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Sunday, 24 November 2013

Maths and therapy

I deserve some time off to write. Even if I'm exhausted. Because I've been productive and I deserve it. Not nearly productive enough, I've still got quite a bit to do, but I've managed to finish the homework problems for Pf1 and Pf2, I finished my part of the presentation due in on Monday and... well, not much else, really. But, in my defence, I did go to university on Friday and used my time there to work, attend the other group therapy session (social skills) and the maths colloquium. 

I know. I know, I've quite a bit to catch up with. 

The group session wasn't awfully useful, and I (again) had to work extra-hard to try to make it work for the others. Though I'm afraid I sort of stole the spotlight a little bit. Little grasshopper's doing better, though. I attended, though, and that's the important part. They talked about being assertive and however unpleasant his methods to teach it, the therapist made very valid points. 

The other therapy session, the group I'll now be joining every Wednesday? Let's talk about that from the beginning, shall we? First, there was the "interview." Where I proved my therapist right by saying the right things and being offered a seat, and then the woman interviewing me kind of seemed like she was expecting me not to bother making a commitment. I did, though. I showed up. I even read the documents she gave me about how it works, what to say and what not to say, what to do and what not to do. I settled for observing and listening, at least at first. There were times when I wanted to give others advice. I knew I shouldn't so I didn't. I noticed that the better approach when you feel like giving advice is just to show empathy and relate a story of your own that is similar. The anxiety I felt just thinking of talking about EBF and SmTn was too much, though. So I managed not to say much until the guide asked me questions. And she asked some more questions. Next thing I know I'm crying (and trying hard to control myself). Not uncomfortable in the group, mind you. 

(I have an unpleasant hunch about someone there, who I fear is either prone to substance abuse/alcoholism or already a victim of it. Won't say a thing until the hunch is stronger or I get to talk about it with someone else, though. While we're on the subject of "information about those in the group" I will, to the best of my abilities, avoid writing any of it down. Does that mean I respect their privacy more than I do A's/AOB's/EBF's? Probably. I wouldn't think too much about it.) 

I reckon it's a very safe environment and I must confess I felt worse crying at the airport when my sister left. But that's not the point. My therapist is smart and I do try to follow her advice. Going to the group sessions is me trusting her judgement. 

Which is not to say she's all that smart. Or well, her listening/reading comprehension could use some help. She brings up valid points, yes. She is reasonable and rational, yes. She's a psychology nerd and I admire that in her, yes. She probably got very good grades in school and has a natural talent for what she's doing, yes. But she's still quite inexperienced and she could make better use of the information I disclose than misremembering it and then misquoting it back at me. I realise depression lies. What she doesn't quite seem to grasp is that there are different kinds of lies and the smart lies are the hardest ones to fight because you can't quite tell they're lies all the time. More on that later, though. She said she thought we were finally getting at the core of my issues. Which is at least a little funny because we had the discussion we had on the first days all over again. I'm miserable leaving maths behind to live with the As and all for what? Money? To support other people who are not me? At my expense? Am I mental? No, I'm rational. But again, I'll talk about this later because she said I could write her a journal entry of what maths mean to me and I've got something in the works.

On the subject of maths, though, I can briefly tell you about the colloquium. I counted 38 people in the room, only 4 of us women. One of them a professor, one of them me. I must say I was rather disappointed by the appallingly small female student population in the colloquium. A lot of people looked like they had better things to do (though no one was shamelessly asleep, that I could tell), so I wonder if this was a representative sample of what it's like in the rest of the department. I may be wrong, and I'll correct myself later as soon as I have evidence to the contrary, but I didn't see anyone "integrally smart." I didn't see people who looked like they spoke more than two languages (for fun, rather than out of need), I didn't see anyone who looked like they read real literature, I didn't see anyone who looked like they might be into philosophy. I saw cartoons and I was a bit disappointed. Especially because some of these cartoons glanced my way a bit too often. But I'll try to chalk it up to me being the stranger in the room. The talk itself could have been more fun if the person in charge had had more time and aunt LM hadn't texted me halfway through it. I might have been able to understand a bit more. Honest truth is I didn't understand all that much, but it was exciting seeing words I was vaguely familiar with and feeling the excitement and satisfaction I feel when I read Les Misérables en français, or when I can make out parts of a dialogue in German. Other than that, I appreciated the speaker's analogies, examples and simple but to-the-point language.

Again, it will have to go into another piece of writing.

Oh, and social awkwardness, a couple of days in the life.

1. Walking to the office, I was about to open the door to the hallway when I heard someone clearing their throat. I could make out the shape of someone only. just. far away enough that I didn't know whether to hold the door for them or not because it was not clear if they were headed to this door in particular or if they'd be there soon enough for it to not be awkward. I walked through the door, without looking back or holding it, I took a few steps and heard it open again. So fail #1, he was coming my way. Fail #2? It was Pf1. And now I was mortified that I hadn't held the door for him. So I scurried away to my office without looking back again.

2. Walking to the office (what can we do? It's where I run into the people I see on a sort of regular basis) I was a bit distracted. Until ON walked past me and waved hello. I waved hello and may have greeted him (I don't remember). I don't remember because I was too busy worried about whether or not I blushed when I saw him. I can't explain this.

3. In the ladies' room closest to the office, I was already washing my hands when Ck walked in. She started talking to me and even said a few things after she got into a stall. By then I had already washed my hands and was ready to leave but I was uneasy. Was I supposed to stay there talking? Was I supposed to leave and give her some privacy? I opted for leaving because I was uncomfortable hearing her pee/talking to her while she was in the loo and just told her I'd be in my office.

4. When ON handed us copies of the collected data, during our Tuesday afternoon meeting, I couldn't help but notice a pube just lying on the table, on top of a sheet of paper. I wondered if it had been there all along. I wondered who it belonged to. I tried very hard not to look at it much or worry about it. I'm not sure I succeeded. What the fuck was a pube doing on that table?

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