Daily prompt: Lecture

Two of the three classes I’m taking this semester have a lecture component. I enjoy the lectures and find them interesting. One class is about wrongful convictions in the criminal justice system. I actually didn’t know the class was about that when I signed up for it because it was just called Senior Seminar in Psychology and its description made it sound like it was a broad overview of the field of psychology.  Wrongful convictions happen to be an interest of mine though and I’ve read about it in my free time. The subject is as horrifying as it is fascinating.

My other lecture class is called Intro to Child Life and no, it’s not about the lives of children. It’s about a career most people have never heard of called Child Life Specialist, which involves helping children who have been hospitalized acclimate to their hospitalization. I doubt I’ll ever be a child life specialist myself but I like learning about the profession.

Shy as I can be, I’m actually a pretty active participant in the lectures because these are topics I have things to say about. The good thing about looking so young is that I don’t have to feel the least bit self conscious about sitting in a class full of 20-year-olds because no one would guess I’m older than they are.

Everyone tells me how happy and proud they are that I’m going back to school and that it’s such a great thing to do. I agree but as you may have noticed, my blogging has suffered as a result. I need to remedy that by doing these blogging prompts, which always end up taking less time to write than my regular blogs and by limiting the amount of time I spend on social media.

I do not consider writing on this blog to be any less important or beneficial to me than going back to college is.

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When Online is Out of Line: The Beginning of the End

You never know what straw is going to break the camel’s back. The incident that ultimately led to my downfall on the board started out innocently enough but at that point nothing I did was considered innocent.

Someone posted a video of George W. Bush dancing at a funeral and many members expressed the belief that he was drunk. I said I did not believe he was drunk. We debated back and forth whether or not he was drunk for a while until a member called Vegas (all names mentioned from here on out are pseudonyms for the names or screen names of board members. Some have been mentioned previously in this saga. Others are being introduced for the first time) said “Yet another thread derailed by Kira nonsense. If you want to believe it’s impossible for a former alcoholic to start drinking again, you are free to believe that and we are free to disagree. I don’t know why you have to insist that you are right and we are wrong. Just let it go. Jeez.”

Hedwig then piped up to agree with Vegas and say “I have a feeling that if the majority had said George Bush wasn’t drunk Kira would have said he was. Gotta have whatever contrary opinion allows you to have every other post in the thread!”

Apparently I was exceptionally unlucky on that board when it came to discussing former presidents and I just couldn’t win. As you may recall, the incident that resulted in me being suspended started when I posted about an issue involving Woodrow Wilson without giving my own opinion on the matter and was subsequently accused of being unable to think for myself and relying on the board to do my thinking for me. Now when I clearly was thinking for myself and expressing an opinion that the board hadn’t formed for me I was accused of doing so solely for the sake of being contrary.

I was frustrated so I said “Oh yeah, another thread derailed by me because I’m a horrible person who’s responsible for all the problems on this forum and no one shares any blame for the way they choose to interact with me.”

Hedwig retorted with “That sounds about right. I know you’re being sarcastic but it’s pretty much true.”

Trixie jumped to my defense with “Hedwig, those comments were unnecessarily cruel. It’s understandable that someone on the autism spectrum would see neurological differences as accounting for strange behavior before they would see drunkenness. If someone made a comment like that to my daughter I would be so heartbroken for her.”

Hedwig snapped back that the fact that she would be heartbroken for her daughter did not mean anyone on the board should have to walk on eggshells around me or take my autism in to account because autism was no excuse.

Suki said “Ouch. Some of the comments made to Kira just seem unnecessarily mean. If I was told that I was always responsible for things going wrong and always ruining everyone’s fun I would just be so hurt. There are people in my life that I find annoying but I don’t treat them like this. There must be better ways to deal with someone who wants to be a part of every conversation.”

Then CatWoman said “I agree with Hedwig and I don’t care if that’s cruel . Kira, you monopolize the board, you argue for the sake of arguing, you take offense at things that aren’t offensive and you post in every thread. Why can’t you stop this behavior? I don’t understand.”

At that point I let loose and wrote a long post detailing all my thoughts, feelings and frustrations. I pointed out that I was not breaking any board rules and that there were people who appreciated my contributions to the forum. I pointed out that me posting on the board was not preventing anyone else from posting whatever they wanted and that if anyone didn’t want to read what I posted they didn’t have to. I talked about my struggles with my disability.  I said I knew there were people who were hoping to drive me off the board by going out of their way to make me feel unwelcome, by constantly poking at me until I snapped and lost it completely but I wasn’t going to let that happen. I acknowledged that my participation in the forum was not entirely healthy but that it also helped me psychologically in some ways and without it my mental health might be worse.

I guess I was hoping that by laying it all out there like that I would get people to finally understand and acknowledge where I was coming from but that’s not what happened. I was made fun of for writing an ‘epic length post’.

Lola said that my long post proved that I enjoyed being dogpiled. She told me I was addicted to the board and showed all the symptoms of an addict. I couldn’t stop and I didn’t want to stop.

Firecracker told me that a hyperdefensive wall of text in response to complaints about monopolizing the board was shocking, that people kept trying to nudge me in the direction of appropriate social behavior but I wouldn’t listen and that every other forum she’d been a part would have tossed me out a long time ago.

Candy told me that I should observe the behavior of other people and conform to it-it was unusual for anyone to post as much as I did or to post when they were on vacation like I did.

Starbuck said that it wasn’t normal for a message board to be affecting one’s mental health and that I should see a psychologist (isn’t it just so helpful to tell someone who struggles with severe mental illness to see a therapist? As if that’s a brilliant suggestion they never would have thought of on their own and they haven’t already been in therapy for a long time.)

Clarissa felt that in saying I thought my mental health might worsen if I didn’t have the board in my life I was being deliberately emotionally manipulative.

Rudey Bozo said “Just because something is not against the rules doesn’t mean it’s okay to to do it. It’s called being courteous to other members. You don’t rule this board. This is not a Kiracracy. You’re just being selfish and immature.”

I have to admit that she did kind of have a point there and that the “this is not a Kiracracy”line was pretty clever but considering she was always hurling nasty insults including telling me to get a life and a job and calling another member an arrogant bitch, I don’t think she had much room to be lecturing me on courtesy to other members. Not to mention that the moderators often responded to complaints by pointing out that the offending behavior did not violate any rules.

Speaking of moderators, a moderator popped in to say that the moderators had been informed of the current situation and were monitoring it. She also told me she’d noticed the amount of posts I was making ramping up lately and was monitoring that as well.

Reagan said that no one was saying they wanted me banned but I was very annoying.

Lola replied “I want Kira banned. That way she can find whatever she’s looking for somewhere else and won’t come back and do the same thing in a few weeks or a few months. People were calling for her to be banned after the Woodrow Wilson thread and now she’s lost even more ground. The board will be fine without her. This is not the place for her.”

 

Adventures in Password Recovery

*Attempts to log in to e-mail*

Sorry, that password is incorrect. Have you forgotten your password?

*Clicks on ‘forgot password’*

What was your last password?

If I knew that why would I have said I forgot my password?”

On what date did you set up this e-mail?

“I don’t remember.”

Answer the following verification question: Cthlu fgggyey tusyyi

“WTF?”

Provide the phone number associated with this e-mail so we can send you a verification code

“I registered this e-mail under a different phone number than the one I have now.”

Provide an alternate e-mail that we can send a verification code to

*Checks alternate e-mail*

Dear Google User, 

This e-mail address is being used to recover a Google account. If you initiated the recovery process, it is asking you to enter the verification code that appears below.

“Huh? What’s ‘it’? Where am I supposed to enter this verification code?”

*Tries entering verification code in to password field*

Sorry, that password is incorrect. Have you forgotten your password?

*Calls help desk*

Hello, how may I help you?”

“I’ve lost my password and I can’t recover it.”

Please give me your name

*Gives name*

Please give me your school ID number

*Gives ID number*

I’m sorry, that number doesn’t match up with the number we have in our system.

“It’s the number I was given the other day.”

Hmm…

“Is there any other way I can access my e-mail?’

Please give me your birth date

*Gives birth date*

Okay, your password has been reset to ********. Try it and see if it works.

*Enters password, holds breath…lets out sigh of relief*

“It works..thanks for your help.”

*Looks at e-mail, sees link to textbook that needs to be ordered*

*Goes to order textbook*

Please enter your password

*Enters password*

Sorry, that password is incorrect. Have you forgotten your password?

*Head explodes*

 

What is an adult?

Last week on Facebook I saw someone expressing the belief that adults who live with their parents or are financially dependent on their parents are not real adults because real adults never ask their parents for money or housing. I hear that sentiment or some variation of it expressed fairly frequently and it stings every time

This time it was expressed by the parent of a child with Nonverbal Learning Disorder (or maybe she’s the parent of an “adult” with NLD-“adult” was the term she used to refer to individuals over the age of 18 who live with or are financially dependent on their parents.)  I said I was glad my own mother didn’t say those kinds of things about me because it was hurtful enough to hear it from a stranger and I could only imagine what it must be like to hear it from your parents.

It was only after I made that statement that I realized it wasn’t true. I know what it’s like to hear that from your parent because for years I lived with a parent who said those kinds of things and worse to me on a daily basis. I can’t tell you how great it is to no longer live with my stepfather and to no longer be constantly subjected to his toxicity. I recently heard second hand that he called me a dirt bag and I just laughed.

If by virtue of living with my mother and not having a job I’m not an adult then what am I? According to my stepfather I’m a child and a parasite. He’s free to think of me in those terms and so is anyone else but I prefer to think of myself as an adult who happens to live with her mother and not have a job.

Shortly after I saw that comment on Facebook I saw a meme asking people not to treat women who don’t have children as though they are children because having a child is not what makes one an adult.

I don’t often feel as though people look down on me for not having kids but that’s because not having kids is the least of my not-adultness.  It’s nice to know that if I ever do live independently and achieve financial independence I’ll face another barrier to being seen as a full- fledged adult.

A few months ago I got in a fight with my mother’s friend as the three of us ate breakfast at a diner.  She said that the volunteer work I was doing was okay but it wasn’t enough because it didn’t add up to eight hours a day. According to her being an adult means working eight hours a day and that your time is never your own.  According to her I don’t want to to become a real adult because I want to have my time to myself. Guilty as charged I guess. Never having your time be your own sounds pretty fucking awful to me.

I get where all those critical people are coming from though. I’ve often thought that I’m not a real adult and that thought has often filled me with sadness and shame.  I’ve often thought that there’s really nothing that separates me from a child aside from my age. I now realize that’s not true. Most children don’t think, write or express themselves like I do. Besides, although ‘childish’ is used as a negative term, I think children get a lot of things right that adults get wrong.

Regardless of what anyone thinks of my life choices or circumstances, legally I am an adult. I am currently unable or unwilling to do a lot of the things I’m legally entitled to do like driving, getting a job or getting a tattoo but there are other things I do take advantage of, like my right to vote.  There has been a push in some places to deprive the developmentally disabled of their right to vote. While I don’t have the kind of developmental disability that would disqualify me from voting, I do not approve of that motion. I also don’t approve of treating developmentally disabled adults as though they’re children in adults’ bodies, even if they are under a legal guardianship. I believe voting is an inalienable right for any U.S.citizen over the age of 18 and perhaps being considered an adult is also an inalienable right for anyone over 18.

I know that the right to be treated with dignity is certainly an inalienable one, that it is not dependent on anything a person does or doesn’t  do. I know that telling an adult that they’re not really an adult as a means of depriving them of dignity is wrong.

Adulthood means different things for different people. Just like marriage isn’t always a sexual monogamous relationship between one man and one woman, adulthood isn’t always getting married, having sex, having children or having a job. Adulthood cannot be mapped out in a neat little chart of developmental milestones that must be met by certain ages or else something is wrong. Adulthood doesn’t have to be a a black and white, all or nothing concept.

Some say adults should never depend on others for money or shelter. I say there’s another, more important thing adults should never depend on others for: their sense of self-worth.

 

 

When Online is Out of Line : “Evidence”

The attempt to out Marcia for her lies went about as well as I expected it to go-meaning it went terribly. Although most of the board made it quite clear that they were curious about who the faker was and what the evidence that proved her lies was, they also took the opportunity to call Bernadette a troll, a shit stirrer and an attention whore for bringing it up.

Some said they didn’t care if anyone lied about their name or relatives, that people are entitled to privacy and that no one should be forced to reveal every single detail of their lives.

On that board there was no reason anyone would need to make up a fake name or a fake sibling for themselves in order to maintain privacy.  There were plenty of people who just never gave out their names and were referred to by their screen names.  There were plenty of people who never mentioned their siblings or who were only children.

If anyone wants to maintain that those kinds of lies don’t matter and that digging up information on someone like that is creepy or unethical that’s a perfectly valid viewpoint but practice what you preach and don’t throw stones from glass houses.

A moderator sent Bernadette a message chiding her for starting a shit stirring thread and asked to see the evidence she’d gathered. Bernadette forwarded the evidence and pointed out that the board rules said if you suspected someone of faking you could start a thread about it.

The mod replied that if you were going to start a thread accusing someone of faking you needed to name them directly, rather than drop hints and ask questions. Yeah, there’s no way calling Marcia out directly right off the bat would have gone over well either. She would have been criticized for making premature accusations and revealing personal details and would have been told that if she was going to start a thread she should have been more vague about it.

The next day a mod sent a follow up reply saying they’d decided the evidence was weak and did not prove any faking. They pointed out that if she’d just sent the evidence to them they could have told her that and that would have been the end of it but since instead she decided to start a shit stirring thread,  she would be suspended from the board for six months.

“I’m sorry I encouraged you to do this” I said to Bernadette after she showed me the message.

“It’s okay. We talked about the potential consequences. We knew this and worse could happen.”

“I feel like I should have known it would turn out like this.”

“This is disappointing but not surprising. I couldn’t have continued to post on the board and not said anything.”

“So, I guess you can come back in October.”

“I don’t think I will come back. This has left a bad taste in my mouth for the board.”

“I’ll miss you.”

“We can still talk off the board.”

In the thread a moderator posted a message similar to the one she had sent to Bernadette. She wrote that the mods had reviewed Bernadette’s “evidence” and hadn’t found any of it to be compelling. We had to laugh at their use of the term “evidence” because that was the term we used for the proof they supposedly had of Bernadette sending me screenshots. We knew the “evidence” of Marcia’s lies had to be more compelling than that “evidence.” Yet we also knew that whether or not moderators found evidence compelling depended at least partially on how they personally felt about the accuser vs. the accused and the popularity levels that the accusers vs. the accused enjoyed on the board.

The discussion in the thread soon moved on to jokes about faking, expressions of glee that Bernadette was gone and mocking her for things such as her love of The Backstreet Boys and Bernie Sanders.

At one point someone called Garamond said that they’d noticed that when I’d been suspended for two weeks Bernadette had stopped posting for two weeks and they wondered if that was meant as a gesture of solidarity. Garamond stated that if that was the case it showed a surprising level of emotional investment. In the past I’d been told I had an unhealthy level of emotional investment in the board for not wanting to take a break from it for a few weeks. Once certain people on that forum decided they didn’t like you, you were damned if you did and damned if you didn’t.

A board member called Sparky replied to Garamond by saying that she also had noticed that Bernadette had done that and that it would be interesting to see if I also disappeared for six months. Clearly these people felt entitled to talk about me as if I wasn’t there when I was there and clearly that was part of their (perhaps subconscious) plan to continue to make me feel alienated.

Perhaps I should have taken the opportunity then and there to disappear for 6 months (and then another 6 months after that, and another 6 months after that).  It may have spared me some of the humiliation and heartache I endured about 3 months later.

 

Good news

The disappointment I expressed two blog entries ago has lessened somewhat because thanks to a very pro-active psychologist of mine, I will be taking college classes this semester after all. I’m signed up for Senior Seminar in Psychology and Child Life. I’m excited about Child Life because it’s a special topic I’m really interested in that’s only offered as a class every once in a while and it was closed.

I know y’all won’t like this blog as much as the one I posted yesterday about me doing something really stupid (that got me my most likes ever) but I hope you’re happy for me. Now let’s just hope I can handle this.

That’s what happens when you don’t pay attention

Tonight I was sitting at the burger place waiting for my order.  Soon enough a burger was placed in front of me on a plate.  I reflexively bit in to it. It tasted good and all was well. Then, after I’d taken several bites, I remembered that I’d ordered takeout.

Kind of like that time I bumped in to a woman at the bookstore and instead of saying sorry I blurted out ‘thank you’.

Disappointment

That’s what I’m feeling right now. A few weeks ago I was excited because it looked like I might be able to go back to college this semester and that I might be able to have a career as a writer or editor. Now it looks like none of those things are going to happen.

Classes have already started. Although I’ve put forth a bunch of e-mails and phone calls and gotten some encouraging responses, it seems my application will be not be processed in time for me to enroll in classes this semester.

I am enrolled in an online grammar class for an editing certificate program but I’m not doing very well in it.  I thought I was good at grammar and the class would be easy for me but that’s not the case. I’ve failed a few open-book tests. So much for being an editor…

A lot of people tell me I’m a good writer but that doesn’t mean I’m going to get paid to write. I was excited when I got accepted as a BlogMutt writer but I’ve had only minimal success on that platform. Most of the blogs I’ve written have been ignored or rejected.  The reason for rejection is usually “Went with another blog.”

The problem is that while I’ve always had the ability to write well, I’ve never had the ability to write quickly.  On Blogmutt (and in some other writing fields) it seems you have to write quickly in order to be successful. There are a lot of people competing for the client topics and you can’t reserve a topic for yourself. There have been so many times that I’ve started researching/writing about a topic only to have it taken by someone else before I finish or submit. It’s frustrating to do all that work and not have it pay off.

I’ve finished this blog quickly but in terms of writing quality it’s rather disappointing.

Oh, for fuck’s sake

It’s time for another public service announcement. Apparently when I said in the last announcement that if you comment anonymously I’ll know who you are through your IP, some people decided they could avoid detection through masking their IP (no one from Romania is that fluent in English.) Guess what? I still know who you are because your insulting, condescending, pretentious writing style is a dead give away.

Nasty anonymous comments get major side eye from me and show what a coward you are. If you’re making them repeatedly when you don’t have a WordPress blog of your own, I know that you know me outside of WordPress.

Accusing me of being a liar and a stalker when you’re a liar and a stalker yourself is ridiculous.

I share my own perspective on my own life experiences. My perspective on a situation might be different than your perspective, even if it’s a situation we both lived through.  When I’m the one telling the story I tend to make myself a somewhat sympathetic character.  That does not make me a liar. It makes me a blogger.

At the same time, I’m not afraid to paint myself in an uflattering light. I make no claims that I’m an angel or that my behavior is always (or ever) perfect.

Have a nice day, everyone and please stop trolling me. I’m not going to read your comments and say “By gosh, you’re right!” I’m just going to think you’re a fucking moron.

When Online is out of Line: Worth the Risk

Even though the rules of the board clearly stated that if you suspected someone of lying on the board you were free to call them out on it, we knew that it would be risky for Bernadette to do so regarding Marcia. Even though those who did online detective work to expose the lies of other members were usually hailed as clever heroes and those who were exposed were usually condemned as lying fools, we knew that in this case there was a good chance Bernadette would be condemned as a creepy stalker and Marcia would be seen as a victim.

Like me, Bernadette was a board target/outcast. Like me she was kind of weird and socially awkward. Like me she had a tendency to say and do things that were perceived by others as annoying, rude or offensive. Like me, she was often accused of  lying, trolling and shit stirring. I’d actually chided her for comments that I found rude or offensive myself and at one point I did believe she was a liar and a troll but once I started talking to her one on one I’d realized that wasn’t the case.

Then of course Marcia enjoyed a position of power, privilege and immunity on that board so any transgressions of hers were likely to be dismissed.

Bernadette decided to contact the site administrator Lorna about the evidence of Marcia’s lying rather than the Ninjas because her interactions with the Ninjas had been less than positive and they seemed rather biased.

Despite the fact that Lorna was the site administrator she actually wasn’t very involved with the forum. She didn’t post there very often, she often failed to address issues with the forum and she’d talked about selling the board to someone else. As frustrating as her lack of involvement with the forum she ran could be, it also meant she was less likely to be biased.

When Bernadette sent the evidence of Marcia’s lies to Lorna, Lorna replied that the evidence was impressive. She said she would talk to Marcia about her lies and get back to Bernadette with what she decided to do about it. Months passed and Lorna never got back to her. Marcia continued to lie and evidence of additional lies was discovered.

Was it creepy of us to dig up that evidence on Marcia like that and attempt to expose her lies like that? Perhaps. Do I feel particularly bad about it? No. Not after the way she treated me and the way she accused me of lying. Not when people on that board dug up information on Bernadette from the internet and presented it to the board, trying to catch her in a lie. Not when people from the board were Googling me, trying to catch me in a lie (more about that in later blogs)

It was ultimately a waste of our time and energy to get so wrapped up in exposing Marcia’s lies but being so wrapped up in the board in general was a waste of our time and energy. In all honesty I Google information about people I know or want to know more about all the time but I prefer to think of myself  as an unpaid private detective rather than a creep. I tend to assume most of the people who are horrified by that kind of thing are hypocrites because they do it too.

Anyway, we grew impatient and frustrated. Bernadette considered “outing” Marcia on the board but we couldn’t think of a good way to do it and we weren’t sure if it should be done.

“You keep going back and forth about this, Kira”  Bernadette said.

“Well, I’m conflicted. I want Marcia to get in trouble but I don’t want you to get in trouble”

“I feel the same way.”

Eventually Bernadette decided she was going to go ahead and do it. She didn’t want to contact the ninjas about it so she decided she would start a thread about it. Naming Marcia as the faker and revealing the evidence right off the bat didn’t seem like a great idea so she decided she would say there was evidence that a member was lying about things such as her name and the existence of certain family members and ask if people were interested in learning more. That didn’t seem like a great idea either but it was the best we could come up with.

“Is potentially getting in trouble over someone you hate really worth it?” I asked Bernadette

“Actually, Kira, I hate her considerably less than you do. I’m doing it in the interest of fairness”

“You know you’re going to get accused of trolling”

“I’ll say “Yep, I’m trolling for a good cause.”

“You might get banned.”

“That’s okay. It’s just a silly website I spend too much time on. I survived for years before I joined it and I’ll survive afterwards”.

“Just make sure you’ve thought through all the consequences.”

“I have. It’s definitely worth the risk.”

“Good luck.”