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November 23rd, 2003


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05:39 am - Maybe I've realised something
<Update:> In a slightly better mood now. Sometimes a lot of sleep, some good food and an inspiring thought or two help a lot. </Update>

Rather a sleepless, unhappy night tonight, but one likely to be good for me if I can learn from it.

I can think of three people on LJ who have effectively kicked my ass (semi-)recently. I don't think any of them intended any meanness, they have all been extremely polite about it, I can see all three points and, on one level, do thank them for applying the boot. They have made me see that I am rather afraid of doing anything effective to change my situation because I am scared of the negative feedback that might arise as a result, in many different forms.

This ass-kicking is difficult to come to terms with and is resulting in said sleepless night, but I suspect it is good for me. The key is whether I will take the lessons from said ass-kickings and do anything about it in the morning or rather ineffectively just spend lots of sleepless, rough nights worrying about it, which would not help me or anyone else. One weird post to help me get to sleep is more or less OK, but it's not a good habit to get into, and I already had my self-described self-indulgent post for the (time period) not so long ago.

I suspect it is rather less LJ-angsty-whingy-drama to leave comments allowed than disallowed, and I don't want to paint the three ass-kickers I have in mind as being at all bad in their ass-kicking, despite my choice of language by which ass-kicking is generally regarded as a bad thing. (For the record, I can think of one ass I have kicked myself in a similar way.)

I'm rather feeling like it wouldn't do me good to see indulgent "hugs, hope you're OK, that's the spirit" and so on, no matter how kind the intentions, and that it would probably do me more good to get a bit more, well, ass-kicking. After all, making this post might represent a realisation, but it doesn't represent a material change for the better yet. Kickers, keep kicking, if I can prove I'm still worth your attention.

What a weird post. In another matter, happy birthday for yesterday to whipartist.

(24 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


From:songmonk
Date:November 22nd, 2003 10:32 pm (UTC)
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Oy.

I know I wasn't one of the ass-kickers, but I see so much of myself in you that I think I deserve some ass-kicking, as unpleasant as it is.

As it is, I know I would resist the proper response to said ass-kicking and would remain entrenched in my unproductive ways.

Hope you're okay -- that's the spririt! :-)

Cynically yours,
SongMonk
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From:mark356
Date:November 22nd, 2003 10:40 pm (UTC)

???

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I hope I haven't hurt you!
From:themightyuser
Date:November 23rd, 2003 12:04 am (UTC)
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Thanks, Chris. Your excessive use of the term "ass-kicking" made me laugh. That doesn't happen often. =)
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From:hermorrine
Date:November 23rd, 2003 12:49 am (UTC)
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Since you're asking for it, yes, you need your ass kicked on a number of issues and I for one would really really like to see you work on them. Sometimes I think you believe you are not worth enough to have a better life, and that's why you don't try. I can't change your mind if that is the case, but I do believe that until you try, you won't feel any greater self-worth.

I'm not sure what negative feedback you're referring to, or from whom you might receive it, but frankly, who gives a flying fuck what anyone else thinks?! If you need to do something to make your life better then DO IT. It's your life and no one else's.

I have no idea if I was one of the 3 ass-kickers, but I sincerely hope you don't mind me joining the ranks if I was not. I kick because I care.
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From:bateleur
Date:November 23rd, 2003 05:36 am (UTC)

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I kick because I care.

That would make a cool t-shirt slogan !
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:November 23rd, 2003 08:01 am (UTC)

1/2

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> I am scared of the negative feedback that might arise as a result, in many different forms.

I'm not sure what negative feedback you're referring to, or from whom you might receive it

It's a general principle and applies in a lot of different cases.

Let's start wih one of the big ones. I'm often scared of people I don't know and what they might say and do to me, even though I believe the majority of people are fundamentally perfectly pleasant to people they don't know. I have rationalised this into "I'm not a people person", saying which has lost me at least one job and put me off from applying for many others.

I am often scared of hearing from the people I like and respect and what they might say to me, that they might disapprove of what I do and might say things which I am not keen to hear. Again, this applies on a lot of levels in slightly different ways: my relationship with my parents, my relationship with the people I work for (and don't do as much work for as I should), my relationship with You Lot and my relationship with people I know in real life. Particularly with the second and occasionally with the third, I'm often tempted not to communicate, to try to stonewall my way out of things - there have been a few "I'll let the voicemail deal with this potentially difficult conversation" incidents over the years.

There has already been a fair bit of lying in bed, thinking about what people might be saying to me on LJ, and thinking about how to reply and what the consequences of this reply might be, which I recognise to be self-destructive.

Extending this further in one direction, I am definitely scared to go and see someone who might be able to help because of the things (I rightly or wrongly perceive) they might recommend and say and do - or, even if they don't say or do them in the first instance, which might be said or done or recommended somewhere along the line - which I recognise to be extremely self-destructive.

I am scared of the people who have kicked my ass so far and how they might really kick my ass if they wanted to, coming up with some very nasty scenarios last night, which led to bad dreams. While I believe them to be fundamentally nice people, I don't know how much they will kick my ass in the future, and I don't know how much I really want them to, despite saying how much I want them to. I also fear that going through this process may make other people who really ought to kick my ass reluctant to do so in the future.

I am scared of both driving and learning to drive and that part (though definitely not all) of my interest in public transport may come out of this fear. Heck, even part of my interest in LiveJournal comes from the fact that it's easier and lower-risk to LiveJournal about something than it is to get out there and do it.

I am very scared about having to take responsibility for myself and life without my parents in lots of different ways. I may be able to more or less cope with things in practice and realise that everyone finds the drudgeries of life boring, but I don't want to have to cope with them. I'm scared about the possibilities of having to live on my own or with my peers, even though living next to zorac for a year was a lot of fun and probably went "all right" (though I don't know whether he had lots of problems with me that he never told me about at the time and still doesn't want to tell me).

I am scared about my financial situation, which I recognise is my own fault, even though I'm convincing myself that I'm managing to keep my head above water, just about, right now.

I am very, very scared that my little hypocrisies (no, let's be honest: LIES) and ugly truths may become exposed.
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:November 23rd, 2003 08:01 am (UTC)

2/2

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Penultimately, I am scared that people might say "Chris, you might be fundamentally nice and occasionally funny and occasionally kind and occasionally original and occasionally incisive and occasionally interesting, but you've got problems, as well you know, and I've got my own problems, and we've all got problems, and I can't afford to deal with your problems as well as mine, so it's not in my interest to take an interest in you any further".

Now just as I can think of cases where I've thought that up to the last comma of some people and still care about the people very much, with the people's good points outweighing the bad ones, I also recgonise that I can think of cases where I've thought that up to the last comma of other people and consequently I have taken less of an interest in them, even though I haven't deFriended. Despite the fact that I realise I am being terribly angsty, I know people don't like LiveJournal angst - heck, I don't care much for LiveJournal angst. Given that I've done that to other people, I can have no complaints if they do that back to me. (With the attendant consequence that some of the people who read this paragraph will wonder which part applies to them, which leads to unnecessary angst, and... vicious circle.)

Lastly, I am scared that this very self-referential sort of argument is somehow several sorts of emotional blackmail, especially on these mysterious three people who I'm not naming (OK, we can sort that bit out: liuxia, the most usual mrstrellis and this Peter - ironic, huh?) which I recognise to be a fundamentally bad thing to do, though I also recognise I've started and what's started cannot be undone.

These concerns are almost certainly very common, but that doesn't make them easier to deal with. The nagging feeling that most people will have gone through this at half or three-quarters my age and got over it by now doesn't help, as does the feeling that most people have had the decency not to do this over a public LiveJournal.

I'm also strongly and uncomfortably reminded of the pivotal speech at the end of Quiz Show. (Fancy that!) "I'm happy that you've made the statement. But I cannot agree with most of my colleagues. See, I don't think an adult of your intellegence should be commended for simply, at long last, telling the truth." No matter how self-aware or finely and fancily expressed the emotions and revelations in this post may be - we're back at LiveJournal as performance art again - it's in no way a good thing that I have them to make. The marks for artistic expression don't count, it's all about the technical merit of getting this sorted out once and for all.

And the fact that I recognise this is exactly the sort of unhelpful thing I referred to last night only makes things worse.
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From:bateleur
Date:November 23rd, 2003 08:20 am (UTC)

Re: 2/2

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A quick comment on 'LJ-angst' entries...

I don't think all such posts are created equal. It's not good IMO if someone's continually posting uninteresting whiny drivel (nobody on my friends list does this, but I know of several others). However, I think there's a lot to be said for a reasonably honest, thoughtful post having an angsty tone to it if that's the way the author's feeling at that point.

A couple of other posters have commented along the lines of "less talk, more action". In fact, I think talk can be an entirely constructive precursor to effective action. If I write in my LJ "I will do X" or "I will not do Y" it somehow makes my resolution more concrete and improves the chances I will follow through. Maybe it works the same for you ?
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:November 23rd, 2003 08:24 am (UTC)

Re: 2/2

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Thank you. A reassuring post, but I'm still in a confused state where I'm not sure reassurement is necessarily good.

I definitely agree, but can't remember being particularly great at posting "I will" or "I will not" entries. Possibly time to start, though.
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From:malachan
Date:November 23rd, 2003 03:34 pm (UTC)

Re: 2/2

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A couple of other posters have commented along the lines of "less talk, more action". In fact, I think talk can be an entirely constructive precursor to effective action. If I write in my LJ "I will do X" or "I will not do Y" it somehow makes my resolution more concrete and improves the chances I will follow through. Maybe it works the same for you?

I'd add to this: more talk good, more action *from* more talk better. Specifically, Chris, you've mentioned seeing a professional about various things that bother you. I think this would be a good idea. As much as you can get x number of intelligent, helpful, well-meaning LJ friends giving you x varying opinions and suggestions, having advice from just one person who really knows what they're talking about and to whom you can hopefully open up more than you feel you can on LJ should yield good dividends.
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:November 23rd, 2003 08:29 am (UTC)

Re: 2/2

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Sidenote: beating yourself up is not the same thing as kicking your own ass. Ass-kicking hurts. Beating yourself up is getting dangerously close to self-indulgence - at least, if you don't do things about it. Things plural: a token effort for the sake of not doing nothing at all won't really cut it.
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From:hermorrine
Date:November 24th, 2003 10:14 pm (UTC)

Re: 1/2

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I'm going to break this down as much as possible - you are free to disagree with me, of course.

I'm often scared of people I don't know and what they might say and do to me...

*shrugs* Me too. People suck.

"I'm not a people person", saying which has lost me at least one job and put me off from applying for many others

Yeah, that needs to stop. You're SHY, Chris. So are tons of people in this world. Actually, it wouldn't surprise me if you have social anxiety disorder, which is VERY EASILY treated, so please get off your arse and go see someone, would you?

I am often scared of hearing from the people I like and respect and what they might say to me, that they might disapprove of what I do and might say things which I am not keen to hear.

Again, me too. How do I deal with it? That's just it - I DO deal with it, I don't have time to worry about it more than the occasional feeling of "Oh crap I've screwed up and the boss is upset with me," "Mom or Dad is mad at me," "X Friend is pissed at me." It's called life - if you think things will never be bad or ugly, you're living in a dreamworld.

Extending this further in one direction, I am definitely scared to go and see someone who might be able to help because of the things (I rightly or wrongly perceive) they might recommend and say and do - or, even if they don't say or do them in the first instance, which might be said or done or recommended somewhere along the line - which I recognise to be extremely self-destructive.

If you actually WANT your life to change, and you want to not turn into someone that people get annoyed with because you're like the boy who cried wolf - always angsting on your LJ but doing NOTHING to change your circumstances - then you need to get rid of all the preconceptions you have and JUST DO IT. I'm not saying it's necessarily easy - I've been in therapy a number of times over the years and it took me a LONG time, as in years, to get used to the fact that there is something chemically wrong in my brain and I therefore must take a pill to fix it. Granted, I started meds more than 10 years ago now, so at least you have the advantage of being older and hopefully wiser. Now prove it - take care of yourself. If your arm was broken, you wouldn't hesitate, would you? You need to use the same philosophy here.

I also fear that going through this process may make other people who really ought to kick my ass reluctant to do so in the future.

That's a realistic fear, as I've explained above. However, if it is obvious that you are working on things, I doubt that will happen.

I am scared of both driving and learning to drive

Dude. Driving is FUN. Do you think I would drive 2 hours each way to work if it was awful? It's really not hard at all - get professional lessons (i.e. don't let your parents teach you) and you'll find a whole new transport obsession, just you wait.

TBC
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From:hermorrine
Date:November 24th, 2003 10:15 pm (UTC)

Re: 1/2

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I am very scared about having to take responsibility for myself and life without my parents in lots of different ways.

There is no way I can say this without it sounding harsh and blunt, so I apologize. You MUST start on this, Chris. You have no choice. By whatever chance, your parents had you later in their lives, and who can say how much longer they have? My parents are younger than yours comparatively, but I still worry about them. I can see them aging now, and yes, it's scary. I really hope I have many more years with them, and I hope the same for you. But you don't know, and as I'm certain you could figure, the odds aren't in your favor. The best thing you can do is get started on getting your life in gear now.

I am scared about my financial situation

Me too, every single damned day. I HATE IT. But I've fucked up more times than I care to remember. It's a major fault of mine, one that I'm hoping to work on in the next few months. It's the main reason I'm allowing my dad to move in, because I really think he may drive me insane. I got myself here and have only myself to blame, but hopefully I can start to dig myself out.

Chris, I hope you don't dislike me now that I've been so blunt with you, but I hope you understand that I've said the things I have at your prompting and because I care. Please get yourself some help and get started on the path to your future.
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:November 25th, 2003 08:39 pm (UTC)

Re: 1/2

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Chris, I hope you don't dislike me now that I've been so blunt with you

Not the case. I appreciate the ass-kickings, as discussed, and thank you for spending time, thought and consideration on me. (Of course, now I've said "no" and meant "yes" in a previous thread, my word loses much of its value, but this is a "no" meaning "no".)

I was looking up information about depression two nights or so ago at Depression Alliance. I am not sure whether I have depression or not. From the descriptions I have seen, it looks like "probably not". However, I would be prepared to believe I have dysthymia, though I realise that I cannot effectively diagnose either of these myself and need to get professional assistance here. I also am prepared to believe that I have neither and need help in other ways to change aspects of my behaviour; there were some different types of therapy mentioned on that site. Oh, and while ECT is an extremely unlikely consequence, it is not what I had feared and 75% of people who have undergone it rate it as "no scarier than going to the dentist".

Somehow, this doesn't make it easier in one respect: I can imagine going to a doctor and saying "I think I'm depressed", but it somehow feels stranger to go and say "I'm not sure whether I'm depressed or whether I just need to make some changes to my personality somehow to make myself happy" or something else. I'm also somehow not quite sure what sort of therapist I'm looking for, despite being vaguely aware now of what sorts of therapists exist. I'm thinking "use the Yellow Pages, Luke" and I know I know what is involved, but I somehow have a bit of a mental block here.

If LJ has taught me anything, it has shown me the experiences of several depressed people, and that some who have struggled with some medication or some therapist at first have found one later which was far more effective for them, and that people really do find solutions which help them get second (or third, or...) time lucky. And spending money on such therapy is likely to be more useful in the long run than, say, spending money on a holiday, even if I can hopefully get a decent break away up to Edinburgh for the New Year with lots of people who I know and like for about a hundred pounds. (Actually, that's not looking like such a done comparison after all.)

And I can think of little steps that will logically make things better in the long term:
* really do do the exercises in What Color Is Your Parachute? and follow up on them and make enquiries at the library and/or careers service about trying to get the other books that xnera has mentioned. I particularly pick up on the fact that 2/3 of jobseekers spend less than 5 hours per week on their search when jobseeking needs to be a 35 hours-per-week job, to which I haven't even come close even when doing well.
* I strongly suspect that I probably ought to try only going to games club once a week instead of twice a week and going to some sort of dancing class instead, because dancing is far more likely to let me meet lots more new people - particularly female ones - than the games club ever is and I've largely enjoyed the dancing classes I've been to in the past (mostly enjoyed one, enjoyed large parts of another).
* On the "meeting new people" front, there are a whole load of societies at the university, none of which I have joined. I always (mostly) enjoyed the societies I joined at university and have very much enjoyed the one I have joined now, so there's no reason why I shouldn't join more.
* A few days of getting up at sensible times and being strong about not going back to bed during the day would almost certainly do me lots of good in terms of (a) being able to do things at productive hours, (b) seeing natural light and (c) not lying awake at night being unable to sleep.
* There definitely is some sort of counselling service at the university (I am aware of existence, though not of details) who seem to be keen to be used as a first port of call, who will not cost me money in the first instance and who will at least be able to tell me where I can go next.

But knowing what to do is one thing and doing it is another, as you say and as lots of other people have said.
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:December 6th, 2003 05:34 pm (UTC)

Re: 2/2

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OK, to get this all in one place, for future reference:

I am offended by arbitrary physical punishment for other people's entertainment. Fair physical contests are not offensive. Professional wrestling shows are not punishment. Sado-masochistic sex is not punishment, though it may incorporate elements of punishment. Torture is not punishment, though it is offensive in other fashions. Peer pressure and unwritten social contracts make the physical punishment much more offensive. More arbitrary punishments are more offensive.

I am scared of one particular sort of arbitrary physical punishment.
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From:tropes
Date:November 23rd, 2003 07:07 am (UTC)
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*kicks your ass*

*does not know why, but does it thoroughly*

:D
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From:fangexploring
Date:November 23rd, 2003 07:35 am (UTC)
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They have made me see that I am rather afraid of doing anything effective to change my situation because I am scared of the negative feedback that might arise as a result, in many different forms.

*reads back, particularly 3rd paragraph* I was going to say I am very similar, but after reading back, I suspect that you already went through and know of what I am going to say, but here it is anyway.
People like us need to stop thinking so much about it and actually go and do it. Be prepared and not be put off when a setback happen, look at what's going wrong, and decide then do something to rectify/improve bit by bit, and repeat.

I apologize if this is not the case for you (I really don't know you as a person well), but it seems that you are asking for honest opinion, so I try to help.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Chris. You made me think and realize some things I didn't know of myself.

Ken
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From:xnera
Date:November 23rd, 2003 08:01 am (UTC)
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One weird post to help me get to sleep is more or less OK, but it's not a good habit to get into, and I already had my self-described self-indulgent post for the (time period) not so long ago.


And how many weird self-indulgent posts have I made? Many, many, many. Did they help me? You betcha. Seriously, I see nothing wrong with self-indulgent posts. Maybe it's because it's in my personality to constantly want to better myself, so I like seeing others struggle with bettering themselves as well. Or maybe it's because I'm a storyteller, and stories are all about change, and change happens in these hard, whiny, self-indulgent moments.

The key is whether I will take the lessons from said ass-kickings and do anything about it in the morning

Yes. This. Sometimes we need some ass-kicking to move us forward. I've been in the process of having my ass kicked the past couple weeks, first with the probation, and then with the chat on Friday. Both times I've learned something about myself. So I'm very grateful I've had my ass kicked.
From:mrstrellis
Date:November 23rd, 2003 10:12 am (UTC)
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Wahey, I kick arse - official.

I'm not an intellectual or a therapist so I can't comment further on the argument side, but these are some friendly practical tips and food for thought on other issues you raise:

>I'm often scared of people I don't know

You what, at one time you knew noone. And yet you're friends with many people now, either virtually or IRL. You'd be surprised how likeable some people are if you bother to get to know them. (Remember when we were coming back from London one time and waiting at Clapham Junction for a train next to a stunning, frosty-looking woman who subsequently turned out to be a stripper!!). It's not easy but it gets easier over time. Practical tip: start a conversation by offering a compliment (or three). Works every time for me.

>"I'll let the voicemail deal with this potentially difficult conversation"

Ah, know that one well! I think there are basically two strategies here - if you think something really is your fault (e.g. you let someone down in some way), just say sorry and get on with it. If it wasn't your fault, what's the harm in sticking up for yourself? There's a way of doing this without becoming cocky and unpleasant about it.

>I am scared of the people who have kicked my ass so far and how they might really kick my ass if they wanted to

C'mon, why would we do that? Assault - verbal or physical - is thankfully rare, it's only the thought of such that is widespread.

>I am scared of both driving and learning to drive

I certainly prefer not to drive because of parking and the business of London's streets. However, the trick is to remember that you're an Oxford graduate and very few other people on the streets are. So technically if everyone else can get the hang of it, it can't be that hard. And if there is a crash - and even good drivers have one at some point - that's what insurance is for. I could understand if you didn't fany ploughing through the M62 every day, but the North East has fairly little traffic, and the mobility that a car would give you would help a lot in both work and social affairs.

>I am very scared about having to take responsibility for myself

That will wear off when you get a place of your own. Life seems different when you have to pay for your own food, council tax, leccy bills etc. One dad I know physically threw out his 22-year-old son to make him find a job! Small aside: I do wonder whether it might be good for your independence if, say, your parents didn't expect you to ring home nightly, particularly as you're not away that often from them.

>I'm scared about the possibilities of having to live on my own

The happiest man I know has been divorced three times and became a father at 56. Not all life stories fit the school, job, marriage, kids pattern.

>I am scared about my financial situation

Personally, I would get any job that you are 60% happy with. After that it's up to you to make the job as interesting as you can.


In closing, you have quite a number of areas to catch up with but I would see these as areas of growth, fun and new experiences than things to be afraid of.
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From:malachan
Date:November 24th, 2003 02:44 pm (UTC)
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Completely peripheral to the discussion on Chris' LJ (apologies!):

Whenever I've seen your LJ name I always, always see it as 'Mr Strellis' and not 'Mrs Trellis'.

Hmm, curious.

(Is there a story behind this sockpuppet, btw?)
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:November 24th, 2003 02:52 pm (UTC)
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A story? There's a whole radio show. (A new series is in progress at the moment - hurrah! - though there's always BBC 7 for older repeats.) See morningtoncresc, passim.
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From:acinonyxjubatus
Date:November 23rd, 2003 12:08 pm (UTC)
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Ass-kicking. It's known, in other words, as challenging your assumptions.

You may think that something else would bring you more happiness - are you sure? Are the benefits of inactivity (ie the devil you know) outweighed by seizing the nettle?

Are you sure that what brings you happinesss now will continue to do so? Are you afraid of change because you prefer the comfortably miserable? Are you as good, as intelligent, as capable as you assume? Where do your actual abiulities become separate from your imagined, wished abilities?

Yes, I need to be prodded into action. Thought and analysis about your actual situation is often different from the realities that you attempt to probe. But at the heart of it lies one fundamental question that most people never quite get round to answering (including me) :

Are you truly who you think you are?
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:December 1st, 2003 03:38 pm (UTC)

Boot/butt interface update

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Mailed the guy at Teesside University who I thought would be my Personal Tutor, and so the first point of contact with the ability to refer me to the university's counselling service. No response.

Visited the university today. They do have a drop-in hour where personal tutors can be met. Dropped in. The personal tutor there had no idea who my personal tutor actually is; he wasn't much help, having his own axes to grind with the university and being extremely negatively critical of them. He has given me the e-mail address of the university's counselling service (which I probably should have been able to get elsewhere).

Registered at the university careers service. (Again, probably.) They have a better selection of jobs books than the main library service. One of them is What Color...? 2003, but it wasn't available on the shelves. While you can borrow the books from the separate careers library, oops, this one has been stolen. Would they consider getting the books that xnera suggested? Probably not, really. Try the main university library; try someone at the main university library who isn't there, but whose details I now have.

There's an organised "Motivate Yourself" session at 2pm on Wednesday taking place within the second floor of the Students' Union. Worth a try.

So, all told, not no progress, but not a lot.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:December 1st, 2003 04:20 pm (UTC)

Re: Boot/butt interface update

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He has given me the e-mail address of the university's counselling service (which I probably should have been able to get elsewhere).

...and a counselling appointment has now been requested. Fingers crossed, but this is definitely a small step in the right direction which I haven't taken before.

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