Thought Provoking Archive

Learning to Fail

Posted February 18, 2021 By kmarrs

A few weeks ago, I asked Tumblr the following:

So I want to talk about parenting a gifted kid. Because I don’t honestly know if I’m doing it right. Please know I’m doing my best and in good faith seek advice.

For the past like 3 or 4 years, my 13yo Lucas, who is autistic and has ADHD which he’s medicated for, has been in the gifted program. I almost didn’t let them put him in it because I know the horrors of being gifted, but I was assured he’d never be pulled out of class, he’d just be doing slightly different assignments. When questioned he didn’t even realize he was doing gifted program work, that’s how integrated it was. I was assured he was doing different things, even if he didn’t realize it. Ok. That’s great. I let him stay in the program all through intermediate school (4-6).

He’s always brought home good grades. I’ve never cared about grades. I care about effort, whatever that means for the individual child.

Then the pandemic hit and the end of last year and all of this year became online. I’m sure I don’t have to tell y’all that online school and ADHD don’t mix.

With a complete lack of structure, he’s putting my disinterest in grades to the test. I think he is trying his best but the executive dysfunction is a bitch and he just can’t get anything done except under complete duress that’s exhausting and traumatizing for everyone involved. And even then he was suddenly failing everything. Everything.

At some point, I’m not exactly sure when, but I was probably a really tired single mother in that moment, I just radically accepted that this year is a wash and he’s probably going to be repeating 7th grade.

I’m not even mad. I’m just tired.

And I haven’t stopped encouraging him to do the work. We talk about what it means to repeat a grade. We discuss these kids he’s grown up with leaving him behind. We discuss that it’s not too late to catch up. But honestly fam, as the autistic kid, he doesn’t really have any friends he wants to keep up with. (That part hurts my heart more than anything.)

But I’ve just radically accepted that this year being online was doomed to fail and instead of being angry at him, I’ve made failing ok. I know if he were in an actual classroom he’d be fine. But he’s not so I have to accept the consequences.

Is that the right thing to do? What would you want your parents to do in this situation? I’m asking in earnest!

Every response I received was filled with encouragement that I was doing the right thing by him. Overwhelmingly people told me how they wish their parents had taught them failing was ok and how to fail. Because you know what? Sometimes you fail in life.

Which got me reflecting on teenage me in high school. I was undiagnosed with ADHD and Autism, severely depressed, and blossoming into having Borderline Personality Disorder. My grades, my senior year especially were a mess! And while my mom didn’t yell or punish me, it was very clear I had disappointed her, and that hurt. Instead of being taught how to fail, I was taught that I needed to achieve a certain level to be acceptable.

Fast forward more than 10 years to when I started college. I had it in my head that failure wasn’t an option, only somehow I got the message that anything less than an A was a failure. Sure I graduated 6 years later with top Latin honors, but I also almost died repeatedly because I had stopped making my own blood. If I had been taught to fail or at least accept less than an A, I might have spent less time writing final papers while getting blood transfusions. The two should never mix.

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A Girl and Her Protector

Posted August 22, 2014 By kmarrs

Children of Borderline ParentsMy Samantha and her “Lou-Lou” have always had a unique relationship.  It is a step beyond your typical brother-sister relationship.  They are buddies, but it’s more than that.  It’s almost like a twin bond, but they are years apart and that still isn’t it.

A recent example of this is the recent discovery that when she wakes in the early morning light, but isn’t quite ready to face her day, she breaks out of her room (There is a baby gate up that she can get past easily but it’s there as a visible boundary that all children need.) and crawls into bed with him until the day begins.  Last night there was a fierce thunder-storm and I fully expected her to land into bed with me, but she didn’t.  So I went to check, and sure enough it was Luke’s bed she sought safe haven in.

I have always believed that we all have more than one soul mate.  Some are meant to be life-long lovers.  Some are meant to be life long friends.  Some are meant to come in like a force and leave just as fast, but having played an important life changing role in the eye of the storm of their coming and going.  I can name a few of mine, I assume I have more to come.

I have truly come to believe that my Lucas and Samantha are soul mates.  In a way, they way they act around each other it’s like they are in love, but in a strictly non-sexual way. (Come on, don’t go there.)  They just have this love and need for each other that is fierce and knows no ends.  They find comfort in each other when scared.  He protects her like it’s his sworn duty, not caring that mommy and daddy would be just as happy, nay honored, to protect her.  His patience with her is a patience my Lou-Lou is not well-known for.  She can get away with things their big brother could never dream of.  When he is in deep need of his personal space, and quiet not letting anyone in, there she is by his side.  She doesn’t seem to have to ask to be let in, she’s just in.  Sure, she may not know the worries of my troubled little boy, but she seems to know how to treat them.  Hell, maybe she does know.  They’ve shown signs of being able to read each other’ minds.  You jest, but we’ve made the hive mind joke more than once around here and it’s eerie at times.

I am curious to see how their relationship forms over the years as they mature, and it matures.  However I’m willing to bet it will only get stronger.  She may not always need to crawl into his bed when the midnight storms scare her, but I’m betting if she does need to, he’ll simply role over.  Then as they’re grown and separated by more than a hallway, well… I can honestly say that thought breaks my heart.

My Sambam and Lou-Lou are one of a kind.

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Level 10 aka BPD Word Vomit

Posted June 15, 2014 By kmarrs

word vomit and BPD impulse controlI think everyone has those moments in their life that are on constant repeat even decades later where they are like, “Omg did I really say/do that?” In most cases, I think we blow them out of proportion and we feel this undying mortification or regret for things that we are, in fact, the only ones to remember.  We are, after all, our own biggest critics.

I do also think, however, that someone with BPD who is at their most unstable adds a whole new level to this.  Because while everyone says things that they wish they could take back, we are far more unfiltered and reach astounding heights in our ability to be uncensored, unaware of consequences, and incapable of impulse control.

There are things I have said and done, mostly inadvertently, that I just can’t help wonder if things could be different if they hadn’t been said or done.  The relationships I have destroyed that I held so dear, that I didn’t realize until it was far too late what was happening.  I was that far gone, that unaware of the situation, and that trusting that the other person would understand I was at my worst and didn’t have the skill set to really control my impulses, my thoughts and my situational awareness.  And clearly, that was misplaced trust.

And please don’t get me wrong in that.  The fault is my own.  Everyone realistically has their limits on what they can turn a blind eye to, and me at my worst can push past the limits of even the most patient of people.

I just…

While everyone reflects back on the time they put a foot in their mouth, and mostly with needless worry…

My regrets run deep.

And some wounds, I truly fear, will never heal.

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They were wrong

Posted June 12, 2014 By kmarrs

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Life Can Smell Your Fear

Posted May 29, 2013 By kmarrs

I think life is about doing the things that scare you until they no longer scare you.  When was the last time you did something that scared you?  Did you do it again and again until fear was the last thing you could imagine feeling?

This year has been about crossing things off my to-do list for life.

I’m back in class.  I mean really back.  I’ve taken out loans.  If I stop going, that is all the sooner I have to pay that money back, with no degree to advance my career, to make is possible.

I sat down and wrote out a financial plan.  Some are just goals, like what year I hope to be off all government assistance by.  Some is actually dated such as going in and refinancing our car the first day of my vacation in July.  It’s almost ridiculous that taking control and making a plan could be scarier than floundering in the pools of broke, oh so broke.

This July I’m taking a 9-line zip line tour.  I can only imagine that my current “OMG WEEE!” will have the addition of “I’m going to DIE” once I’ve climbed up high, am strapped in, and it’s time to fly.

I’m boarding a plane in November to meet face-to-face a friend I’ve only ever known online.

While there I’m catching up with another friend I met in real life, who, depending on if she gets the job or not, might be able to help me rappel down the side of a skyscraper.

This year, I’m living.  And living can be some of the scariest shit there is.

So I have to ask, when was the last time you did something that scared you?  Will you comment and tell me about it?

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Stigma

Posted May 8, 2013 By kmarrs

We are what we make of ourselves.  And our disease is what we present it to be.

If you behave badly and use your mental illness as an excuse, you are helping to propel the stigma of mental illness forward.  If I only know one person with BPD and that person makes bad decision after bad decision, drinking, drugging, sleeping around, hurting themselves and all those near them, and then turns around and blames all this behavior on their BPD as if it’s an excuse, as if they can do as they please because they have this disease, then I’m going to assume this is what I can expect from all those who have BPD.  I may well be your future boss, lover, friend.  This makes it hard for all the others who have this disease but fight every.damn.day to not let it define them prove that BPD isn’t a life wrecker.  And I don’t just mean the life of those diagnosed but the lives of those surrounding those diagnosed.

Maybe remission and recovery isn’t about being 100% symptom free.  Maybe it’s about having the symptoms so well-managed and maintained that you can fool even yourself into thinking you are symptom free.

And where are those people standing up saying “Look at me!  Yes I destroyed so many lives including my own for such a long time.  But nowNow!  Now I have skills and a sheer determination that I will no longer drown in my diagnosis.  I am not my diagnosis, I have my diagnosis!”

Those fighting to destroy the stigma.  Those working amazing jobs with respectable careers despite their diagnosis, terrified to let their diagnosis be known because those words could ruin it all, based on the rep of those people making poor decisions and instead of owning up to them, choosing to blame those words.  These people need you to stop and look at your actions.  I’m not saying that you can automatically stop the actions.  But you can choose to own up to what you do, instead of blaming a diagnosis thinking that you can get away with whatever you want now.  You can’t.  Do you know right from wrong?  Then except that you have done wrong.  You, the person, said those words, did those things.  Not the diagnosis.

I’m not saying I’ve never been guilty of this.  We all have at some point.  But now?  Now I’m on the other side.  And if there is one thing I can do from this side, if I get to choose that one thing, then I choose to show those where I’ve been how their actions, and not owning their actions, create the stigma that all those on both sides try to fight.

We are fighting what we, ourselves created.

How’s that working out for you?  I have to say, it isn’t working out so well over here.

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