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.

Broadening horizons.

Any other person who’s experienced this is going to recognize this situation almost immediately.

I present to you an ordinary day in my college life going to the language lab to work on French, nice people work there, friendly.

I need to watch a movie, so the person at the desk gets me the catalog. I look through and note one of the movies was one I saw mentioned in y course material, but then I also noted aloud “Oh, but it’s rated R.” At which point I got the look, you know the one, the slightly incredulous/amused look. “You’re in college, I think you could watch an R-rated movie,” she says. To which I replied that I did not really like R-rated content. Indifferently, she said “Well I think you need to broaden your horizons, girl, because it’s really good.” I read the description and it sounded all right. I have certain themes I’ll sit through an R-rated movie for, and at least with R, you know to expect certain scenes and avoid them, unlike PG-13 which can sneak them in when you weren’t looking.Oh, but Natasha, it’s not real.

Yes, they aren’t actually pretending for the camera, they totally aren’t actually touching and kissing, they aren’t actually nude, that’s all CGI now!

(IT’s not CGI, by the way, in case you were wondering if I’m serious. I know not everyone who reads this lives in America, and perhaps the standards are different other places, but here it’s quite ridiculous.

Needless to say, this lady irritated me, but for lack of any real knowledge of French films beyond the terrible one I watched in class (and I was embarrassed by that) I decided to give it a try.

And it eared the R-rating, rather unnecessarily, I thought. It had little to do with the plot. But whatever, I tried to not look whenever I knew what was coming.

The lady also said I seemed kind of judgy as I was looking through the catalog and commenting that one film was probably more depressing in French. (It was Dead Poet’s Society, which is sad already, so it was a joke because French films are known for their sad endings.)

Judgy?

Let me clarify, to me judgy means not simply knowing your own tastes (as I do) but declaring other people’s to be inherently bad because they do not meet your standards, and your standards are based on a sense of self importance, not simple conviction that something is bad to consume.

No one would call it judgy if I chose not to eat McDonald’s but no one would think it was okay for me to say eating there is some kind of crime.

However, man people would be more concerned if I smoked, and not nearly as many would call it judgy to decry it, since it is proven to be harmful.

By the way, have you heard that nobody actually smokes? It’s the cigarette who smokes, the person is the sucker. (Not an original joke on my part.)

Anyway, the point here is that this lady was being kind of judgy of me for commenting on these movies. But my annoyance only increased when I brought the film back and she asked how it was. I admitted I liked it (as in, it was not torture, I don’t think I’d watch it again, it was weird.) She said smugly (though not meanly) “I knew you would. See, you just need to broaden your horizons.” I replied quietly that my standards are based on experience, which I tried to explain before, but she only returned that I should “live life.”

On my way back to my car I though over this and got more annoyed. Broaden my horizons! Spoken with all the confidence of someone who knows nothing about me and what I watch.

Is it really the same thing for me to be skeptical of movies? I can objectively guess what will be in an R-rated film, and if I don’t want to subject myself to it, that is my choice and preference. It’s not that I have never tried it, it is that I have, and found much lacking.

I’ll just say it now: R-rated movies are by and large the most unimaginative, cheap, lazily written, and immoral films I have risked watching. I’m not about to get deeper into it by checking rated X stuff to see if it’s worse, this is bad enough.

R-rated movies substitute swearing for character development; sex for relationship building and two people finding out about each other, which your average crap teen flick will at least try to do; and violence for stakes.

The hard rating and shocking material allows filmmakers to get away with the worst kind of writing, and no one cares, because if they honestly had standards, they would not be watching.

I still remember keenly my disappointment when I watched Children of a Lesser God, a famous movie in the ASL world, and screenplay…and instead of character development, I got them shacking up for half the film and yelling at each other, but neither of them really knew the other well enough for it to feel like a real relationship.

So, one language research movie being such a disappointment, coupled with how much I disliked the other french film I saw, made me skeptical to just assume it would be good.

It was decent.

But the lady who spoke to me honestly would not have cared even if it wasn’t, to her, the whole point was my narrow mindedness, had I hated it, she would have been undeterred because she would have assumed I was too critical–not that I knew what I did like and got exactly what I expected.

Her whole manner was of the sort that your annoying babysitter took with you back in elementary: the superior, more experienced, worldly-wise person, to the young naive, child with overprotective parents.

Are my parents overprotective? I’ve never thought so, I know non-Christian with more protective parents than me. My parents have never stopped me for watching movies I am old enough to watch, if I so choose, my dad used to let my sister watch movies with him that were way too old for them. Which is how they ended up knowing the plot of several adult movie before me, I was always sensitive to disturbing content, like my mom before me.

In my house that was respected. And my dad also realized that just because he likes that stuff did not make it good for him, he’s revised his standards  a lot over the years.

People in this country tend to have an assumption about my type of person. They think we are just too innocent to know how we sound. I am perhaps lucky to get this instead of what my unfortunate peers often get, bullied for being snobs.

My countenance and good manners tend to get me put into the too angelic category of sheltered. The one where they don’t blame you, but think you need to break out of it and not assume you were taught the right thing (and any notion that you could have come to your own conclusions is thrown out immediately. As you can see, even when I told the lady this, she continued to believe I was simply narrow in what I tried.)

Now, if I was mean…or had a more unreserved temper…I could definitely have made this lady think I was the other kind: the pedantic, self-righteous snob sheltered person. They are still discredited, but they just have a manner that makes people more inclined to get mad at them instead of be tolerantly condescending.

I knew I couldn’t change her mind either way. I could only convince her I was crazy on top of it all.

But the whole episode reminded me that I have been treated like this time and gain by various people my entire life. It happened as early on as age 4-5 by my relatives, and still continues this day from some of them, though they now know me to be more assertive so the  belittling tone has disappeared, my family is not cruel enough to be mean on purpose. But that does not stop other people who meet me from treating me the same.

Since I am usually established as a nice girl early one in my acquaintance with anyone I usually get the benefit of the doubt, they assume I am judgy because I have never tired to experience anything else. Probably because my parents topped me. joke’s on them, I got exposed to more things because of my dad than by any other person I know. He had his reasons.

I don’t consider myself judgy. I had times when I was in the past, but I criticize things now based on what I’ve seen of them. I am extremely good at predicting patterns however, so if my instinct says “this is going to get bad” I generally believe, and I’m rarely wrong.

Come to think of it, the people who have always treated me as sheltered never actually got any proof that I was. Other than I don’t know what a lot of TV shows and movies are. I once got told Twilight was a great series by just some such people. Who were all of two years older than me at most, one was a year younger, but they actually bullied me because I was so sheltered.

The real proof of it was I didn’t catch on till the last day, but that had much more to do with not being used to people being  cruel to me than to not reading those stupid books. As if Twilight prepares anyone for real world experiences, ha!

Other Christians have treated met hat way too, they never seem to see the sad irony of doing so.

As a kid, I was telling y sister, I was really a firecracker. She remembers our spirited (to put it nicely) fights, I remember sassing my parents, and standing up to way older people than me whenever I considered it necessary. Was I always right, no, a lot of the times I wasn’t. The point is, I was hardly the little angel these “broaden your horizons” people would imply.

If I though it was worth it, I could have been exposed to more mature content earlier if I chose to be.

It often surprises people after they have known me a while to learn that I am not afraid to declare my opinion, even if it’s unpopular, and that instead of being cowed by debate, I get more emboldened by it.

The truth is, I can take anything except that condescending belittlement of being treated like too naive to get it.

And y guess is, the people who use it have met enough people like me to know that it is most effective in shutting us down. It is unfair, to be sure, but their fear of us makes them wish to put us off.

It’s funny to me how people either act surprised when I say I can be opinionated, or say “yeah, I could see that.”

You know though, my personality is not really the point. Someone could be a meek and mild person, but just as firm in their convictions, and have good reasons for them; they would still be discredited.

I feel I was done a disservice by other members of the church who treated me this way. Though I deal with the same temptations myself sometimes around kids. My Sunday school calls me out for suing words they are told are rude (though they are not cuss words.) I am trying to respect that, since I know how I felt when I was their age. There are few things worse to a christian kid then when their Sunday school teacher does not uphold the values they are taught.

Anyway, this was a lot more of a rant than I meant it to be, but I think there’s some good points in there, it boils down to respect.

I don’t expect respect from the world for my beliefs, but it is difficult to tolerate the scarecrow they set up in my place that they can then ignore or knock over as they choose, since it is not actually what  I think, and I guess I would like to encourage other people who have had this experience not to assume these people are right.

Being sheltered is a paradox anyway, in some ways we are exposed to far more than the average kid in America…but that is not true for other countries. Someday I might have to compare notes with someone who grew up in Africa and see just how much more they saw than the average public-schooler. I already know stuff that would shock you.

Anyway, until next time–Natasha.

Sound off.

I’m not sure if this will be a philosophical post, by my usual standards, but I’ve had this thought going through my mind lately:

You remember my post about my struggles with asl class?

Since ASL 1 I’ve had the same problem in every class, I find myself getting sleepy and my attention wandering.

This happens in spoken classes too, but I found it to be much more immediate in ASL.

I finally decided it has to be the silence. I’m one of those people who needs almost no noise to sleep, so when I’m in a  very quiet space, it’s easy to go into sleep mode.

But this time around in ASL 4, I have a new edge to this feeling. Perhaps it’s been getting more pronounced with time, or maybe it’s the attitude of the class (as I mentioned before in Greatness: a blog essay inspired by deaf events. It’ll be listed as my previous post at the bottom.) The sensation of missing something is growing on me.

It’s kind of like a hunger. I didn’t really become aware of it till I noticed that when I leave class and my classmates and I immediately resort to English once outside the door, there’s a part of me that breathes a sigh of relief. I’m missing: Sound.

Who knew you could miss voices? But it’s not just voices, it’s any sound at at all, beyond meaningless scraping of chairs and clicking of pens.

Think about it, for many people even written words carry an idea of sound, you can hear the person’s tone in them, even if you’ve never heard anyone actually talk this way, you get a feel for their unique voice. Other people think more in images, I’m not one of them, but for a lot of us, sight and sound are almost inseparable.

I consider myself a visually oriented person overall. I like reading, watching stuff, and doing things that require visual detailing. But I missed how many of those things also involved listening. In fact, I play music while I write fairly often, I listen to things when I knit or do puzzles. I get bored very easily when there’s a lack of sound. I enjoy driving when I can hear my favorite music or talk to a passenger, I loathe it when it’s too quiet.

This can be a flaw to some extent. We need peace and quiet every now and then. But it’s also important to recall that peace and quiet are never total silence. The more you search for total silence, the more the simple sounds of nature and city life will strain your nerves.

People complain the city is too noisy, but nature is noisy in its own gentler or wilder way. I visited a state park recently, it was very quiet of city sounds, but the wind was blowing so strongly you had to speak loudly to be heard.

The sound of silence dis actually very bizarre if you ever hear it uninterrupted. And awkward. Sound is a part of this world.

To me it’s strange that there’s a group of people who’ve never experienced it at all.

I suppose you cannot miss what you’ve never had.

Still, as I’ve said, my reliance on sound is treated like some sort of reverse handicap in Sign Language. It has many advantages to it, yet it’s as if it’s only condescended to being used.

I’m not sure why so much stress is put on separating sign and sound as much as possible, except in music videos, when it’s hardly going to reflect real life.

Actually, the presence of sound in a classroom is far more realistic to how anyone in real life is going to  use signing. It’s not like hearing person can just turn off their ears, they’ll have to learn not to be distracted by sound.

Actually, I find sign great for focusing when it’s too noisy to hear myself very clearly. But when it’s already quiet, voice seems better.

Anyway, I’m not really arguing for which is better at the moment, just for not separating the two of them so much.

I wonder if Deaf people feel the same about a lack of hand movement in conversation.

I’m trying to reconcile my enjoyment of signing with my craving for sound. I don’t know if it would be so much of a problem if I didn’t find it made class so much harder to focus in. I think if we were allowed to even have music (wordless or turned down low) it would wake us up a lot.

Interestingly, I’m not the first person to note this hunger for sound. I recalled while I was writing the opening paragraphs that there’s actually a chapter devoted to this in The Phantom Tollbooth. A book I’ve read several times but never thought of in relation to this. Which is weird, because there is literally a Sound Keeper who stops all the sounds in a valley because she gets greedy for them and doesn’t trust the people to use them well. She spends her time listening to different kinds of silence, but is still able to speak within her castle and hear other noises. Milo, the protagonist, finds this selfish. She hasn’t stopped using sound, but she won’t let anyone else use it. He ends up releasing all the sounds again.

The Sound Keeper hated Dinn, the representation of chaotic noise in this book. All the sounds we hate most, like fingernails scraping a chalk board. Yet at the price of beautiful sounds like music, laughter, animals, familiar homelike things, was a little peace a quiet really worth it?

In fact, the sound of laughter later saves Milo and his two friends’ lives when they travel through the dangerous  mountains towards the end of the story.

I’m not sure quite what profound conclusion to draw from all this, other than science has recently discovered a kind of sound to be the thing that binds atoms together at the smallest level.

Hebrews 11:3 says God created the things which are seen (visual) from things that are unseen (His voice.)

Sound came before sight, oddly enough. Maybe that’s the reason it’s tied to us to tightly.

Well, that’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.

Greatness: A blog essay inspired by Deaf Events.

Greatness is not in our weaknesses, but in how we overcome them we can become great.

So, I have to go to Deaf Events for my ASL class, as I think I’ve mentioned before.

And while there are a few I enjoy, for the most part, I don’t get much out of Deaf Events.

I’ve noticed this thing with the deaf community, I think it’s best if I express it through some notes I took while actually at an event yesterday at my college:

Some of these stories are interesting, and it’s good to know what these people have experienced, but I still don’t understand why they make their disability their identity.

I think how horrified they would be if Jesus healed one of them right now, horrified, because they don’t think they need to be healed. What a way to spit in the face of the Gd who made the ears, and clearly intends most of us to hear.

It all reminds me too much of how The Incredibles points out that exceptional people are pushed down by the ordinary. The kicker is all of us can be exceptional in different ways, but instead of pursuing excellence, we pursue equality.

The strong are shoved out of the way of the weak, instead of the weak being elevated to the strong’s level. Perhaps they (the people sharing) did learn to join the hearing world, but they do not view it as a more complete picture of life. Blind people know they are missing out on something, and who would argue that?

All my life people have wanted me to put my strength aside, one lady here just said “put your hearing aside.” Why? Will deaf people put their deafness aside? No one would even ask them to.

Whether out of pity or a false sense of equality, it really doesn’t matter, either way they still aren’t our equals. [I meant in terms of ability, not that they are not human beings just like anyone else.] Reminds me of Adam Taurus from RWBY and his “lionized” ideas of faunus. Being at a disadvantage does not automatically make you worthy to rule. We forge our strength in suffering–and in joy–if we never have the second, then the first will warp our strength.

I learned to be stubborn by being afraid and angry, but I learned to use my willpower with joys. Why am I always being told to shut up? Using my strength has been the only way I helped people. And we need the strong to lift up the weak. God makes our weaknesses strength, until He does, they don’t help anyone. True of physical weakness as well as other sorts.

That was a bit raw, I know.

Perhaps I sound a bit like a disgruntled hearing person, mad that my advantages are being exposed.

Well, guilty as charged I guess. I am hearing…like most people…and I do have advantages because of that.

Saying deafness is not a disadvantage is akin to saying you don’t need your right arm. You can live without it, and do almost anything really important, but you do need it. Only a lunatic would cut off their right arm.

Yet people willingly choose to be deaf because the idea somehow got popular that it was something to be proud of. Like it was their choice!

Well thanks to the stupidity of socialism, now it is. I don’t mean you should have to get a hearing aid if you don’t want to, but the whole notion that turning down the opportunity to hear is somehow liberating is…insane.

Sure, you might feel like it is…people feel like a lot of things that aren’t true, but objectively, it’s better to be able to hear. IT’s safer, easier on the people around you, and lets you enjoy a lot of things in life.

Deaf people have begun to take pride in the fact that they miss out on all these things, because it means they get to be a part of their deaf culture, and only them. There’s an attitude that hearing people are somehow intruders into it.

Which is totally backwards. I don’t know of a hearing person who’d look at a deaf person as an intruder into our culture, because our culture is…culture. It’s based around being able to hear.

Some people now have the nerve to resent that…like it’s not okay!

And that just gets under my grill, because why the heck should the rest of us feel ashamed for not being…deaf

Oh excuse me for being able to use my ears…that I have…because I’m supposed to be able to hear…yeah, I should be so ashamed.

Lest you think I’m going off on deaf people, let me just say, I’ve met some who are not like this. I believe the ones I know would probably not say this to my face, or even realize they think this way. What’s unfortunate about it is they don’t realize the implications of the term “deaf pride.”

I have no problem with deaf people in general. The ones I met who treated me like a person who was honestly trying to understand them, I liked. I found them very easy going, friendly, and open. Great! I like people like that.

Imagine my shock when I discovered via my liberal college’s biased material that there’s a lot of deaf people who not only embrace deafness as some kind of gift just by being what it is, but actually think I, as a hearing person, should have to be at their level.

Here’s the deal: I’ve seen videos openly implying that  I should just freaking learn sign language because deaf people feel so unheard and unseen and shut out by hearing people…the irony? The video had to have been shot at a school that welcomed deaf students if there were that many of them involved.

Also, uh, writing exists.

What was funny is one deaf lady at the event I was at was saying “Deaf people don’t need you, they can write, interpreters just make things easier.” Really, well if you don’t need us, quit whining about not being heard…start speaking.

That’s not meant to be cruel. Many of them can speak, or could, had they chosen to learn. And they can speak through other mediums. It’s silly to expect everyone to learn your language. If they want to talk to you, they will; but if you want to have a voice in their culture, you need to learn their language.

I would not take up residence in another culture without learning it’s language. Which is why deaf people do learn to talk… so why the shaming? I’m not really sure what the problem is.

They swear they are oppressed, but in their country, (I know I have readers not from America, so this won’t apply unless you have a similar set up) you literally can get paid for being disabled…yeah…that’s definitely oppression.

“But hearing people just don’t understand deaf people, Natasha. We need to be more accepting of those who are different.”

Oh please.

Yeah, there are jerks out there who mistreat anyone who’s different. Ten to one, it’s not just deaf people either. Bullies are bullies. But there’s more people learning sign now than ever before, more programs for deaf people than before, and more interpreters joining the field. I’m trying to become one for crying out loud!

But if that meas I need to apologize for being hearing, something I cannot control, then why the heck would I want to be involved in their culture? Feeling welcome works both ways.

Oddly enough, the attitude doesn’t seem to carry over into actual conversation very often. It’s  usually just in how we’re taught. Hearing students are made to feel ashamed for being hearing.

My teacher mocks one student in my class for signing one sign wrong weeks ago…it’s now her name sign…her mistake. A minor one at that. Somehow, I imagine if I nicknamed a deaf person based on a word they mispronounced, I would be labeled a jerk. But of course, if you’re the victim, it’s perfectly okay.

Do not tell me it’s different. It is completely disrespectful to a hearing person to do this, just as much as a deaf person. My classmate has spent 4 classes, (a whole year’s worth of her life) learning your language, how dare you mock her for one mistake repeatedly and make that her name. And my other classmates are participating in it.

The girl doesn’t even realize  she’s being dissed, though she’s clearly slightly uncomfortable with it, she laughs it off. What else cans eh do?

I hate bullying, and I would never condone bullying a deaf person. But I won’t condone bullying hearing people either,

See, this may shock some people (probably not you readers) but I couldn’t care less about your race, gender, social status, or abilities; if someone is mistreating you, I want it to stop, and if you are mistreating  someone else, I don’t care what you’ve been through, that’s still wrong. And I will want you to stop.

People may hurt each other thinking they are dong the right thing, because they have been hurt before, and it’s up to those of us outside the cycle of pain to sort things out. An impartial person, as it were.

I won’t say I’m that currently, I’m kind of mad over this whole thing. And I think I should be mad, if students are getting shamed for what they did not do and cannot help.

I’m tired of hearing over and over again that certain people groups are oppressed, and yet all I’m seeing is them being extolled, given special funding, and their own clubs, based on how they were born or what they like, and not on their character.

Oh wait…isn’t that what they say white people are like?

Yeah I have news for you, it’s hard all around, I’m having a terrible time getting hired, and I fit the stereotype perfectly for what people consider white privilege…aside from actually being rich, or privileged in any way I can see outside supposedly being looked at differently. I’ve never had this proven to me.

I am lucky I admit, but I don’t really think it has much to do with being white. If it does, it’s not something I can change anyway.

Anyway, what does bug me about this is everyone has to be a victim to be taken seriously now. You have to have “survived” abuse or cancer or bullying, you have to come “from a background where…” and grown up being “treated differently” or you have no right to speak. Conversely, if you have, then you can speak even if what you’re saying is nothing new, and nothing profound.

You know, call me crazy, but I happen to think truth is truth. And if someone who’s had a good life speaks it, it’s still truth. No one should have to earn that right by being put through crap.

Suffering can add weight to your words because some things only become clear to us after we suffer, but suffering itself does not make you profound or wise, only how you handle it.

Like I was thinking to myself while jotting down my notes, I became stronger because I had joy as well as suffering. I hear people talk about pain all the time, not many of the talk about the joy that brought them out of it. It’s like they don’t even find that important, or maybe it never happened.

We have a culture telling us to accept out issues as unchanging part so who we are that we can manage, but we can’t shake.

Because the world has tried and failed to fix things, by psychology, medicine, laws, and self-expression, and failing at that, (since only God can heal us) they decide to just give up and live with he problem.)

And that’s why it would be horrifying to many dead people to be healed. Because they know no other life, and they think this is part of who they are.

I can see the world thinking this, but when Christians start to, it scares me.

We are clearly taught that God heals, restores, and his design for us is to be whole, inside and out, maybe some things do not get healed in this life, and that can be come people’s gift. But it is only a gift because God redeems it, it isn’t a gift in of itself.

It might totally change your life to be healed, because the truth is, we get comfortable with out flaws and weaknesses. Both inward and outward. It can be scary not to be that way.

But God would warn us  not to put our identity in anything that is not of Him. It will always lead to us limiting Him, and then ourselves.

I apologize for the length of this, the title was partly  a warning, I wanted to complete my thoughts–until next time, Natasha.

 

 

 

 

Why do we Procrastinate?

Procrastinate:

verb (used without object), pro·cras·ti·nat·ed, pro·cras·ti·nat·ing.

to defer action; delay:to procrastinate until an opportunity is lost.

verb (used with object),pro·cras·ti·nat·ed, pro·cras·ti·nat·ing.

to put off till another day or time; defer; delay. (Dictionary.com.)
I admit, I tend to procrastinate.
College cured me of this a little bit, I had to meet deadlines, so I learned to plan a little better. I don’t procrastinate as much as I did, but I still do, especially if it’s not urgent.
Normally I can get away with this, unless it ends up being harder than I anticipated, and honestly, it almost always does, doesn’t it?
You don’t put it off, and it ends up being simple, you put it off and it has three extra steps you didn’t realize before.
Explanation? Cruel irony.
So, true story, this last Monday I was doing some French Homework I didn’t want to do, I had opted out of it on Saturday to do something else I wanted to do more, and of course, when you dread it it feels worse. But the I realize I had to do more than I thought.
It was due the next day, so I couldn’t just say, “I’ll do it tomorrow,” and I couldn’t finish it before class because I have to leave super early in order to park at my crowded campus. (Joys of not living at one’s college, but I would never change it, I’ve heard stories, man.) With this in mind, I obviously shouldn’t have put it aside again, but I really wanted to. At one point, I almost decided to just shove it away for a few hours, but knowing how I am, I knew I’d likely forget until 9 or 10 pm when I should be winding down, not gearing up.
And all the late-nighters looked sheepishly at their phones…
Now, the non-procrastinators are wondering, did she do it?
And this is the part where most people admit wryly that they did.
But not this chick, nope, I finished it; and then I checked what I’d already done though I hadn’t been going to do that. (My teacher requires it, but I hadn’t found the answer key till then so I wasn’t going to worry about it.)
This story may seem entirely pointless, unless you’re really that interested in my study habits, but I can draw something profound out of this, I promise.
Something I noticed that I never noticed before while I was studying, is that I was actually worried I’d do a bad job. I thought I wasn’t understanding it well, I wasn’t sure I was following the directions right, some things my teacher had not even covered in class and I had to skip; and I’m becoming stressed, and you know what I’m hearing in my head? “You aren’t good at this, you don’t get it, maybe you’re not as good at this class as you thought; maybe now that it’s past the basic stuff you already knew, you’re bad at it, you were just riding your previous success. You can’t really be that good at it…”
Let me clarify, I’m student who’s made like two B’s and the rest all A’s since she started college a year ago. I led two of my classes. I’ve found nothing to be too hard for me.
So, I have no reason to doubt my abilities in French, language is my favorite subject for crying out loud, but I was beginning to doubt, not because it was all that hard, but because feeling confused and uncertain hits my confidence hard.
I hate feeling confused. I guess it makes sense, my gifts are understanding-oriented, I excel when I get a concept really cemented in, and when Id on’t I usually do poorly or at least not as well as I could.
But I still almost started freaking out.
That was when it hit me, every time I procrastinate it’s because I am feeling kind of lost in the subject. I wonder if I m doing it well, so I out it off in order to not face my own failure.
And I realized, this is not just me. I listen to my classmates discuss procrastinating, and they all feel like they aren’t really good students and aren’t really smart. They feel confused, and the ones who are less determined to get a good grade don’t do anything about it.
People who don’t feel they are good at what they are doing settle for what they “could get done.” You’ve heard the type yourself, I’m sure. They act like it was their best, but it wasn’t. They don’t do extra-credit except out of desperation.
Yeah, and in Speech class, I did that. I still got a good grade because I did all the extra credit I could, but I was so done with it when I got out. I’m not bad at speech, but those classes are ridiculous, format is not that important. I guarantee you the famous speeches of the world did not fit that format perfectly…gosh…
Anyway, that being said, this attitude can be applied toe very class, not just one or two you particularly hated, and then you just become a procrastinator and mediocre.
Fear drives us. We are afraid to fail, so we are afraid to try. If we don’t, we can’t fail. Or we can  fail and shrug it off “I probably should’ve done more, but I didn’t.” Translation: If I had, I’d be better at it, I’m not dumb, just lazy.”
Yeah, you know, lazy is not better than dumb. It’s worse. Dumb people might work harder to improve and surpass those it came too easily too.
People ride their competence, they can get by with procrastinating because they are smart, so they do. And yes, guilty.
But I’m starting to see why I’m doing myself a disservice. Maybe my teaches won’t care (though they should) but I will. I’m giving two-three years of my life to college, why the heck would I not make the most of that. I could’ve spent that time trying to work, doing stuff for fun, or whatever; instead I’m learning skills I plan to use later, why would I want to not learn them well?
And they wonder why people in the workplace just don’t seem to care. It’s because they never did. They are afraid to really try there too, and afraid to care about it.
To cap this off, when I did check my work like I’m supposed to, I found out I did very well. Only one consistent mistake, and one I can fix easily.
It’s like the perfect metaphor, I did the work, and I did it well. Had I not finished, I would not have found the answers key, and that would have left the work incomplete, thereby hurting my grade.
See how that works? Finishing let me finish.
God’s been calling me out on how I just accept that I can’t do better, and then I don’t try. I think I’m allowed to be mediocre. But that’s not what He calls us to.
I’ve never had to be the smartest person in order to feel confident, but that does not mean I should not be trying my hardest.
Anyway, I hope you found this enlightening or at least interesting, until next time–Natasha.
Check out this awesome song about giving it your all:
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCjF86ZDnWg

Under a Bushel

If you’ve grown up in church, you’ve probably heard the parable of the Talents, if you haven’t or are a little rusty, I’ll sum it up:

Jesus told this parable to illustrate how God views the gifts and resources He gives us. A man goes on a journey and leaves three servants in charge of his possessions. He gives one 5 talents, one 2 talents, and one 1 talent. (A talent was a sizable sum of money at the time. I think it would be like a hundred, maybe a thousand, dollars or so for us, give or take. And depending on whether it was gold or silver.) When the man comes back, the first two servants doubled their amount to 10 and 4 talents, but the last buried his in the ground. The man rewards the first two with cities to look after, and is furious with the last for wasting his talent and not even putting it in the bank to gather interest, he is thrown into the outer darkness.

The meaning of this parable is that we should use the gifts God gave us, whether they are many or few. Jesus sums it up by saying “To him who has more will be given, but to him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

There’s an idea now, not new, but with a new name, that there are people in society called “the have-nots.” I don’t want to disparage anyone who is suffering for lack of necessities…though if you are reading this, you can’t be that badly off, because electronics are expensive…Anyway, I just don’t like this term.

Even the poorest among us have gifts. It all depends on your attitude. In the classic book A Little Princess, the author observes that if you are a giver by nature, then even if your hands are empty, your heart is always full and you can give things out of that. Kindness, compassion, a smile, all of us can do that.

The most selfish people in the world have moments of kindness, usually.

I think we all feel like we’re less gifted than other people, at least, I think a lot of people feel that way, but all of us have felt that in some situations at least once.

I have a lot of gifts, but I get stuck on what I’m not good at.

For example, I am very good at mental stuff, language, and crafts. But I’ve never been a sporty person. I’m not in terrible shape, but I’m not in great shape either. I don’t have a lot of practical survival skills. I still don’t know how to cook and clean that many things, change a tire, or pay taxes (can’t wait for that one obviously. Ugh.)

I can always learn more, I plan to, but it doesn’t come as naturally to me. For whatever reason, I dwell on this. People who are good at those things often lament their lack of intellectual exercise. We all wish we could be good at everything, don’t we? Or at more things at least.

But this focus on what I can’t do has made me forget about what I can.

People don’t guess this about me though.

I have the unique experience of being told constantly that m gifts are inspiring, and beautiful, and people say they just enjoy watching me use them.

My sign language for example. I never thought it would interest that many people. I initially started doing it in public to practice, I’d sign along with worship. And it was not big deal, other than I felt like people thought it was weird.

But when I started going to my church, people kept telling me it was cool, or beautiful, and they loved watching it. I thought “But…worship’s not about me. And I’m just doing it out of habit and because moving helps me concentrate on what I’m singing.” Still, why stop?

Turns out some folks also wanted to learn it. And recently someone filmed me doing it for a class project, kind of a show-and-tell type thing, but in college they call it something more adult. I have used it in teaching my Sunday school class too, kids like hand motions to stuff.

Teaching is another gift I have. And just talking in general. (Who can relate? Be honest.) I’m aware of all this, because I got into the whole personality assessment thing some years back. And I’m glad I did because I’m more aware of my strengths now. And weaknesses. But it still surprises me when people actually appreciate it.

I’ve shared before how as a teen and a kid I got shut down for talking too much. Teachers have always loved me for paying attention, but had to rein me in so other kids would have to engage. Luckily, in college this is less of a problem. But every class I’m in I manage to establish myself as a scholar without really trying. I have to open my mouth, that’s all.

I think it’s funny, at this point. But I do feel weird too. Maybe you can relate.

I’ve realized though, that if I don’t use these gifts, it’s ungrateful. God doesn’t just give us these things and the not care if we do something with it or not. And I can use my gifts in the smallest ways and it catches people’s attention, because God shows through us. He is the source of our inspiration after all.

I’ve always caught people’s attention by being myself, and I’ve been embarrassed by that, but I realize I’m lucky it happens so easily. I know a lot of you feel invisible.

And people like me, we feel invisible in different ways. Like all anyone sees is our talents, and not our needs and our deeper feelings. Sometimes not standing out can make relationships easier to maintain.

We all have our own struggles. But I want to encourage you to just start doing what you love, and doing it more openly. When you enjoy something, people like seeing it even if they aren’t personally interested in it. It’s why geeky YouTube Channels are so popular. Passion is refreshing to see.

If you display your gifts, people will be touched, if even for a moment. And as Christians we’re admonished not to hide our light under a bushel. It hurts us, not just other people. We’re made to give something back to the world.

Until next time–Natasha.