In the meantime I will do my utmost to type up some posts, as I hate how empty my blog has been lately, and please do not think I forgot about it!
First of all, I would like to say I am in no way an expert on anything, nor should anything I say be taken as good advice, especially if it goes against better judgement. Don't be stupid, people. (End obligatory I know nothing and just like to feel important disclaimer.)
"Multi-tasking more than my processors," "I simply do not have time to die, far too much to do!" "On a scale of one to crazy, I'm a penguin." Okay, so that last one was not my creation, but I love it very much. To say I am random would be putting it mildly; to say I am all over the place would mean I probably got some sleep. To keep up or understand me? Good Lord, no one can. Not even me.
I like to say I am always connected, always busy, always doing something. Chances are, I am. My ex used to tease me when I would open FireFox and there were two home pages set - he would say normal people only use one. That is not something I can do, even in FireFox, which is my secondary browser. My main browser - Chrome - loads with far more and is pretty much always running at least three tabs at a time. Having just.one tab open? That would be like only having one browser open or only one book (actually no, scrap the book analogy) or only one monitor or only one device. Unthinkable! How would I get anything done?
It sounds like I have a penchant for doubles; I do not. People often question my setup, or my collections of notes, papers notebooks, Filofaxes (I have two, both for daily usage), questionable amount of trees stuck around as postits (I don't get a tree for Christmas, if that helps), and wonder how I manage. I just laugh and tell them they have not seen my digital to do lists - most cannot comprehend me by that point.
Have I lost you yet? I hope not. I am trying awfully hard not to tangent here.
So why do I have so many notes and lists? Am I some random, insane, crazy Oprah wannabe? No. Not at all. I am constantly stressed, working on multiple things, and trying to figure things out. People do not ask me what I am doing at any particular time; when my answer is four times longer than a tweet, well that is still normal. I frequently have the moment of "oh my God sitting - it feels so good" because I have been running around doing things and had no time to breathe. Of course, moments later I am up and at it again. Or still sitting (but very differently, because relaxing and work do not look the same) and tapping away at my computer, because that is where my life is. Seriously, I miss the constant go go go, busy days. Two years ago I hated seeing empty spaces in my blackberry calendar. Now, I find it very weird to see an empty rtm list even if it is the daily tasks. Still weird. Oh and I have maybe six lists in rtm, plus tags. I like to keep things organized so when I never see them again I know at least they are labelled with words that are so cryptic I often forget what they mean.
Would you believe (eyebrow wiggle, would you believe this is ... boat nectar?) I have no job, am not in school, and have no social life? Because it's true, I don't. My calendar is so empty it scares me, and therefore is not directly visible on my mobile (android, widgets, home screens). And - surprise, surprise - I hate it.
My brain needs stimulation. My brain craves stimulation. It shuts down if it does not have enough to work on. A couple months ago, having finally finished school (I have been in school since I was 3), my brain tried that. It was terrible, an absolute nightmare. Have you ever been stuck in a state of depressed lethargy, even for a moment? It was like that, but about ten times worse, lasted a couple months, entire time had no idea what was going on, oh and add the constant overpowering urge to be productive.
I need some stress in my life or I have no idea what to do - and trust me, I do not handle the unknown well at all. By which I of course mean I do not handle it at all and panic. Doesn't help that I have OCD, does it. That being said, I do not react well to too much stress either. It is a delicate balance, finding the right amount of stress to keep me at that happy point between so stressed going to the loo without thinking about a problem I'm trying to solve is just absurd and the "omfg hello brain remember me please turn on point." But when I get that balance, I am unstoppable. More than that, when I go to sleep I'm smiling. Some people say exercise is invigorating, but nothing compares to that.
The reason I started writing this post (on my mobile, so I do apologize if I missed any typos from auto correct or just plain mobile) was to explain what it is like having ADD. Not to say I failed, but it certainly did not go as planned. Not that they ever do, mind you. Do keep in mind I do have OCD as well, which does have some random attributed to it, along with the obsessive compulsive, anxiety nature it is known for. Am I depressed or bipolar? No. Don't trust me, ask my doctor. Yes that was the right punctuation. I am saying not to accept me as the expert on that.
So what is it like having ADD? Many people compare it to watching tv with all the channels on at once. I have no idea where they got that from, I do not feel like that ever. For me, I used to describe my brain as having many different trains of thoughts at a time. At any given moment, there will be at least three going - and that's medicated. Getting me to focus on one thing is incredibly hard. Usually I keep something going in the background so I can focus on working; while I was finishing my dissertation it was The Mummy films. Frequently I find myself wanting a third monitor so I would have more space to pull up windows, because two just isn't enough.
Let me put it this way - there is a reason I am always doing a bunch of things at once, that I seem to know everything (I know I don't but I do get that sometimes), that I cannot have a chair without wheels and the capability to use it, that I prefer L workstations to desks, that I am permanently attached to a mobile that never gets calls or texts, and that I can interrupt all the time when people are trying to have a conversation with me and a while later understand everything they said. If were to look at an ADD assessment test, it pretty much describes me. For all the noise and chatter and static I am supposed to be hearing, I'm not. Am I frustrated my brain and thoughts are so organized, or that I am always twitching or fidgeting, and cannot sit through a lecture longer than an hour? Not quite, yes but also my OCD kicks in and makes it impossible to stop, and yes. I hate not being able to sit still, or focus long enough, or any of that. It really does make university hard, especially in history. And I do have more random thoughts and ideas cluttering up the place - figuratively and literally. I am always making notes for later, lists, etc. But am I frustrated at its lack of organization or that I cannot organize it all? Not so much. My brain is full, but it is not full of static or chatter or random indecipherable and therefore frustrating entities. I know what is going on in there (not all at once because my field of vision (scope) is limited so I would have to pan around to see them all but when I can all of them are immediately clear), what frustrates me is I cannot deal with all of them! Think of an ever growing in pile (not my one stack of to get to, read, process asap stuff) but an inbox for tasks or something. You want to see it empty, with everything done (not because it fell in the bin). But if it keeps getting more and more added, you can't keep up. You want to scream "I'm only one person!" At it. But you can't. Because it's in my brain. And that's sort of what it is like, some of the time.
In case you have never tried, it is really hard to explain what goes on in your head. This is not my first, nor will it be my last, but it still does not show what I want. It's busy, it's weird, it's always doing something. It loves research, loves organizing, loves lists, loves to be neat and tidy and productive.
When I was rereading Sherlock Holmes, I found myself having a great many moments of individual personal connection with the title character. When he first explains the cocaine to Watson, for instance, I finally understood a lot more about my thinking and suddenly so much more made sense. Of course I admire the man's genius and talents, but it is in the subtle character traits that I find him most appealing; there I see answers to unasked questions.
I was not diagnosed with ADD until I was 20 and in third year of university. When I was a kid it was overdiagnosed, and even still a lot of people do not believe on adults having ADD. They, clearly, do not know me. I am not on a caffeine high, or a sugar rush, or in the midst of manic episode. There is so much going on in my mind and so much I want to do; sometimes it is overbearing. I know I cannot do it all, but everything is there, and how can I say one is better than the other? Sometimes, scarily, it does stop me in my tracks - literally. This has always been the situation, so I learned to deal with it (at least a bit) but it happens. I get trapped in my own mind - by my own mind. Every undone (as in not done) task is a looming failure, and I am smaller than any punctuation mark. Even modern poetry cannot save you now (which is assuming you would let it, personally I'm not a fan).
So what's it like being me? Busy. Random. Try and keep up. Not physically, mentally. The connections I make and see as plain obvious are a couple steps ahead of normal. I just missed that part. What's it like having ADD? Busy. Very busy. Always busy. But I love the right kind of busy. It's just hard to get that right. And random, well at least I'm not boring!
In fairytales the princess is always in need of rescue and when her prince slays the evil dragon saves her from the tower, they live happily ever after.
By slaying the dragon, breaking the spell, or defeating the windmill as the case may be, the prince is going through a lot. He must succeed where everyone else has failed, a challenge hard enough to prove his valour and worth. To the princess waiting to be rescued, it proves her worth too. She must know how hard it is to get through to her, after all who in their right mind goes after a dragon and to statistically guaranteed death? The test of valour ends there, before scaling the tower and rescuing the princess. That extra distance her prince is going for her.
There are many flaws to fairytales, but the happily ever after makes more sense. If going forth to statistically guaranteed slow, painful, and torturous death, slaying the dragon/spell/windmill holding her captive, and then climbing a tower all in hope of rescuing the princess is not a sign of love and devotion then what is? Part of it can be written off as tests of princely character, but the rest is still far too taxing to just be after sex.
If a man is willing to endure the most extreme tests of his physical, mental, and whatever else the story contains character for someone, he has most certainly proven how much this person means to him.
- Have you killed any dinosaurs?
- Have you met Iron Man?
- Have you seen any robots?
Earlier I wrote about the famine in the Horn of Africa and the needless suffering of innocent people, especially in Somalia. Whether you continued to follow the story or not, the situation has not improved. People are still dying, parents are watching their children starve to death, children are watching their mothers raped in front of their eyes; the earth continues to spin. Life goes on. I would think it goes without saying life as a refugee, particularly in a refugee camp, is not to be wished upon anyone. The atrocities and tragedies described during the global appeal for Somalia were shocking to many; sadly, they are the harsh reality in most refugee camps, especially those that are overcrowded and unable to support the vast number of people who arrive hoping to flee an even worse situation. Most of the time, these people go unnoticed by the rest of the world as others are far more concerned with other issues – the economy, the Palestinian bid for statehood, the tumultuous situations in Libya and Syria, to name a few. For the individual, problems of direct and personal importance take priority over the suffering of others – after all, how can one help refugees a world away when there is so much at home to fix? Is that not the job of some politician or bureaucrat somewhere? Yes, it most likely is someone else’s job to fix the problems faced by refugees inside and outside of camps, but does that exempt one from caring? If you were faced with similar circumstances, how would you feel knowing the rest of the world had that same idea? What if it was you or your family there? Think about it.
When it comes time for your family’s evening meal, imagine being there with your children and having no food for them today. Tonight they must go to sleep with empty stomachs. There is no water to quench their thirst, either; they must go without. Instead of sleeping on a nice bed or in a sturdy crib like you have at home, your children will have to spend the night on the ground, in squalor, with little or no protection. Surrounding them are thousands of people living in the same conditions as you, suffering from the same lack of care. No power means no nightlight, no glass of water or bedtime story, certainly no stuffed animal or any other bedtime necessity. As your hungry children try to sleep in these conditions, you cannot honestly reassure them it will be better tomorrow – the truth is this is your new home, and although it is somewhat better than the one you left, this is reality. When your children wake again, there will be no food to give them, no water, no comfort or reassurance. Hopefully today no one will be attacked or raped; hopefully all of you will survive the day.
Imagine your life without your children – they once existed, but now they are dead. You loved them dearly, there is no denying that, but circumstances were terrible and some could not survive – you did everything you could but you just did not have enough food or water or shelter for them. Even now, your own survival is in question and it is quite possible you will not see tomorrow either.
Tonight when you go to tuck them in, stop. Turn around, leave them there. Do not say good night to them, do not turn on the nightlight or read a story; simply ignore them. When they start crying, continue to ignore them. Listen to their pleas, but do nothing. Know that they are suffering and hurting – but do nothing. Go ahead, try to ignore it or drown out the sounds. That will not make them go away, though, and you know it.
How long could you do that? Does it bother you to know they are there and you are doing nothing to help them? Why, because they are children and they need to be cared for by those who can? Or is it because they are your children, and you can hear them crying? Do you think I should care that they are suffering? They are not my children; what does it matter to me? Your children could die right now, screaming in terrible agony, and my life would carry on without even noticing. Tell me, why should I care at all, even if the circumstances leading to their demise was preventable? My life is not affected by them and I have plenty of other problems of my own. Yes, it is a terrible tragedy, never should have been allowed to happen, you will never be the same, la dee dah, life goes on – for everyone else, that is. Your life is ruined, but no one else in the world cares. It could have been avoided quite easily, but no one did anything. Sorry, but they have their own problems to deal with like making sure their children go the better school or buying more luxury goods they could easily live without.
After all, it is far more important to have a fancy new car with all the options than it is to spare $5.00 and a few minutes to save your child’s life. If you are lucky, they may find the time to say “what a tragedy” it is when children die from something so easily preventable – but do not liken this to action, as nothing more will be done. Too bad, so sad; now get out of my life forever. Refugees are not people anymore; they are facts and figures. That is why you are not concerned with helping them, right? Or is it because your children need to have a dvd player in your fancy new SUV more than other children need to eat? Sure, thousands of people are starving to death – needlessly – every day, but your children are your priority and it is very important they have the best money can buy. So what if you could have saved a few lives instead – so long as it is not your child.
This was posted on my facebook and I wanted to share it. I did not write it, it is not mine at all, and I claim no credit for it.
Today there were two executions I strongly oppose - opposed, I suppose, is the appropriate word now - one was in Georgia, the other in China. The one in China I did blog about a couple days ago; I do not think countries should have the right to try and execute foreign nationals. The case in Georgia, well that was one of those ones that makes the death penalty seem ridiculous. Troy Davis (if I have the name spelt wrong my most sincere apologies; I am currently blogging via mobile) was denied clemency at every level and killed for a crime he claims he did not commit. There is no physical evidence implicating him, several eyewitnesses recanted, and the entire case was shoddy at its best.
Even if he is found innocent in the future, he will still be dead. In Canada, the death penalty was abolished over 50 years ago. Still, cases of wrongful imprisonment have been major issues when convictions were overturned many years later. These people were still alive, but the Canadian government was forced to address a very serious issue when it came to restoration - how much was the innocent person's life worth during or for the many years spent in prison? Here, at least, they can be faced with this incredibly awkward question and even if they spend centuries arguing over the proper monetary amount, they still can do that. Troy, no. He will never have that opportunity. His life is gone, forever. No amount of money or anything else can buy back or make up for time spent wrongly imprisoned, or equate a part of a life. In comparison, though, at least they have a life to consider. Dead men are just that - dead. It is quite a permanent condition, and one that can never be rectified.
Find the man innocent after his execution, he is still dead. To say it is a step for justice would first require justice to fall down a mountain, then roll ever so slightly towards the other direction. Yes, it is a good thing, but it has no real depth. Had they not executed him then they could go through the awkward public apology and release, and applaud the staying of the sentence. Instead, he is dead and the likelihood anything will ever be done about his case is incredibly slim. Hopefully lobbyists will push it through and have it seen to; do not let him die in vain. What concerns me most is not the clout needed to make it happen, rather I am very worried there is not enough evidence for a proper case. I would really hate to see this die a slow death in bureaucratic red tape and never receive any resolution at all. This is not me saying he was innocent or in any way passing judgement over the case; all I say here is there is not enough proof to warrant execution. I would have liked to see it go back to court, to be assessed once again, and hopefully with less emphasis on witness testimony.
People make mistakes all the time; this one may have cost an innocent man his life. Or, it may have sent a killer to his grave, but is it worth that risk?
In general I try to keep unrelated personal bits out of this blog, but seeing as how this one (in a sense) gave birth to a relevant post, I shall include it and hope it somehow follows the example set forth by my mate whose blog is to the right (hint hint!).
One of my Filofaxes has a space at the bottom of every week in which to write the most memorable moment. This week, there were two very memorable ones to record when I was updating my diary (schedule, dayplanner) on Wednesday night. The week starts on Monday; both events came from Tuesday. One was my birthday, the other throat cancer.
Needless to say, my life has been very stressful lately. Friday night I had a mini meltdown and decided I was not going to have a birthday this year. In the end I did - at 23 I cannot continue to act like a brat for no good reason, I have to be an adult now. The night did not go as I had hoped, but it was fun at times and I sure as hell have had worse. And to be fair, I had cancelled everything, was ill for a while and did not feel up for anything, and there really was no time to plan anything. But my bezzie got me a card and a cake and an Oilers cup foam holder things and it was great.
What really kills me is I don't really have anyone to talk to about the other, major issues. Lots of people say they care and are always there to listen - and I appreciate this greatly, don't get me wrong - but I cannot just talk to anyone about it. I can, but I would really like to talk to someone who at least understands a part of it. So I don't bring it up or mention it, except to my one mate who is awesome and also understands a lot of it. As much as I hate constantly taking up her time with my problems, I really do feel a lot better afterwards. I wish I could openly talk to my best friend about these things, or be able to discuss them with other people I talk to a lot, but I simply can't. First there is the huge issue of bringing it up, then there's the talking part and no one knows what to say.
As ridiculous and juvenile as it is, I do sometimes wish someone would push me to open up about things. I have learned that I cannot expect anyone to do anything remotely like that, and that I have to learn to be strong enough to do that on my own ... but still, it would be nice. Yes, it would be letting me take the easy way out and avoid responsibility, but I think the part that I like most - perhaps I am just deluding myself - is the feeling that someone actually cares. Fairy tales and movie romances do not happen in the real world, I know, but on occasion I give in for a moment and imagine someone doing that for me. Perhaps I am just incredibly insecure and want someone to overcome the challenges to prove it is not a joke or something of the sort. Or perhaps I am just an overly-emotional female.
I wish I could say there was more of a point to this post, but sadly, there is not. Originally this was where I stated there were two executions today, but that turned into its own post .
A picture I took at St. Andrew’s Square (Princes Street) in Edinburgh, July 2011. I did not want to photograph the people.
“Blowin’ in the Wind” was originally written and recorded by Bob Dylan, but I grew up listening to the Peter, Paul, and Mary version. I strongly suggest listening to the lyrics, or at least looking them up.
On Twitter the World Bank has been tweeting about women and equality, with the hashtag #thinkEQUAL. There have been many responses; I suggest reading some of them. It is interesting to see what other people think equality means and how to go about achieving it. I have responded a time or two, but Twitter has this annoying habit of limiting me to 140 characters - not even words. So, I am going go take this opportunity to expand on this topic and write a little post about it.
Equality for everyone means having the same opportunities, regardless of any factors. It gives the individual the ability to choose what to do next, and lets everyone pursue their own dreams without being fenced in at all. Equality of opportunity - this is how I define an equal existence. A lot of people see equal opportunities as meaning everyone has the same right to succeed. True, they do have that same levelling point. But what I feel is all too often ignored in discussions about equality, opportunity, and chances to succeed is the very important opportunity to fail.
Having the resources and opportunities necessary to succeed is certainly something I have had my entire life, growing up in a developed Western nation a part of a white collar middle class family. My entire life I have been aware of how lucky I am to have these chances, that I can not only go on to study higher education but I can also decide how I want to use my life. Not everyone can, and I know that. It pains me to think of the people who cannot choose their own paths, and while they seem to be mostly women (I would assume the statistics are still just rough guesses based on crude amounts of evidence) I do not categorize this as a woman's issue alone.
The first reason for this is simple - if we, as a species, are ever going to overcome gender or sex based discrimination, then we must learn to see past these lines. While we talk about equality for women, are we not forcing them into a state of inequality by categorizing them? Men, too, by pitching them against women in this sort of battle. I am in no way saying men and women are treated equally everywhere - anywhere, even - but instead am trying to point out the biggest flaw in this campaign. So long as lines are used to divide people, no matter how or why, or even what the intentions, the groups will exist as separate from each other by the very nature of the whole thing.
Promoting equality is good, but what are you really promoting? Is it what you want to promote?
Now, for the second part of this post on equality, and back to the idea of equality of opportunity to succeed. Success is marvellous and certainly should be the goal, but as we all know, life does not always go that way. Even with opportunities and resources, sometime success just does not happen. Then what? Most people would say to try again, to learn from the experience and apply it to the future. Sounds good, certainly advisable - but what if you cannot?
Equality is more than just having the same opportunities to succeed - it also means having the freedom to fail. Not long ago the UN posted an article about a Somali refugee who was fleeing the famine. Like most, her story was one of incredible survival; it nearly brought forth tears. But what really got to me was not how inspiring the tale was; the part that has continued to haunt me since I read it is her response to her ordeal. She kept going because she had no alternative; she survived because she had to.
This refugee, a brave and inspiring Somali woman, did not have the same opportunities as I did at that same time. While I was trying to finish my dissertation so I would not fail it, she saw only one option in her life - survive. Me, I had many opportunities at that exact same time, including the chance to succeed. More importantly, I had the opportunity to fail. I could do wrong, mess everything up, and I would still be aliveand relatively okay. But her? She could not fail; it simply was not an option. And that hit me the hardest out of everything - having the opportunity to succeed is wonderful, it lets you overcome difficulties and challenges that stand in your way. The opportunity to fail, however, is what makes the attempt possible. Surviving failure is what gives that leap of faith a chance. Without it, risks come with costs far too high - mostly, life.
When you think about equality and what it means to you, please remember these points too. Dividing lines cannot exist alongside equality, and it is the opportunity to fail that truly defines the freedom to succeed, which is the aim of equality.