’s been a month since my dad moved out.

Things are slowly beginning to feel different.

Yet, it surprised me how little changed at the same time.

My dad has been so far removed from my life for so many years, that I lost no more substantial contact than the toxic words and an occasional family game night that went okay.

I wonder, if I knew anyone who’d go through this already, I’d ask them if they felt the same, or if the abuse was so involved in them that it was an immediate release.

Slowly, feelings of relief have begun to creep in, but only small ones so far. My mind still hasn’t really grasped it.

My friends have been great about it though.

I also, surprisingly, almost feel like I miss him.

I know it is not so unusual for people on the receiving ends of abuse to feel sympathy for the abuser. It’s not, I think, wholly bad. If you can still see how that person has real needs and feelings even if they are cruel, you are less likely to dehumanize them by being cruel in return.

Though, perhaps never standing up to someone is a form of dehumanizing them, because it keeps them on a pedestal of fear.

I tried to pity my dad so that I would not hate him. Hate would turn me into a person I do not want to be.

I’m not willing to pay the price of hatred, the loss of everything I can feel joy and gladness over, and every other relationship.

I find myself thinking a lot about new beginnings. I had begun to wonder if my dad would hold me back for many years yet, out of fear of me breaking free. My dad never, perhaps, knew he was doing this, but his insecurities did it for him.

I also still feel like he’ll get at me somehow to punish me for this, I think that is also common to people like me.

It’s not, however, completely unfounded, he’s the type of person to do it. I wonder if my success ever depends on him again, if he’ll try to sink me on purpose.

These anxieties keep bugging me, though I do not take them especially seriously.

It’s hard to move forward. I must rethink everything about my life, in a sense, and ask how much of it was affected by the toxicity.

That I still enjoy things at all, and am even able to open up to people, I credit God with.

God has ministered to me through people, often people are imperfect about it, they give up too easily, put their own spin on it, or push too hard when you most need them to ease up and let you breath, but even so, that there are some who try is encouraging to me, because I can hope that I will learn to trust them.

I have trust issues. My dad proved himself untrustworthy many, many times. Every time I needed him, pretty much, he failed me. Then, he blamed me for never relying on him.

I ended up with a very weird complex due to this. If I ever do open myself up to someone, I usually feel like they are just bearing it out of a sense of duty. I tend to withdraw, and then push forward in strange ways.

I tend to not put myself forward just when I most want to be noticed, and then to not set enough boundaries when I am asked for help.

In one way, it’s because my idea of giving is that it is limitless, even if as a human I must rest from it sometimes, but it’s also because I see my services as worth so little.

On top of that, I am confident most of the time, and then I have very poignant insecurities on certain things that surprise people.

Overall, I believe the Holy Spirit has healed me enough that my stronger side is the good things, and the insecurities, while they give me trouble, do not rule me. But they influence me more than I thought.

In the absence of my dad’s abuse, I almost seem to be trying to invent it, to recreate the same feeling, since it was my normal…at the same time, I’m fighting it.

I think, I want to defeat it once and for all, and I could not defeat it in him, so I want to pick a fight with someone I can defeat it with, and finally win.

I could prove I was worthy of more by being strong enough to stand up for myself, or I could plead until someone finally took pity on me like I wanted my dad to.

It’s strange to no longer be the victim. I wanted someone to hear my case for so long, and now it happened, it felt so short, and I am no longer a victim.

In a way, I stopped being one in my mind a long time ago, but the marks of it remain on my soul, where only healing can remove them.

I basically sent my dad the message: NO, you cannot do this to me anymore.

Now, all that remains is to receive the deliverance that came, and move on. Build a new life.

Someday, I hope my dad can come back into it, when he’s had a change of heart.

Can I move from fighting for my own survival to fighting for other people?

Thought I never let my heart die entirely over the years, by giving it to God, it could not help but take damage form this. Now I’ve been looking at it, wondering how it’s doing…

Hello my old heart, how have you been? Are you still there inside my chest? I’ve been so worried, you’ve been so still, barely beating at all…

Hello my old heart, it’s been so long, since I’ve given you away. Every day, I add another stone, to the walls I built around you to keep you safe…

Hello my old heart, how have you been? How is it being locked away? Don’t you worry, in there you’re safe, it’s true, you’ll never beat, but you’ll never break.Cause nothing lasts forever, some things aren’t meant to be, but you’ll never find the answers, until you set your old heart free…

I began the process of taking down the stones around my heart years ago… by which I mean, God began to heal me. Yet, I had an active role in it too, we choose our path.

Still, I knew that there was more, my capacity to give and receive love is far from full. I seem to have shut down a good portion of it, sufficing on a little bit from time to time.

Like how my dad would occasionally be amiable, never really loving, but not hostile.

I went through a phase years ago of feeling I could be loved all the time, and loved deeply. I’m not sure what happened. I think as people failed me more and I got distracted by adulthood, I stopped tending to my needs as much.

It’s really hard to come out of that. My mind still thinks it’s true, but my heart has a much harder time committing to it.

So, I want my old heart to come back alive again.

Until next time–Natasha.