The Middle of the Middle: 5 Things I Know in 2020

1. I like to write. Really I love to write and it all starts in my head. I use to think it was a form of procrastination to not immediately write a research paper, parsing the work amidst a weeks worth of nights. I finally came to understand that I hadn’t put off the assignment, but obsessively planned it in a mental landscape before putting it to paper.

This is the moment most students believe they are naturally prolific writers who are slightly impacted by laziness. Having watched thousands of students think about their thinking has made one thing clear: our meta cognition is deeply shaped by how society assesses our behavior. Basically, we can’t think about our own ideas in our own ways without considering how they will be perceived by someone else.

If we begin with fractured thinking, what is the source of our action?

2. I deserve better. This means I have to stop buying into the notion that the external validation society demands is ever going to work for me. That I am not a contrarian for thinking differently and developing an array of talents through creative ventures. Something that Temple Grandin said in her Ted Talk comes to mind (which is echoed in her book) is that she had to sell herself to employers through her portfolio and tangible ideas because verbal communication breeds behavior that might be considered “not a culture-fit”.

Resumes and relationships get people jobs. Aids folks in contributing to society and the stability of their own homes. Breeds independence and inter-dependence. Trust is invited into this space because there is no need to operate from false hierarchies.

3. Employment is not Enjoyment. Your job may not be the place that “sparks joy”. It should. At least some of the time. It shouldn’t break you down. A job should not destroy your sense of self. A job is not a family and if it were, it’d be identifiably dysfunctional and no one would talk about it.

With celebrity and fame comes the idea that they pair well with talent and capacity for growth. They don’t. They bring attention and the hope of increased income. The hardest part of accepting that you may need more exposure (rather than fame) is who to connect with and how.

4. Acceptance is a Personal Issue. Why wait for rejection? Go out and experience it. Right!? I mean, I think many of us can agree that we can identify moments of rejection at an early age. Not being included in a group in elementary school. Being picked last. Being avoided at the family gathering. Being called fat or a stick or having chicken legs. I mean, congratulations on shaming an 8 year old.

As the years pass, we are supposed to build a resistance to rejection or take it and use it as fuel. But some of us don’t run on rejection. Unless we are informed as to why we are not a good fit, why our contribution isn’t seen as viable, rejection is just confusion. It is miscommunication and a painful reminder of unreasonable standards. (See thread on Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria by @shirainspired—which is associated with ADHD and Autism.)

5. I have dreams. I accept that I deserve them. And that’s what I write about.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: