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My Abandonment Issues, let me show you them - Diary of a Necromancer
Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense, you're just not keeping up
My Abandonment Issues, let me show you them
George's battery cycled unexpectedly last night (you were TURNED OFF, dammit, where did 80% of a charge go?), and then just now he lost LJ's login cookie. I got a new computer to reduce my technostress about the possibility of being cast into the Outer Darkness offline without a paddle, man... {sigh}

I realize I whinge about this sort of thing a lot, yes. First World Problems. But... yeah, the prosthetic social life that the internet makes possible for me is basically the only thing that keeps me even as functional as I am, which is to say not very even so, and the prospect of being cut off from it sends me into a tizzy of "you will be left to die and then the wolves will come", which I'm pretty sure is the label on one of those big red buttons somewhere down in the brainweasel pit.

"You will be left to die and then the wolves will come" is, after all, a reasonably accurate description of large swathes of my childhood; at the risk of total TMI, what they generally did with the ADHD kids back in the Seventies when a "normal" classroom couldn't cope with them was to pack them off to Special Ed with the fetal-alcohol-syndrome kids and cross their fingers that nobody would end up dead enough to have to report it by the end of the day. It's not a stretch to say that the chance a charter-school headmaster took on taking me on for eighth grade was the first school year I had that remotely resembled a real education; if you know me well enough to have seen the way I go blank at the prospect of simple math like bills and tips, well, that was one of the subjects that got skipped over. That there's as much left of me as there is is down to having a Mum who recognized that the one thing that was within her power to affect RE the running battle with the military-industrial complex Chicago school system was to encourage me to pursue my own interests; I was reading at three and allegedly freaked out babysitters who'd turn up with Little Golden Books by ignoring them in favor of the Trib.

I never bit my shrinks, but I never cooperated with them either, because it was never about making me better, it was about making me not a problem to the system. Which sounds like an impossibly cynical judgement for a child, maybe, but I remember being well enough aware that something was being imposed on me as a result of something that I wasn't actually responsible for, and even a child can read that as being punished for something they didn't do. I'm not at all surprised that Amy Pond is nuts: twelve years of being told at every turn that her experience of reality wasn't valid would drive anyone genuinely insane by the end of it.

...I was going somewhere with that analogy and then a mental ice cream truck went by. Well, anyway. Been meaning to tell this story all these years, and still don't exactly have a handle on it, as you can see; it's not so much a fear of rejection from the Upstanding Citizenry for the flashing neon "peck the different one to death" sign, even, as just the lingering suspicion that it's simply so incomprehensible to someone who's had a more "usual" experience of life that no one will be able to connect with it enough to engage. As abuse-narratives go, it's a weird one: how do you explain that the root of the problem is less active malice than a pattern of unmindfulness? Not out-and-out "the baby is wallowing in filth" neglect, just... that constant sense of, "Oh, you're still here?"

Tags: ,
feeling: anxious anxious

12 responses | moved to respond?
valdary From: valdary Date: August 4th, 2010 07:06 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
My friend's niece was diagnosed as deaf at 3. Her hearing was fine, she just refused to speak to or acknowledge existence of anyone except her grandmother and brother. She recovered with help from extended family after being removed from her mother. Professionals were never much help.
polyfrog From: polyfrog Date: August 4th, 2010 11:42 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
I think the cookie thing may have been LJ. I also had to re-login this morning.
robling_t From: robling_t Date: August 4th, 2010 11:47 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
green_knight From: green_knight Date: August 4th, 2010 01:05 pm (UTC) (permalink this entry)
I'm sorry to hear you had such a lousy time at the hands of the education system.

And I truly understand the Internet as a safety net - there's always someone there to talk to, wherever I am, whatever time of day it is.
robling_t From: robling_t Date: August 5th, 2010 08:13 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
I would sue that place for malpractice if I could, man, what I went through should not have happened to a dog...
green_knight From: green_knight Date: August 6th, 2010 07:55 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
I understand the satisfaction of sueing, but it would take a lot of spoons. If you're ready to talk about this, and if you want your experience to help others, have a chat with joycemocha - she's a special education professional who might have suggestions. (Also a good friend, SF writer/fan and allround good egg).

The last, I realise, is a terribly British thing to say.
kate_schaefer From: kate_schaefer Date: August 4th, 2010 03:11 pm (UTC) (permalink this entry)
This post makes me feel like saying I'm so sorry for your loss/I'm glad you're writing fiction. You're the only one who can tell your story. You'll tell it refracted through whatever metaphors you choose, and someone else will think, this isn't my story, but it's close enough that I can see some future, some understanding, a way that something can be different, a way that something can be survived.

What a cheerleader I always sound like when I talk about fiction. Well, someone has to say the things that look so obvious to me, and sometimes that's me.
robling_t From: robling_t Date: August 5th, 2010 08:23 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
I can step back now and see the bits of Tin Man that are bubbling up straight from my own experience, yeah... The trouble for me as a writer of fiction is being left wondering where a piece's failures are a lack of craft, and where it's a failure of the material to connect; I always worry that my experience of the world has been so alien that I'm screwing up cues on the level of the common human baseline that an "average" reader would be assuming. (Which should be an asset in genre fiction, if you're setting up a genuinely different culture, but it still has to keep in mind that today's and tomorrow's people on this planet are its readership...)
whitecrow0 From: whitecrow0 Date: August 5th, 2010 12:57 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
I realize I whinge about this sort of thing a lot, yes. First World Problems. But... yeah, the prosthetic social life that the internet makes possible for me is basically the only thing that keeps me even as functional as I am
robling_t From: robling_t Date: August 5th, 2010 08:24 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
I suspect most of us are here for exactly that reason... {sigh}
otrame From: otrame Date: August 5th, 2010 04:06 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
I always assumed that all the normal kids didn't have problems. They never seemed to. Now I know it was just that they were better at hiding them.

And you are right about the "Special Ed". When I went to accommodation meetings for my kids the only real purpose was to get me to sign a bunch of papers so they could claim they were within Title 9. Like fuck they were. One or two teachers recognized my kid's real problem and honestly tried to help: ADD kids can. not. tolerate. boredom. (as an adult I barely can) and since most of them are extremely smart, this is a problem. Both my boys are in the 145-150 IQ range--and both of them know that what ever those tests actually test don't really help them deal with standard American schools.

Why, you ask, were my nearly genius kids in special ed? Same reason you were--they didn't know how to handle anyone that wasn't a little drone. My eldest read Dune when he was 9. A lot went over his head but he got the general idea. When he flunked out of 8th grade they were going to put him in 9th anyway but into remedial reading. I told one "You are his English teacher and you don't know he reads at an adult level? What the hell kind of teacher are you. He probably reads better than you do."

Thank Chthulhu that we had enough money to get him into a private school for high school.

Point is, hon, you may have felt alone, but you weren't. There are a lot of us out there that never fit in anywhere. I was lucky and got into a profession that entices weirdos and geeks (archaeology) and now I have made many friends here in teh intertubes. But I was in agony all through school until I got into college when I was in my 30s.
robling_t From: robling_t Date: August 5th, 2010 08:39 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
The trouble is that the normal kids for the most part have the solidarity of having similar problems, where the freaks are all freakish in their own ways -- and it's often used to divide them against themselves, that whole "look, you're the only one at this school with that problem, therefore you suck we don't have to worry about making you more comfortable, only ourselves less uncomfortable by having you acting like this." (I ended up having to repeat freshman year of HS because the immune system of the first school closed ranks and pushed me out -- at least at a Catholic single-sex school nobody is cool.) I was a lot better off once I got to a small liberal-arts college where nobody was normal -- I wish I'd been able to finish (I was going to sit out a year to catch my breath from the general academic burnout, 'cos we were short of money anyway, and then... well.). Not that the degree would have been much use, but I could see myself having been more content as a career academic of some sort...
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