aaaaaaand… the answer is relative.

I am interested in too many things. Starting projects might be one of my greatest talents. Finishing them… well. My dad bought me a shirt that says ‘I never finish anyth’ and it is without a doubt my best self-defining shirt.

This would be the second best.
Recently, I’ve been cross-stitching, and reading Anatomy and Physiology for Dummies, and contemplating using beer as the yeast in my next homemade bread. I’ve been thinking about buying a brew kit and learning how to make my own beer. I insisted on making and decorating my own wedding cake and crafting my own centerpieces/favors for the wedding. (My favorite thing about the wedding – the actual wedding, not the after party – was wearing the dress that I watched Jon make me over the course of a couple weeks.) I have an incessant itch to learn how to quilt. I want to start a garden and grow tomatoes, chamomile flowers, lavender, peppers, basil and garlic (and that’s just to start out). I’m obsessed with books about Tai Chi, alternative healing, philosophy, and sociology. I want to learn massage therapy. I’ve already detailed some of my travels into the realm of computer programming and theoretical physics is basically my religion. Fantasy and science fiction created my morals and drive my passion for travel. I’ve crocheted, attempted to knit, obsessively studied abnormal psychology and dreamed of majoring in everything from creative writing to mechanical engineering to equestrianism. I love building things with my hands – one of my proudest achievements is contributing to the construction of a horse shelter. I taught myself how to draw (although I can’t really draw so much as copy black-and-white photographs in graphite) and study shadows and colors and space. Someday, I want to be a yoga instructor. I want to own a bakeshop. I want to pick up my violin and relearn music I haven’t played in well over five years and join a bluegrass/jazz/Celtic metal band. I’m in a technical writing class right now and I truly believe I could make money from the skills I am learning. I hope to become a major part of my dad’s business, which films conferences all over the States (and some of Europe) and posts them online.
I fucking want everything.
And this is part of the reason why I never finish anything. Because as soon as I’ve started on one thing, I become terrified that that thing is going to prevent me from all of the other things I want to do. So I have to go do something else. Sometimes it’s a matter of consciously giving up what I’m doing in favor of something else. Other times, it’s simply a matter of attempting to juggle too much at once and having bits and pieces fall by the wayside. Sometimes I don’t realize I’ve stopped doing something I love for months or even years, and when I realize it’s gone… I freak out and need to start doing it again. But then something else falls away. My life can often look like it’s in shambles, and the people who know me know not to take me too seriously when I become obsessed with yet another thing. Because it’ll fade out. The more intense the obsession, the quicker it goes away.
Some things stick. Some things come back again and again. I have to learn how to manage my time.
There’s never enough time.

see Dee learn;

Today: Some ramblings on the attainment of self-confidence through learning for highly anxious individuals.

The process of learning to regularly express and feel self-confidence may or may not be easy, for some. There are scores of lists detailing everything from smiling more, to forgiving more wholeheartedly, to simply pretending to be self-confident. I wrote a few days ago about how I fully believe in the process of becoming what you want to be by believing you already are. Today, I am writing about yet another method: a method that can be far more humbling.

A few days ago I finished my first running JavaScript Program (or, at least, my first running JavaScript program created without the step-by-step guide of a tutorial). It’s a simple, rather useless program that uses little pop-up confirmation boxes to simulate the card game War between a user and a computer. It was fairly difficult to write, in that I spent several hours dealing with individual parts (or functions), researching methods I half-remembered or, at times, seeing if someone had already written a simple function (for example: a function that shuffled an array) that I could then modify to fit my purposes. It was important, for me, every step of the way, to write out as many interpretations of problems and of solutions as I could think of, in order to better grasp the nature of what it means to use JavaScript. Now that I am working on a new program, a simulation of the card game Go Fish, much of what I worked through in the War program has come in handy, and I intend to continue to build off what I’ve written, not to memorize but to construct and practice a certain method of thinking.

The attempt to visualize and wholly grasp an entirely new method of thinking in learning a new task is something I started using about two years ago when I became absolutely determined to learn how to draw. My reasoning, fueled by information in the book Drawing On The Right Side of The Brain, followed that if this is a task I have never succeeded in before, then I must try to find ways to simulate a thought-process I have never engaged in before. It also followed that, if it is a skill I am attempting to learn because I have seen others do it, then those others, whether they are consciously aware of it or not, have the information about that new thought-process that I need and it is best practice to attain it by figuring out, with them if possible, what it is about the way they view the world that led them to forming that thought-process. A long-winded explanation, perhaps, but that is my understanding.

I have never been consistently a good student in school. That is, as early as I can remember, I have never had any kind of working relationship with homework. Either I’d do it in-class or not at all. Either I’m dedicated for a week and then burn-out or I simply straggle along behind the rest of the class, grasping the material, even being excited by the material, but refusing to take the risk of making an honest effort. This has started to get better in college, but part of that is because, when I do forget to do my homework, I have the option of simply not going to class. I don’t have to face the knowledge that, despite my desire to be a good student, this teacher has direct evidence that I am not. Sometimes skipping class for the sake of not having to face the teacher without an assignment has helped. Knowing that I have an extra couple of days or even a week can be exactly the boost I need to get on top of something I should have already been on top of. Sometimes skipping class just meant I failed the class.

Whether these issues stem from my high-level of constant anxiety, or whether the anxiety stems from this being my relationship with school for as long as I can remember, I have no idea. I’ve been prompted towards seeking a diagnosis for ADD and I’ve been prompted towards seeking a diagnosis for GAD. Call it pride or call it determination, though, I am inclined to find answers for myself as often as possible. And in many ways, I have found methods of thinking, and doing, that work to strengthen my confidence that I am exactly what my teachers have always told me I am: very smart, very capable, and very lazy. And the lazy part tends to go away on its on when being lazy will cost you a meal on a daily basis (being broke may be one of the best things that ever happened to my work ethic).

Back to my paragraph about learning to code, not only is the thought-process behind programming something I am seeking to understand, but the thought-process behind learning to program is equally important to me, just like the thought-process behind learning to draw is what initially piqued my interest, not in learning new things for the sake of themselves, but learning new things in order to practice the very art of learning and adaptation. Because in this process there comes a sort of humility that is nothing like shame or fear – in the knowledge that I know very little, almost nothing, that comes with the process of learning something new, there is nothing like a fear of failure (or success), the likes of which terrorized me through public school to the point of mental paralysis. With every new thing, I have to let that thing become an integrated part of my daily life. The question of whether or not I’m good at programming, when I spend several hours a week dedicated simply to doing it, becomes obsolete, and loses its power over me.

Whether or not this is a typical assessment of how to gain self-confidence that is much more effectively practiced than understood, a fully-integrated understanding of what it means to let go of self-doubt has cost me years, not to mention frustration, sweat, and tears. I don’t believe that I’m anywhere near where I want to be as a person, but I’m no longer very afraid that I’ll never get there, because I make it a point to remind myself that I am always capable of learning more. The habits I am choosing to develop are about nothing more, and nothing less, than constantly being engaged, consciously and eagerly, with the learning process.

I had to edit this post severely because I didn’t feel it was the best it could be. 🙂 Now I feel that it is very nearly what I wanted.

this is Dee… see Dee blog.

This is Dee.

See Dee write. See Dee code. See Dee ponder and get a major case of ultra excite at the idea of

  • writing
  • reading
  • coding
  • learning

and, always, always

  • searching.

This week, I am building a horse shelter, writing some card game programs in JavaScript, applying at Hocking College for the baking program, reading Energy Psychology by Michael Mayer, PhD, and answering a prompt a day from Pocket Muse. This is the stuff of dreams, baby. Essentially, I’m interested in everything and can’t fathom a blog where I only get to write about this or that, just like I can’t fathom a life where I only get to focus on one thing or another.

Today, I’m writing about code.

I recently created an account at Code Academy, where kindly programmers post lessons/tutorials in JavaScript, JQuery, HTML, and CSS for beginners. After a couple of false starts attempting to learn how to program (starting as far back as seven, eight years ago), I’ve finally decided to get my butt into gear and sit my ass in a chair. What I knew about software and web development before attempting the tutorials on this site would have fit on the head of a pin (excuse the expression), but now, thanks to the wonderful Q&A forums, the handy-dandy scratch pad for experimenting and goofing around with variables and functions and what-have-you, my knowledge might feel more comfortable perched on the head of a ball-point pen.

It’s a huge leap for me. As I scramble my way through the code language, attempting to piece together a program that resembles the card game of ‘War’, what I’m finding most mind-boggling is the mindset of the whole thing. Logic. It is absolutely beautiful and, at times, absolutely frustrating, for this reason: the computer does absolutely nothing more, and absolutely nothing less, than what I tell it to do.

If God is a programmer, I’m impressed.

So, as I venture through the next month writing and editing and deleting lines and lines of code, not to mention lines and lines of prose attempting to translate the lines of code in order to get a better grasp, what I’m looking for are more websites for beginning programmers, challenges, examples of well-written code (and some answers to the question, what makes good code ‘good’?), and, perhaps most of all, some broad idea of what practical uses a skill like this has for a lady with minimal education and job experience.

Not interested in code? Tune in tomorrow for something different!

Oh, and one more thing – I feel like I should describe the title I’ve chosen for this blog. You see, I’m interested in quite a few things, and I’m a creature of perpetual identity-crisis. I don’t always see connections between the things I’m interested in, but when I do I feel a warm, sparkly glow all the way through, like something magnificent is trying to reveal itself. Concepts from one trade or branch of knowledge, applied to another trade or branch of knowledge, can do some pretty amazing things. I learned the word ‘gestalt’ in a book called Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, an amazing book that actually taught me how to draw. The word means a composite whole, a whole which is greater than the sum of its parts. I am so in love with this idea, I’ve created a whole blog around my attempts to find examples of it everywhere.