Tag Archives: psychology

Study Notes

test

I was a smart kid, but I attribute my great grades not to flashes of genius but to boringly steady work habits. I trudged home from school, literally a mile+ in the snow, and did my homework. Every day. I spent a lot of time studying and overstudying for tests. Though I had some fun times, I didn’t really goof off that much, not in high school and certainly not in college.

In college, I had a Psych class and got 100% on a test. The professor congratulated me when he handed back the results, which was a little embarrassing. After class, a few students came up to me to ask how I did it. I said I read the assigned chapters, twice, and studied the lecture notes several times. That’s not what they wanted to hear, I could tell. They thought I had a special trick. I did not. I just spent a lot of time doing the boring, boring studying.

It is true when I was very young I had a bit of eidetic memory, but that faded fast and didn’t help me much by the time high school rolled around. I was better than most at remembering phone numbers, which has become an unnecessary skill these days. Who even needs to know their friends’ numbers any longer?

More recently I took the Notary Public exam and did well. I was a bit worried about it, even though I’ve taken it several times before (in California you have to retake it every four years). It’s easy to forget many of the details between tests if you only notarize once in a while as I do. But I overstudied like a maniac. Turns out I do have some good habits!

In my opinion, doing well in school is mostly about good habits, not brilliance. Could this be true about most things in life?

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Study

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The Meta Conversation

Boston Creme

Or what we talk about when we talk about talking. [hat tip to Raymond Carver]

Some people dislike “small talk,” the meaningless howareyas, haveaniceweeekends, coldenoughforyas watercooler type of chitchat. I never minded it. To me, it’s part of the please and thank you polite currency that smoothes over the transactions of our workplace relationships. Are we merely pretending to care about each other? Maybe. Maybe not. Do we always care that deeply about the answers to all the questions we pose to our friends and family, or is some of that merely filler as well? I don’t even mind when strangers ~ cashiers, waiters, neighbors ~ say this stuff to me. So what?

Why is filler conversation bad? Filler can be delicious, like the custard in a donut (mmm donuts). I’m part of a group where the leaders ask many “meaningless” questions, some of which I skip over, and some of which I reply to. I read other people’s answers when I have time, and often they’re interesting ~ first jobs, favorite writers, hobbies ~ and occasionally one of those poasts inspires me to write a longer piece myself, such as this one, or even a pome later on. Some of the group questions aren’t filler, but too personal to answer and I ponder them silently. I admire the brave folks who do reply. If I can think of a joke or a response that isn’t too revealing, I’ll put that. It may appear as though I’m an open book, but perhaps that’s just sleight of hand. You’ll never know, will you?

I’ve told you everything you know about me, but I haven’t told you everything I know. [hat tip to General Boris Alexandroff ~ yabbut rando site says so]

Most convo though is like shadows on the cave wall. We create definitions of words so we can communicate (table, cat, apple), but the whole endeavor quickly gets so tricky (love, loyalty, patriotism) that we assume a shaky base of mutual understanding in order to proceed, and often our assumptions turn out to be false. Oh, that’s not what I meant by love. Hah, fooled you! Or people can say that’s not what they meant even if they did mean it, and this becomes a totally legit way of squirming out of something because we all know conversation is just like this, even when it isn’t.

How conveeenient!

Now we make a new friend, bonding over shared heartbreak. Two people who’ve been burned by others deliberately (or so it seems) misunderstanding definitions miserably commiserate. Isn’t that nice? But wait…

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Conversation

Countdown of a Sort

Cupcake

Today is 10 years exactly since my mother told us of her pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Shortly thereafter I began the private blog, where some of you listened while I poured out my feelings. Thank you for that once again. It was a little over four months between her diagnosis and her death, less than “average,” so every day between now and April 13, 2018 will be a 10th anniversary of a day of mourning.

In my other blog I see I was angry that day, angry that she tried to be cheerful on the phone when she said she was coming over to talk to us. I knew then. Because if her scan had been fine, she would have said so on the phone. I like remembering this ~ it makes her come alive in my mind. Moms are so annoying! I want to remember her exactly how she was, not in some false idealized way.

Sometimes I feel very insubstantial lately and I have to relocate the essence of myself from wherever I’ve drifted apart and off to while I forgot to pay attention. Part of that process is remembering Mom.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Relocate

Succumb

Sheep

Sometimes it’s hard not to succumb to mainstream groupthink, even for me, but I try to remember I’ve always been a quiet rebel, from early on. I don’t look like a rebel, and I appear to fit in, but I don’t agree with many things the majority does. Still, I also don’t feel a need to make a big deal about it either. It’s easier these days with more people not following traditional paths. I’m lucky to be around now, in southern California, and not have pesky relatives bugging me. My friends tend to be a little quirky as well.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Succumb

In Which I Force Myself to Pay Attention

Some days I get down in the grumps and wonder why X keeps happening. Depending on the day/month/year, X could be any number of things. Which is why we’re using X…

I remember once thinking that I was really unlucky with tires and got way more flats than other people. Maybe there was something weird about the way I drove, like I was a nail magnet or something? When I mentioned that to the tire guy, he said, oh, everyone thinks they’re unluckier than normal about their tires. That was pretty funny. I haven’t had a flat since (now I will since I wrote this).

There are days I think I’m in horrible pain all the time, like this morning (when I was in horrible pain from a migraine with stabby neck throbs and nausea), but that’s not true. It just seems true when I’m suffering… and then when I’m not, I forget to notice. Why? Because though I have chronic pain, it’s actually normal for me not to be in horrible pain ~ there’s a difference, and it’s important to acknowledge this. I need to notice the times I feel OK, like now, and remember them.

I’ve said I’m a magnet for certain types of people, but I’ve noticed others saying the same thing. You know the types we mean ~ the drama royals, the narcissists, the nutcases. If you’re not one of these, and even if you are, you’ve surely encountered them. After a few instances, we announce, “I must be a magnet for them!” Well, no. But our interactions with the “types” are so much more vivid than our interactions with ordinary folks that we focus our attention on the types. Hence we decide we’re a magnet. If I force myself to recall more interactions, it turns out that I’ve had many more with ordinary people than with the types. They just aren’t as memorable.

At the risk of sounding a little bit woo, I need to focus my attention more on things that bring me pleasure (writing, good health, organizing plans, etc.) and less on things that make me unhappy (flat tires, horrible pain, the “types,” etc.) It’s just common sense.

Next up: crystals and aromatherapy.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Magnet

Regarding Yelling

I’ve become very spoiled lately, living alone and leading such a quiet life, despite having a very vocal kitteh. The more time passes, the more I find I can’t tolerate any loudness. Perhaps it has something to do with the tinnitus (as discussed); or perhaps it’s just that I’m in the habit of indulging my own preferences only… and they run to the white noise varieties. During my childhood, my parents argued frequently and were in the habit of yelling at each other to the point where it seemed that violence was imminent (though it rarely ever came to that), and this was often scary for a little kid, though one does get used to things. However, one also gets used to the absence of such.

Nothing gets me in a bad mood faster than sustained bursts of noise. I find I’m unable to focus on anything else. Raised, angry voices literally make me cringe in fear, even if they have nothing to do with me. Saturday afternoon a group of young men appeared to be having an argument in the parking lot of my apartment complex, and I was scared to go out to my car. It was silly, but I began to worry they’d start physically fighting, even though there was no sign of this. I thought it could happen. They were nowhere near my car, but even so, I stayed inside for a while until they quieted down, and I was slightly late for my meeting ~ because I was afraid of nothing really.

Ironically, my meeting was in a public place, and it was loud there too, which eventually put me in a grumpy mood for a while until the crowd thinned out and the noise volume lowered. Geez, I’m such a crabby old lady now. Guess what? IDGAF about that. I like what I like… and more importantly, I dislike what I dislike.

Crabby-Single-Female

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Cringe

Stuck in the Meddle with You

I don’t like to meddle, or even give advice really. I don’t know anything! But most people lurve to give advice… omg how they will tell you what you should do if you give them half a chance. Even if you don’t ask, they’ll tell you. Even if you obviously have it way more together than they do, they won’t hesitate to explain how you could do better. That’s just the way people are, or at least the ones I’ve encountered. I guess that’s a topic for another poast ~ the kinds of people who gravitate toward me. Yes.

But we’re here today to discuss meddling, since that’s the WOTD.

I’ve tried so hard to stay out of other people’s stuffs and yet… and yet… I know so much about other people’s stuffs. How did this happen? Why do people confide in me so often? It’s one of the biggest ironies of my life. Probably because I don’t meddle or even judge really. Why would I judge anyone, since I’ve made so many mistakes? I just sit there and listen, wondering why I’m so trusted, which is probably why. Weird!

It’s hard not to feel like you’ve meddled, even when you’ve only listened and agreed with what the person wanted to do all along. My standard “advice” is just hey don’t do what I’ve done, which is silly really since I’m not that bad off, I suppose. Sort of. Depending on your definitions. Whatever!

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Meddle

On Being Wrong

I recently experienced a revelation: the relief of being wrong.

How so, you ask?

Sometimes it’s a burden to continually reestablish a position I’ve staked out. I like to believe I’m a unique snowflake (no, not *that* kind of snowflake) and come up with my very own unique ideas. Naturally I will have supporting arguments, however oddball. Since I present my case logically, I will get supporters; or perhaps peeps were already inclined to agree. In any case, as time passes, doubt creeps in… what if the majority had it right all along? Oh drat. Boring!

At that point, holding on to my position becomes stressful, since it becomes a game of cognitive dissonance. I’m telling myself I’m right because I’ve invested in the idea; yet my current data is coming in opposite to that, which I must ignore. Suddenly, boom! I decide not to ignore the new data and abandon the position instead.

What follows? Relief! A feeling of peacefulness.

Nope, it doesn’t matter what the idea was, though you are free to guess. You’ll probably be wrong however. 🙂

(This in no way concedes that all my weird ideas are wrong, just one. Or possibly two.)

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Revelation

4AM

I watch from my window
While your tail lights vanish in the rain.
The streets smearstain
Into a red and green fingerpainting,
Flickering with the traffic signals,
As fickle as your interest in me.
Blurred and tearstreaked,
The wet masterpiece
Stays illuminated
By a cold lemondrop moon.

I know I’ll never see you again.

All the frothy promises
And cottoncandy plans
Dissolve in the morning mist.
My lips still hum from your kiss,
But I feel your vague disappointment,
Your perpetual darkness
Guarded by barbedwire.

I wander outside to feed the ferals—
Two slinky shadows, silhouettes cut from coal;
Crunchy nuggets clink into the cats’ dish.
How I wish I could make a wish,
But there are no do-overs here.
I always fail with a complicated man;
I don’t respond well to the tortured genius soul
Who needs the perfect femme fatale,
A Marilyn to his Al.

I fail with the uncomplicated too.

You told me I was nothing like her,
The ex who depressed you—
I thought that was a good thing;
But now I imagine you search
For her likeness,
In hopes of recreating some sick
Woody Allen type lobster scene,
To find catharsis
And absolution.
And though I sneer and snark,
I want to play a part
In this execution.

I gaze up at that judgy stone face,
Unflinchingly—
In my disordered state:
Jammie pants, damp coat,
Tangled mass of bedhead.
“Is it something I said?”
Yes.
I ponder this relationship chess;
I might just be on the precipice
Of finally understanding
Something,
Anything,
A small piece of this
Jagged, glassy, bloody puzzle.

“Is it something I didn’t say?”
Also yes.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Precipice

Anatomy of an Apology

I wish I had pulled the wings
Off your poisoned apology
When it came fluttering in
So unexpectedly,
Soft as butter in a boiled sun.
But it was so lovely,
Spun in delicate glory,
With colorful backstory;
I held out my hands,
Everything forgiven.

Apologies from men
Have been rare as Monarchs,
And I breathed in that golden dust
From your I’m sorry like a drug,
More potent than the heady bliss
Of your up against the brick wall kiss.
As bruised clouds slid past
The last light of that languorous day,
I’m sorry, I’m sorry
You whispered in sticky magnificence,
Sucking me into a sugar net seduction
I should have shot down.

I wish I had heard how hollow
Your sham regrets rang,
How they held no tomorrow,
Instead of feeling hypnotized
By the Blue Morpho
Of your eyes.
But it had been so long…
And you’re a charismatic guy;
That apology trapped me tight
In the crystal jar of your lies.

But only once:
When the glass breaks,
It shatters.
No molten gold
Can hold
Your broken soul together.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Unexpected