Tag Archives: psychology

mid-week round-up

Hi friends! What are you up to this week? Tomorrow is my birthday!!! No grand plans, just planning on a relaxing day. Last week we ventured up to Savannah for a few days and had a blast hanging out with my brother and sister-in-law! (We ate here and here, strolled around and saw wild animals here, and roasted marshmallows(!) here.) Hope you have a wonderful rest of your week, and here are some links for your reading pleasure…

A tale of two Puerto Ricos: What Trump saw and what he didn’t.

A grandmother, the Nazis, and the shadow of the Olympics.

Multiple women share harrowing accounts of sexual assault and harassment by Harvey Weinstein.

Kristin Enmark didn’t act the way a hostage was supposed to act – and a new psychological disorder was born.

How an English teacher’s quest to meet John Lennon changed Beatles history.

Can I buy these warm-up booties even though I’m just a living room ballerina???

The making of a male midwife.

The Coexist logo is famous on bumper stickers and around the world — but it’s also at the center of quite a few battles.

Katharine Hepburn’s brownies: a recipe for home-wrecking?

Perfect desk accouterments for a home office.

Carmen Maria Machado’s  take on the woman with the green ribbon around her neck.

Related: Now I want to read her book.

The Florida migrant town that FEMA forgot.

P.S. 2 Finding Delight blog posts you might have missed — Our Florida Stay-Cation and What books would you paint on a staircase? 

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mid-week round-up

big green fellow

What are you up to this week? Fall is here!!! Even in South Florida the weather has cooled a bit, the sunshine has that golden glow, and there’s a frequent lovely breeze blowing. This is my last week being in my twenties so I intend to eat autumnal desserts, plan a well-deserved beach trip, and make toasts over Gin & Ginger Ales that end in “R.I.P. 20’s!” Thanks to everyone who made this past year so wonderful. Now, bring on the big 3-0! Happy Wednesday to all of you lovely readers; please enjoy these links…

Lauren! Tom Hanks found your student ID in the park. #casual

Found: the perfect autumn breakfast.

4 happy rituals. 

Have you ever ghosted?

A UCLA student takes her graduation photos in the strawberry field her parents have picked strawberries in for 22 years.

I’ve had Lianne La Havas on repeat this week.

An interactive guide to self care. 

When it comes to technology and love…the teens get it.

Some seasonal iPhone wallpapers.

Will you stay or will you go? 

Quite auspicious! Buddhism’s 8 symbols.

A campfire candle.

 

mid-week round-up

dog on porch

Hey friends! We had the best time this weekend! Thankfully, Hurricane Erika turned into just a bit of rain by the time she reached us on Sunday. Now we’re back to hot and sunny days and floating in the pool whenever we get a free hour. Despite the gloomy weekend weather, we managed to pack in trips to Ikea (followed by several hours of furniture assembly), a little gyro shop, and an arcade. And I’ve already been loving working from my new desk this week! Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday, and here are some links for you to enjoy…

A modern twist on Degas’ depictions of dancers off-stage moments.

Photographer runs off to join the carnival (for 3 months).

September means lots of soup for dinner, right?

This season of So You Think You Can Dance has been awesome! Proof. More proof.

Looking to develop a new hobby this month? How about upping your art skills!

These 14 words lack English equivalents and their meanings are fantastic.

Scientific proof that nice guys don’t always finish last.

Swooning over this kitchen. I’m white tile obsessed these days!

Parents: Little kids are weird as hell. Just embrace it.

It runs in the family.

On my travel bucket-list for a future visit.

Do you implement these strategies? I try to!

P.S. Choosing to do better and My Reverse Bucket List.

MLK, Jr’s call for abnormality.

mlk

Recently, I read a very thought-provoking article about a seldom discussed aspect of the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. The author posits that depression could have played an influential role in the efficacy of his life’s greatest works. Nassir Ghaemi, who is working on a psychological biography of MLK, poses the following question in the February 2014 Psychology Today, “ Were personal demons a key factor in MLK’s charismatic and transformational leadership?”

The deeper attitude behind [MLK’s] philosophy was his view that we should be “creatively maladjusted.” King was explicit in a sermon: “Everybody passionately seeks to be well-adjusted,” he said. “But there are some things… to which men of good will must be maladjusted.”

Psychiatrists and psychologists see being “adjusted” as fitting in, being accepted, “functioning” well. We tend to be rewarded for being well-adjusted, but King realized that to solve life’s problems, especially the most profound—racism, poverty, and war—we have to become, in a sense, abnormal. We have to stop accepting what everyone else believes. We have to become maladjusted if we are to be creative, and then we may find that insoluble dilemmas are masks for unrecognized problems with simple solutions.
King may have known what it meant to be maladjusted psychologically because he wasn’t normal psychiatrically.

***

Some won’t like the notion that King suffered from manic symptoms and depressive episodes. It would be ironic if those who admire his valiant fight against racism showed a bias against psychiatric illnesses, especially since illness may have contributed to his accomplishments.

Studies show that depression enhances empathy toward others, as well as realism in assessment of one’s own circumstances. King’s nonviolent resistance can be understood as a politics of radical empathy, an acceptance of one’s enemies as part and parcel of advancing one’s own agenda. The goal was not to defeat them but to change their attitudes: Racism was not a political problem to be outlawed; it was a psychological disease to be cured.

I recommend you check out the whole article here. It really forced me to take pause and think about the psychological make-up behind the very real people who fill our textbooks with their actions and end-goals but not their demons and pitfalls. The very thing which may contribute to the empathy, leadership, and creativity we take for granted is never discussed. This hypocrisy, especially as it pertains to admirers of King, is a striking argument. Perhaps, like King, we should look towards creative maladjustment.

Book Club: In Pursuit of WHY it Gets Better Pt. 1

bfastclubquote

When Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better Project” came out in 2010, a series of YouTube videos directed at teenagers who were the victims of homophobic bullying, something didn’t feel right to me. Here were a bunch of stories by people who had, yes, admittedly made it through to the other side, telling our youth a common tale–painstaking childhood, turning point, and a happily ever after. What struck me as unsettling was how un-nuanced this narrative arc was…surely there was more to the story than happenstance. Did we think that little of the children watching that we could only tell them things WOULD get better but not HOW to make them better? Yet, there seems to be a common truth for all those who’ve made it through the hallowed halls of secondary education–gay, straight, or otherwise–perhaps not entirely unscathed but made it through nonetheless; it IS better on the other side. So perhaps the question isn’t “How does this happen?” but “Why?” Why do the teens who didn’t have a spot at the cool cafeteria table end up as success stories in adulthood?

In this month’s book club we are going to attempt to uncover the answer to just that. Perhaps in analyzing why the losers, geeks, and outcasts in American teen culture gain access to a more promising future, we can finally solidify the “how” in our own stories and thereby paint a more holistic picture for our struggling youths than “it just will.” To do this, we will be reading “The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory, and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School” by Alexandra Robbins. No stranger to writing great non-fiction about the youth of America, Robbins notes in “Geeks” that she kept encountering kids who felt like there was something catastrophically wrong with them because they weren’t popular or they were bullied. In my experience as an educator of middle/high school students at various forensics institutes over the years, I have answered these same worries in ways probably not uncommon to those of you who have found yourselves in a role-model situation. “There’s nothing wrong with you. High school is crazy. The stuff that makes you unique now is gonna make you popular later!” and “The popular people are probably miserable too.”

geeks

Robbins takes a more academic approach to her answer and presents “The Quirk Theory,” explaining that the passions, idiosyncrasies, interests and all the stuff that makes one considered weird as a kid are the very quirks that will turn them into cool, interesting, and successful adults. And it’s true–as adults we reward passion; children, for whatever reason, tear it down. As my peers and I settle in comfortably on “the other side,” all it takes is a quick voyeuristic scan on social media to see endless examples of this theory in practice. Oh you can build a computer in your spare time? Awesome! I bet you’re making a shit ton of money. You’re working for an NGO in Botswana? Killer! Your stories are probably super interesting. You just crocheted a whole blanket? WHUT?! The patience! The creativity! Sell that shit on Etsy, dawg! The computer geek. The dirty hippie. The shy girl who sat by herself at lunch. In a matter of years these labels become completely reframed.

Robbins’ book follows 7 high school students labeled as, “the loner, the popular bitch, the nerd, the new girl, the gamer, the weird girl, and the band geek.” Following each student for a school year, you begin to recognize these people. Maybe you see yourself or someone you knew. Peppered in between these narratives are essays on popularity, how schools make the social scene more intense and the psychology of exclusion; all of which seek to help answer our underlying question–why did everything we hated about ourselves in high school, all the things that made us different and therefore BAD, suddenly turn us into the best versions of ourselves? How in Jesus’ name did we grow-up and suddenly get cool?

In a world where we’re spending tons of money on anti-bullying campaigns and initiatives, as I begin this book, the glaring systemic problem seems to be something we’ve yet to address. By promoting certain activities over others, the school systems are basically telling kids who should be bullied and who should do the bullying. As adults, I think we can do better. This discrepancy obviously hits close to home. I was a speech dork in high school–competing for a team who split their time 50/50 between practice and fundraising. We rehearsed on the same loop upstairs that the cross-country team ran on;  as we spoke to walls, snickering runners continuously lapped us in a never-ending stampede. Would our popularity trajectories have looked differently if the school was buying US new suits instead of the swim team? Who’s to say?

In an attempt to get to the bottom of all of this, why not join in the book club fun? A book club, you ask? FUN?!? That would soooo not have been cool in high school! So celebrate your adult-self and all the nerdiness you’re now allowed. Pick up a copy of “The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory, and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School” by Alexandra Robbins and let’s get weird.

(Top image via here.)

Any initial thoughts? Do you feel like you had a label in high school? What weird things about your high school self do you find gains you positive attention as an adult? What would you tell a student who is struggling with their outcast status today? Feel free to leave your answers in the comments below! And tune in each Friday!