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24 November 2008 @ 11:49 pm
The hoops are jumped through, and the perfectionism monster is happy. Remind me never ever to get three weeks behind on LJ again. Now I just have comments to go through, but I think I'm letting most of them go...which is not easy for me. Does anyone else ever feel like you have to reply to every comment that comes in, just so that no one thinks you're rude and ignoring them? I'm beginning to realize just how often perfectionism has caused me to stop doing something because I couldn't do it 100% right.

And that makes me marvel at how my 7th-grade math teacher, who was a total hardass but very dedicated, managed to pick up on the perfectionism back then. I was supposed to have been some sort of minor math prodigy when I was a kid. I went to a math/science/computer science magnet program in junior high (as well as high school...LOL NERD), and when I started out in junior high, I was ahead of all but two of the other kids in the program, so they put all three of us 7th graders in 8th-grade magnet geometry class. Anyway, this was junior high, when kids start to become all self-aware and shit, and what happened to me was that I sort of rebelled against the whole "YAY MATH" thing, replacing it with "YAY BOYS" and "YAY SOCIAL LIFE" and "YAY TRYING TO BE A COOL NERD INSTEAD OF THE NERDIEST NERD." Add that to the fact that I've always been somewhat disorganized, as well as a major procrastinator, and the result was that my math grades began to fall. First quarter I got an A, second quarter I got a B, third quarter a C, and fourth quarter my one and only D! Part of it was that I turned out to suck at anything involving visualization of objects in space (ummm...hello GEOMETRY); I was great with theory and proofs and stuff, which was also why I had rocked algebra back in 6th grade, but once we started getting into three-dimensional geometry, I just couldn't grasp it. I also stopped giving a shit, as stated previously.

The point I'm getting to here is that the math teacher noticed this progression at some point, and she set up a time to talk privately with me about what was going on. During this private talk, she basically told me that my main problem is perfectionism, and she gave me a book on perfectionism to read. I think it must have been geared towards young adults, because I remember it having comic strips and stuff. It's probably in a box in my parents' basement. The funny thing is, back then, I was like, "What the hell? I'm not a perfectionist! It's quite the opposite: I just don't give a crap anymore!" And in some ways, I still think I was right. I was becoming a teenager; my priorities had changed. But I also now marvel at the fact that the teacher had picked this up way back then from behavior that I hadn't thought was perfectionistic at all. She's the only person ever to have called me out on the perfectionism, and that still haunts me today.

Of course, I went on to disappoint her further by quitting the math team so I could join the school musical -- a decision I SOOOO don't regret. I had never enjoyed being a math team nerd. The meets were both stressful and boring, and while I enjoy puzzles and riddles, the ones we did during math team practice were just brainbreaky. The musical was much more fun, and it set the tone for my social activities in high school and beyond. But the teacher was incredibly disappointed; in fact, a couple of people I knew on the math team told me that at the last practice, the teacher handed out trophies to the people that were there and then announced bitterly, "Abbie's not getting a trophy, because SHE QUIT!" MATH TEAM IS SRS BSNS, PPL!!!

Anyway, perfectionism is a bitch, but I don't regret all the backreading, because y'all write fun shit.

In other news, during the time that LJ went down last night (probably for all of 10 minutes, but I was still all, "GODAMMIT, I'M CATCHING UP ON MY FLIST ON MY IPHONE AND NOW YOU DECIDE TO BE ROBUST, YOU PIECE OF SHIT???"), I was nursing Meghan and had nothing else to do and was dying for some form of human communication aside from breast suckling, so I joined Twitter. If any of y'all are on there, feel free to add me. I'm miss_sophia.

...y'know, every time I start an entry, I'm all, "This is going to be a short entry, because I barely have anything to say." And then I end up with a post full of ramblings. Which isn't a bad thing. I'm just sayin'.

ETA: It was only a matter of time before I joined Twitter anyway, what with my mom and other good friends on it already. And this entry on why we should care about Twitter (written by flourish) had pushed me even closer to the edge. But yeah, yay, a new timesuck.... :P
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
The Cee Monstersagacious_c on November 25th, 2008 05:21 am (UTC)
Perfectionism is a double-edged sword: it can bring your lots of success but also lots of stress/ickiness. I always knew I had academic-related perfectionism, but found it interesting when I was called out on it by a therapist because I was importing that type of mentality into some of my social interactions. As in, being too hard on myself and the people in my life when things weren't exactly the way I thought they should be. I thought that was actually a very useful observation...

Anyway, I get sort of fatalistic about it because I'm a Virgo and one of our characteristics is perfectionism. :P

I still can't believe you went that far back in posts... ;)
Miss Sophia: Hermione in the librarymiss_sophia on November 25th, 2008 05:53 am (UTC)
And that is probably why much of the success I have had has been associated with great stress for me. Well, perfectionism and procrastination, actually, but I imagine the two are closely related, along with their cousin, guilt. Delving into the effects of perfectionism on a social level must have been really scary (as well as revelatory, of course).

I actually went to each person's November page, found the post where I left off (which was easy, since I knew the date that I had last checked my flist), and clicked through all the posts until there was no more. I didn't go through most of my comms, however. That would have been TRULY insane. *clings to her partial insanity*
madame sosostris: Song of Ice and Fire - Copsshantih on November 25th, 2008 05:59 am (UTC)
... Whoa. I hadn't read flourish's entry before you linked it just now, and tbh, some of it makes me somewhat uncomfortable. Especially this:

On a slightly non-political note, you can do this with other topics. Toscanini's, an ice cream parlor near my place, has a screen that brings up all the recent tweets that mention "ice cream," "espresso," "Cambridge," or "Toscanini's"/"Tosci's". This is a really neat way to bring together the people who are coming to Cambridge, people who want coffee or ice cream, people who are at Tosci's or thinking of coming to Tosci's or eating Tosci's ice cream that's sold elsewhere. ...

Geographical Location & Twitter
I already mentioned the Toscanini's thing, which is very location-driven, but (to pull out a story I keep trotting out): I was sitting in a pub in Cambridge, MA, a city to which I had just moved. I was checking my iPhone while I waited to order. A person I didn't know walked by outside and saw me doing it, then decided to check if I was on Twitter. He found me by my profile photo and Twittered a menu suggestion to me. I felt like "the future is now!"

That's just ... eepworthy. I like being able to use Twitter to tell my close friends where I am -- the ones whom I'd want to see anyway, or the ones far away with whom I share my experiences vicariously ;) -- but total strangers? Total strangers who then decide to invite themselves into my personal (cyber-)space?

Hm. I should write a post about this rather than noodle in your comment space further, because it reminds me of something else, which requires going into lengthy detail about a pedagogy seminar I once took, etc etc ...
Miss Sophia: Twilight - Edward Maybellinemiss_sophia on November 25th, 2008 06:07 am (UTC)
FWIW, you can disable the geography feature of Twitter. At least, that's how I understand what spicedogs showed me today on the iPhone.

On one hand, I think flourish's story is neat. But on the other hand, her story ended with the guy Twittering a menu suggestion rather than stalking her like Edward Cullen. I definitely see much potential for the latter. And strangers inviting themselves into your personal (cyber-)space truly could lead to stalking.
madame sosostris: never forget! dinosaurshantih on November 25th, 2008 06:29 am (UTC)
That's actually where the pedagogy seminar story is going. (Short version: Prof shared one of her fantastic ideas to get the freshmen collaborating on peer projects: give them a contact list for the whole class, including their on-campus addresses! Because wouldn't it be cool to find out there's someone in your class who lives on the same floor as you?! I just about died, and not in a good way.)

And this would be one reason why I ended up locking my twitter account. Sucks, because there are a couple of people I would have liked to keep updated on my whereabouts and moment-to-moment travails who aren't likely to join Twitter.
madame sosostris: Song of Ice and Fire - Copsshantih on November 25th, 2008 06:31 am (UTC)
(Specifically, they were supposed to be all up ons forming peer editing groups, and consulting one another for peer review and whatever. And living near one another would facilitate this. Or something.)
Miss Sophia: HSR - Weirded out!miss_sophia on November 25th, 2008 01:49 pm (UTC)
Someone needs to tell this professor about the theories that social interactions based on proximity are falling in favor of interactions based on common interests. And way to encourage the creepy dude who sits in the fourth row staring at the girl in the third row and wondering how he can get in her pants.

Apparently, students can't be trusted to, you know, follow directions and form groups of their own. o.O
madame sosostris: Song of Ice and Fire - Copsshantih on November 26th, 2008 12:39 am (UTC)
After I had picked my jaw up off the floor, I told the class about the Julie Carpenter case.
Miss Sophia: Cracka Pleasemiss_sophia on November 26th, 2008 04:21 am (UTC)
*dies* And what was the prof's reaction? I bet she didn't see it as relating to the situation at all.
madame sosostris: never forget! dinosaurshantih on November 26th, 2008 04:41 am (UTC)
Actually she was (and is) a really awesome prof in other ways. Just ... really naive when it came to that. She was able to see what I meant once I pointed it out.

It probably also helped that I was able to say the case had recently been covered in the Chronicle of Higher Education (recently at the time, that is).
Miss Sophiamiss_sophia on November 26th, 2008 05:00 am (UTC)
Do you read the Chronicle of Higher Education???
madame sosostrisshantih on November 26th, 2008 05:22 am (UTC)
lol, at the time I was a subscriber. :P

I haven't followed it in a couple of years though.
Miss Sophia: Srslymiss_sophia on November 26th, 2008 05:44 am (UTC)
...in my life, I've subscribed to the following magazines: Cricket (for kids, not sport related!), Mad, Cracked, Sassy, Discover, Time, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, Washingtonian, Northern Virginia, Parenting. And Science, but that doesn't count, because it came along with a AAAS membership that my parents got for me for some unknown reason. There might have been some other mags, too, but...yeah, I clearly subscribe to lowbrow shit -- nothing even close to you (or greygirlbeast!).
madame sosostrisshantih on November 26th, 2008 05:52 am (UTC)
This was during my omg-dead-serious-about-becoming-a-future-academic phase. Before I realized how much I hated conferences. I also subscribed to Lingua Franca before it folded.

I still miss Lingua Franca, actually. It was a fun read.
madame sosostrisshantih on November 26th, 2008 05:53 am (UTC)
that being said, our current magazine subscriptions are ... TIME and Entertainment Weekly. :P EW is read by Wolf Moon.
~Lirpa~: Little Locke Srsly?katje0711 on November 25th, 2008 08:46 pm (UTC)
Who is Edward Cullen and what happened with him?

I usually try to reply to all my comments. I don't see it as being rude not to. I guess it's a bit of just being anal about replying back. lol Although there are times when I don't. The convo has to end eventually, after all!

I do hope you'll reply back to me about your invite to the LOST party, though. ;)

WTF was that teacher's problem? I just don't get why some people are in the teaching profession, when they trash the very people they are supposed to be helping. How was your perfectionism what caused you to slip up in math?
Miss Sophia: Twilight - Edward Maybellinemiss_sophia on November 26th, 2008 04:20 am (UTC)
Edward Cullen is the sparkly emo vampire hero of Twilight. (See icon.) He's narrated as this beautiful, perfect, godlike, gorgeous, etc. etc. etc. guy, but if you have half a brain and read the books, you can't help but be shocked by the extent to which he stalks the female protagonist, Bella. Apparently, sneaking into her room every night and watching her sleep (as s a vampire, he himself doesn't sleep) is romantic. Who knew?!

Yep yep, I'll get over to your LOST reply shortly -- I loved your food ideas!

I...have no idea how my perfectionism was supposed to be the culprit behind my shitty math grades. I think she must have thought that I wanted to get every single answer right, and when I couldn't, I just gave up. Or, to give her a bit more credit (although I don't know if the credit is misplaced or not), maybe she knew I was having a hard time with three-dimensional geometry and assumed my reaction to being challenged for the first time in my life when it came to math was to freak out and run away. Which really wasn't true in this case: I truly didn't care!!! I can exhibit some fantastically slackeristic qualities for a perfectionist, and while perfectionism is often the cause of slacking (because of the whole "I can't do it perfectly, so I give up" thing), I truly believe that at least 50% of my slacking was just because I had better things to do than my homework. ;)
~Lirpa~: Pissedkatje0711 on November 26th, 2008 08:38 pm (UTC)
Your mother explained to me who Edward Cullen is, just as your reply came through. Of course, with LJ being the way it is now, who knows when you actually replied.

I've seen such division on the Twilight series. Some worship it and some hate it with a passion. I really don't think I'd be that impressed.

Glad you liked my ideas!

She doesn't sound like she was worthy of any credit, especially after speaking with your mother last night. Bitch!

author_by_night: harry/ginny clings by katieayauthor_by_night on November 25th, 2008 12:58 pm (UTC)
Perfectionists miss out on being happy.

I know someone who was, for a long time, what I call a social perfectionist. Everyone had to be happy and 187% satisfied. But in trying to accommodate every person she happened to stumble across, she actually hurt a lot of feelings.
Miss Sophia: Gryffindor Braverymiss_sophia on November 25th, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC)
It's like that old morality tale about a father, his son, and their donkey: If you try to please everybody, you end up pleasing nobody.

I do think, though, that perfectionism manifests in different ways. I have perfectionism issues, but I'm also a diehard optimist, so I'm far from unhappy. I suppose it's sort of a strange combination, perfectionism and optimism. I think the major downside for me is that I end up guilt tripping myself about a lot of things. I think, for me, that it's about overcommitting myself and then being annoyed that I haven't given the full extent of effort on everything I want to do; in other words, I know I can do better, but I just haven't had the time or energy to do so. But as far as making everyone happy goes, if I tried my best, then my attitude is "To hell with you if you're not satisfied!" That probably helps a lot. :P
Katie: Movies - ND Killer timekatieowrites on November 25th, 2008 08:10 pm (UTC)
Twittered you! :)
Miss Sophiamiss_sophia on November 26th, 2008 04:14 am (UTC)
Awesome! And now I'm following you back. :D