Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"No One Speaks Like This." Maybe Not Where You Come From, Buckaroo.

I'm a junkie in recovery. But if given the opportunity, I'd take all the pills, in quantities of 360 per bottle, and manage to wrangle 5 refills out of 3 different doctors and shop them out to a dozen different pharmacies and pay cash, on a day like I had today, anyway. (On second thought, I'd probably skip the sports pill, because sports are boring, and I have zero desire to master one only to die 10 years later. Fitness.

Don't y'all tempt me. Now, not only do I have Keith Richards' autobiography from which to gather practical life coping mechanisms, but also that of Pete Townshend, whose life has been as colorful as Richards' but like 1,000 times brainier. The tattoo on Saturday satiated MORE THAN enough of any semblance of a cutting impetus I may or may not have been harboring as of late and, as I said before, the depth of the cold needle sensation and requisite total numbness was eerily reminiscent of self-injury. Except it looks totally badass and for the sake of art and philosophy. Guy Friend's comment? "A small symbol on your ankle it's not." (Yes, I did tell him he's starting to talk like Yoda.) No, that it's not. If there's one thing I'm not, just like Richards and Townshend, it's a pussy. (PS, yes, that's real blood on Townshend's hand. Windmilling gone awry, after show in Oakland, early 80's.)

(Speaking of cutting, it was implied today that Gestalt therapy (German: "wholeness" or "complete form") would be one effective way to treat NSSI. That's only like the stupidest, most impractical, failure-securing approach to the habit of non-suicidal self-injury, coming from someone who, as you all know...anyway, nothing spells S-U-C-C-E-S-S like--honestly--this is a technique--talking to an empty chair and pretending to lecture yourself from an authoritative figure point-of-view. Role playing with yourself from an assertive position is an ace way to segue from using steak knives to actual razor blades, once you've managed to make yourself feel even shittier, and like you don't get that combative load of crap from actual OTHER people you REALLY talk to. I can say this, being partly German, having deflowered a young German man when I was much younger, that there's nothing Germans like more than authoritatively screaming in harsh accents. Even "I love you" in German sounds hostile.) 

Throughout the weeks that have passed in my first semester in graduate school, I have felt confident (but not arrogant) about my academic performance. I recognize areas which need improvement, pat myself on the back for jobs well done, and, while stressed, depressive and out-of-sorts, consequently sleeping every spare moment possible, I have proudly managed my ginormous course load (statistics be damned) without yet visiting Whichever Official But Multiculturally Neutral Office at School Generates Accommodations for the Drug and Alcohol Brain-Damaged, Usually Functioning Mentally Ill Students Who Are Learning Disabled But Hate Labels. 

Methinks, however, that a meeting with Those Compassionate Folks Who Don't Want Me to Sue the School Under Any Circumstances Because No One Realizes I'm Apparently Mentally Incapacitated  At Times should be penciled into my agenda.

Watch the first 3:50 of this segment from (where I get all of the rest of *my* wisdom) "The Brady Bunch."

Mike Brady's observation: "Exact words are"

Bullshit, it wasn't.

Anyone who's read the breadth of my work, whether it's this blog, my poetry, my Russian Lit papers from Knox, the book I wrote about the Muppets in 2nd grade, or fuck, even my 140-character Tweets, I believe, would all attest in vehement opposition to the notion that my writing is...


Composed and published in the exact manner by which the professor posted an online, exemplary sample psychological case analysis, it was.  Addressed all required areas, it did. I wasn't alone with a sharp chip on my shoulder in the classroom this morning as our papers were returned, littered in itty-bitty red ink, snarling under my breath at the measly, unacceptable point value of 75/100.

The old adage seems to be true: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." My theories professor used to be a counselor. She couldn't hack it. So she became a professor. Einstein failed to get into college a number of times and was chastised for being very anti-authoritarian. Lennon was continuously wrist-slapped by his teachers for not staying on-task and was brushed off as having no practical future. I'm reminded of Sir John Gurdon, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine. His biology teacher had this to say about him when he was in school:

Per the assignment of choosing any one of the many psychological theories we've studied thus far and righteously extended, it was, in very short terms, the case of a strange 42-year old loner who never got laid and thought his un-affectionate, deceased mother was a "martyr." Barring my layperson's, not therapist's, honest opinion that instead of psychotherapy, what the guy really needed was to get drunk and spend a night in a brothel, I chose Freudian psychodynamics. (Keep that thought in the back of your mind. I was free to choose ANY of the theories we have studied on which to base my case analysis.)

Was my theoretical paper graded by a teaching assistant without a background in English? Oh Christ, yes.

My sentence, verbatim: "In employing Freudian psychodynamics, the therapist would benefit from exploring free association." 

The TA's remark, my sentence scratched out? "While technically correct, no one speaks like this." 


No one speaks like this? I speak this way. In this fashion. Routinely. (It's a shame this is electronic, because you're missing the extremely snippy intonation of my voice.) I tend to verbalize in said manner particularly harshly when I'm trying to make an intellectual point and berate those to whom I'm speaking. (Put more simply? When I'm pissed off, sometimes it's really fucking obvious because I'll colloquially utilize vile expletives in the middle of what could otherwise be considered well-crafted prose, e.g. right now.)

Admittedly, I'll grant the instructors at the school and the elementary-reading-level TA this much: I need work/help on properly citing academic papers per the American Psychological Association's guidelines. I never said I didn't. I'll get help with that. It's embedded in my MS Word program to assist me. I'll visit the "writing center." I'll look it up online. I'll squeeze it in next time. Scout's honor.


Had the professor explicitly told us the theory paper had to be APA-cited, I would've documented it as such and gone back to my meatballs in the middle of the night. She incorrectly assumed that since she mentioned it in the syllabus (which half of us negated), we'd cite it that way. The exemplary sample given to us as a guide, with which I styled my paper, was, evidently, totally WRONG, for which I had 10 points deducted, as some of my cohorts did as well.

This is where Mr. Brady's looming warning and Greg's valid point are equally well-taken. Had Mr. Brady clarified that he meant that Greg was not to drive, period, end of story, Greg wouldn't have driven his friend's car to get tickets to the rock concert. Mr. Brady's contention is that Greg deliberately disobeyed him on a technicality, when Greg did no such thing. Exact words are indeed hard by which to live, but they make things a crap ton clearer.

The TA took issue with my use of the word "schema" by circling it over and over again and warning me that it's "not psychodynamic. Be careful!" when I properly used it as a noun, and while it's often associated with cognitive behavioral therapy, and while it should've been obvious by page four of the paper that I was psychoanalyzing and not using CBT, it's just a freakin' noun that means "a structured framework." I deemed the client "rotund" instead of "fat" or "overweight." I LIKE WORDS. GET OVER IT.

Perhaps left out of the scientific and clinical world is the history of this one guy, Roget. Roget liked words. A lot.  In fact, he was such a linguistic pioneer that, as Webster developed  the advent of the modern American English DICTIONARY, Roget forged a tool more useful, practical, sacred and magical to a writer than any other....the THESAURUS.

At present, I have two paperback thesauruses. I've used one of them once in 18 years, with which to write a poem.  I have access to online thesauruses, which I'll utilize from time to time if I'm really stumped for the right word. But where's the biggest one stored? Despite my brain damage? In my big, psychotic, bipolar, non-stop creative brain. (PS, my 12-year old son has the same gift, minus the psychosis.)

In my summary, wrapping up my rationale as to why I approached the freaky guy's case study from a Freudian perspective, the TA, after I wrote that IN MY EDUCATED OPINION it was a classically Freudian workup, said, "Actually, it's not. The example given is a contemporary example. In classical Freudian analysis, the therapist/analyst wouldn't say much, if anything." That's his or her opinion. It's of no consequence to the grade I was given. I was provided a selection of theoretical approaches to this case, and I chose the one that, in MY opinion, suited the client, even though y'all know I think Freud was whacked and did way too much coke. (If it's a "contemporary example," why is the client not using internet porn and still subscribing to magazines in the first place? Not that I'm endorsing either...)

You want a different spin, a likened contemporary example? Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho." My mother, in fact, jokingly asked me if Anthony Perkins played the client in the movie version.

Throw me a middle-aged male virgin with a major Mommy martyr complex, who got no love from Dad, who whacks off to "men's magazines," (yes, I spared the professor/TA my vulgarity and said "frequently masturbates"), isolates himself, likes to work alone, sleeps too late, has been suicidal and is afraid of barking puppies? That was the case I was given with which to work, from which, if given enough creative time, I'm sure I could spin into a helluva creepy movie script. Alas, it'll shelve with the rest of my unpublished work, as friends keep pestering me to find an agent.

I'll just keep looking down at my tattoo which says "mindfulness" on it and try to remember that everyone operates on his/her own level, and that we've all come to this psychological program with different backgrounds. Mine happens to be rooted in English-Writing.  I'm a woman of extremes. I either charge through the day running dialogues through my head about how idiotic the rest of the world is compared to my brilliance, or I'm crippled with anxiety and low self-esteem because it's me who's the local idiot. Mornings which awaken me at 5am when I'm sloping down, only to be confronted by snide commentary like what I was handed today send me mentally running for the hills.


Barack totally rocked it last night, but I feel compelled to say that what this campaign is lacking, quite honestly, is a good, old-fashioned sex scandal. By default, it'd have to be Obama, since he's cute and the last nail in the Romney coffin was his blast against single parents last night which came randomly during a discussion about assault weaponry out on the streets. So it's all my fault, Mitt? Tell you what. My son's arsenal of toy guns and ammo pack enough power (and rounds) to blow holes through the wad of $100 bills you money clip to your pompous dick for protection.  Anyway, I got this email from Bill Clinton today, speaking of sex scandals:

I wonder if Michelle knows how terrific President Obama was last night. Bill's been there. You do the math, kiddos.


My car represents my personality via stickers on the back (nothing too obnoxious). Some douchebag vandalized it. I don't know if it was in the train parking garage, or where I park my car at home, but if I were to ever find out who did it, I'd bust his/her/their skull WITH my Sanskrit tattooed arm.

My 2 Hindu OM stickers were "X"'d out, my AA sticker slit through, my anarchy symbol sliced with a huge cross (of all things) through the middle (hello, doofus, anarchy is a sociopolitical stance, not a religion), and my favorite, the George Harrison 1967 acid psychedelic painting sticker slit about 15 times, though none of it was ripped off, and you can't really tell unless you feel it. Fortunately, I had spare OM's. What's perhaps the oddest thing about it all, though? My Irish Trinity sticker was left intact, as was my Coyne/Drozd 2012 Presidential campaign sticker. A disgruntled Catholic Flaming Lips fan, perhaps?  I actually only know one of the aforementioned personality types myself, and I don't think he'd ever do such a thing. It was probably the squatting drug dealer down the walkway who finally got evicted after I lodged a HUGE complaint with the Cook County Sheriff, and told them that if my father could personally bodyguard former Sheriff Richard Elrod when he was a Sheriff's police officer, and was willing to take a bullet for the Sheriff in the 80's, the least they could do for me would be to make my neighborhood a little safer.

I'm just glad the school week's over. I have my last midterm on Monday (which was postponed), in Ethics and Law, and plenty of work to do for Therapy class, during which, I believe, all 8 of us fell asleep at different junctures watching a video on couples counseling. And that's our favorite class! But turning off the lights and cozying up with a video for a bunch of overworked grad students? We just weren't full of bubbles and butterflies this week.

In the midst of all this academic nonsense, I had to write a letter to the Illinois Tollway arguing my position that my IPASS for the tollway isn't out of money, and that I was refusing to pay the $215 in fines they believe I've incurred. They emailed me that my balance was "low," not "depleted" or "rejected." Once again, exact words....I owned up to perhaps the $20 in tolls they think I owe them, but I flat out made my case against paying a single $20 fine for each supposed infraction. Yes, in my letter, as a matter of fact, I told them they were all insane. And for that, as with most of my writing, I refuse to apologize.

Too flowery. Yeah, fuck you.


Anonymous said...

Andrea, you don't scare a lot of people half to death. No, not because you're ugly. You're very beautiful.

It doesn't make sense, right? You're a little girl physically, but then you start speaking, or writing, or making music or art and that inspired, insane, intense twinkle in your eyes is mesmerizing. The immersion of your passion, once it's out there...I don't know. Sometimes on the blog you apologize for just being yourself and other times, you're like "Fuck 'em all." Sweetheart, NEVER apologize for being the wonderfully unique person that you have always been and will always be.

I know you well. I know you as a person, as a writer, as a musician, as a mom, as an addict, in the severely mentally ill category, probably on a deeper level than a lot of people (though I'm retaining my anonymity).

Linguistically, you're a total chameleon. Your command of English is, knowing you as well as I do, like you were saying--you're like a human thesaurus. Who gives a fuck if you didn't "cite" your paper the way it was ambiguously explained.

Your range of style and presence and personality--and the way you can speak or write as if you're just a kid from the wrong side of the tracks in Chicago to the (very) well-educated, mature woman you are is dizzying to witness or read.

You can't read or write music, but you can actively create it with your hands, or your limbs, out of that creative mind. Spontaneously. Do you not see that as a huge gift?

A lot of people would be completely fucking intimidated by someone like you, because unless you let them in, let them really get to know ALL of you, nobody'll ever get you. You piss off a lot of people. You make them uncomfortable by questioning everything and everyone. In all the time I've known you, I've never known someone who's defied authority and control over and over again quite like you do.

Punk isn't all about music, though that's a big part of it. And I have no doubt that by the time your memoirs are published, they'll be equally, if not even more shocking than the musicians you look up to who have survived.

You're a natural fighter and a proven survivor. Even given the stress that's clear through your writing lately, and your actions and reactions to that stress, both positive and negative, continue to shape into the Annie that rocks us all.

Now, as to why your Flaming Lips sticker was left intact on your

Andrea Miklasz said...

But I'm at heart a timid introvert who's generally really quite friendly.

I appreciate your compliments regarding my style. A linguistic chameleon? That's kinda cool.

Unless, of course, you totally piss me off. Or I disagree with you. In that case, my personality is not conflict-averse. I'm a challenging patient, student, friend, band mate, parent, daughter, sister and partner. That much I'll admit.

I was asked by another friend recently if the tattoo I chose would've been as big and bold had my Guy Friend taken me to the Tattoo Factory. Well, I was in a "mood" when I went last Saturday, so in retaliation to society and is norms and feeling awfully combative, I told the artist to blow that motherfucker up and make it BIG. If a sensible friend had gone with me, or *not* Luke, it might have turned out smaller. Hard to say. I love it, in any event.

BMF said...

You're stuck in a 2-year long game of going along with the program. That means taking a lot of shit from people who probably aren't as intelligent or creative as you are.

I KNOW how hard it is for you to go along with authority figures or people who hold power over you (in this case, who decide your grades), but if that's what this gig involves, you're just going to have to get used to it. I'm sorry. I truly understand your perspective. We both hate being told what to do and being at the mercy of THE MAN.

I think you should go in and explain your learning disability, because drug/alcohol brain damage is very real. You don't have to tough it out if there are programs or systems in place that might be able to help you along your path. You're not asking for a free ride. You just want what's legally entitled--reasonable accommodation. Yes, it'll require eating some of your pride, but it's better than getting a bad grade in a class because you were in a depressive slump and had trouble getting the work done. You get it?

You're not scary, but your intelligence and wit are indeed intimidating to the average person. I agree with Anonymous. Don't ever apologize for being the awesome YOU.


Andrea Miklasz said...

The more I think about it, the stronger I feel about actually visiting the office for the learning disabled. I'm getting like 90% of my work in on time, and getting good grades, and doing extra credit projects, but my drive is such that I want to get an A in everything, seeing as my school considers anything under a B- a FAILURE and you're sent to a committee to evaluate if you should even stay in the program. It's SO much pressure to succeed. And I'm working really fucking hard.

Statistics is what's tripping me up completely, and Luke's helping me as much as he can, but he's 12 and despite his brilliance, he's not very good at college sociological statistics. Well, Luke, Mom's even worse. I flat out told that professor that his class is a required back burner and I only need to pass it to fulfill my prerequisite for my grad school. Nobody said in THAT class, which is at a local junior college, that I had to do "well." So fuck it.

When I make or create music, and y'all know this, I improvise a lot. I don't remember how to play half the songs we play so I end up making new beats and patterns, blending in, either w/the djembe or the kit. It was like that while I was drinking and after I got sober. My memory of how to do something as seemingly easy as play a song I've played 2 dozen times in 7 years is a huge struggle for me.

I agree with Anonymous about the punk scene. It does have a lot to do with music, but more so, culture. Identity. A certain principle by which you live your life, which a lot of people in mainstream life don't understand.

Who do I piss off the most? My family and my closest friends, male and female, sometimes (except Kate and BMF, who accept me unconditionally). My aunts and cousins interrogate my mom about half the shit I post on Facebook. I don't know if anyone in the family reads my blog, but if they do and they disagree with what I say, that's too bad. This is me and my life, and it's authentic. That's probably half of why I defy authority figures but at the same time have a huge, giant, gaping Daddy complex. Had I been raised by my father instead of my mother, I often wonder what kind of adult I would've become. That's assuming my dad would've stayed sober after treatment, which would be iffy at best. My dad was a cop-the ultimate authority figure-but he was such a gentle, lovable guy. He had dark hair and blue eyes, coincidentally.

I couldn't believe my mom didn't know who Pete Townshend was and wasn't familiar with any of The Who's music. And she thinks he's really ugly! I think he's stunning in his own way. (Once again...dark hair, blue weakness).

I hope I'm not getting hypomanic, because it's almost 1am, I took my night meds at 8pm and I'm not sleepy yet. Uh-oh.

BMF said...

I think you are manic. Look at the string of randomocity your last comment consisted of.

Whoops, I just ended a sentence with a preposition! :)