Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"Why are you unsubscribing from DailyWorth?"

I have a bad habit: I read fucking EVERYTHING, it seems, and it is an egregious time-suck that I need to eliminate with extreme prejudice... like with a bazooka.  Though I suppose that would be rather bad for the house, the forest I currently live in, and terrify the neighbours (some of whom are crazy Republican "Mountain-Types" who's shotguns are treasured members of the family, along with their Bibles, and would just take loud explosions more than a little badly, poor things) and finding my hard-drive afterword would be a challenge worthy of Mensa- which I am expressly not high-enough IQ to be a member of.  I asked.

Do you know how much the embarrassment burns when you get the letter back that says "you missed it by this much"?  I hate them, I hate them forever.  Well, I shouldn't really, they still allowed me to attend the local meetings, since I only failed by a few points (OK, it was closer to nine, but who's counting?).  Actually, because I didn't have the money to pay for the real assessment, I only did the tests for a lark, of course commenting on how many of the questions had nothing to do with intelligence at all, but were rote memorization questions, that ethnocentric questions posed a problem, and that it didn't take into account creative, out-of-the-box thinking that ADHD/dyslexics like me are famous for...  I had to cover the fact that I sucked abominably at the mathematics sets, after all.  The local chapter of the Mensa-folks looked it over and told me what my "score" was...  But, the embarrassment was still the same...

Tangents are another feature of my sort of mind: "confused and prone to wandering".

And, my mate should possibly stand at my shoulder when I'm online, if only to keep me from signing up to yet another newsletter of doom.  It can range all over the map from Steampunk Emporium (still fun, so I'm keeping it), anything by MoveOn.org or 350.org, the Centre For Biological Diversity (no, I did NOT spell "centre" wrong.  I'm Canadian, and we spell it correctly, thank you very much), political sites, atheist sites, joke-pages like ICanHazCheezeburger...  The list is long, and I've actually forgotten some of them, why I signed up in the first place, or I'd thought "I got rid of that one ages ago!"

I'm compulsive, and reading anything, even the backs of cereal-boxes, has been my obsession since I was around ten or eleven years old.

Now, when you're a nerd, this isn't an unusual obsession, by any means, but I think my situation was a bit different from the norm- at least, whatever "norm" we nerds ascribe to.  I was functionally illiterate until I was... well, ten or eleven years old...

One of the few things my mother did for me that I think was actually a good idea, was sending me to a Catholic-school run by the teaching order of Grey nuns (for which I'm sure she had a fondness for, since the Order was founded in Montreal, her home-town), her "reason" being that it would be a more "disciplined" environment.  It must be mentioned here that "discipline" in my family had a distinctly different context than the usual one found in dictionaries, and relied heavily on the physical.

Ah, screw the nice language!  Mum figured I'd get more smacks from the nuns, who were not reticent about using a ruler on someone's palms for even minor offences (failing to complete home-work was one), and this would somehow "improve" my ability to learn.  Goodness knows, I was doing terribly in the public schools.  Public-school teachers weren't allowed to give students the ruler treatment, you see.  I had cruddy grades, no stick across knuckles...  2+2 added up to five, and QED, I needed more whuppin's more often in the school environment.   My Mum, such a special person...

She also seemed to be of the opinion that my difficulty in school was somehow my fault, as if having ADHD and dyslexia wasn't a factor that just might inhibit learning and retention.  It didn't stop me, of course, just slowed things down to a level an impatient woman like my mother (who also has ADHD and dyslexia- what a surprise) wasn't able to accept.

Forget about explaining to her that being bullied constantly, and being left with burning anger, resentment and humiliation throughout an already miserable day was more than a little distracting from school-work.  I'd daydream, chew on my pencils and doodle all over my pages (I went through more pens and pencils than any other student I knew of), not even realizing I was finding any sort of escape I could.  I only knew that I would get out of class eventually, to finish the routine of the rest of my day: get pushed around in the halls on my way out, jeered at by many I passed, spit upon, laughed at, smashed into lockers or water-fountains, chased home and then be yelled at, smacked around and generally be treated much the same as I was in school, but on the other side of the door to my house...

Anyway, despite how much I absolutely hated the Catholic-school's Principle (a cast-iron bitch with an utterly dead sense of humour- or she never had one to begin with), I rather liked my teachers, and I learned.  There was a strange trait in me that only served to further isolate me and mark me as the social-pariah I was:  I actually liked classes.  I liked learning.  Even my husband has noticed this.  It's really difficult for me to keep to one type of art, because my life's mantra seems to be "is it new?  Can I learn something?" and, "how much can I suck up from library or the 'Net on this?"

One teacher had the heart and compassion to see that I was unhappy, and did what she could (within the confines of her Order, I suppose) to give me at least a few successes and fun times.  She is responsible for discovering my talent for illustration, and I was then designated Holy Day artist, giving me a big set of coloured chalk with which to put my masterpieces on the blackboard.  She saw that I was having trouble with reading and writing when I was in grade five, and took time out of her short day to get me past the abysmal reading comprehension I was currently at.  Functionally illiterate at the age of eleven or twelve.  How nice.  I could read barely past a grade three level, but Boy Howdy, I could draw.   But, by the time the school-year ended, I was beyond the grade five level and up to roughly grade ten.

I've been inhaling libraries ever since.

Sister Nadine of Belgium, I thank you.   If it ever came down to public nominations for sainthood, I'd put in your name.  <3

Anyway, back to the crap I keep ingesting from the 'Net.  I have to cut down, reduce the amount of... stuff I read and get in my inbox.  It took less than two months to get over two-thousand e-mails...  And I had to weed through every one and pitch those that were no longer relevant.  Days it took- technically, I'm still weeding.  I'd rather be weeding the garden I don't yet have.  Yes, that makes sense- stop that!  I'm down to around 900, at least.

One of the sites I was excited about, at first, had to do with financial-planning, budgeting and generally just doing better than hand-to-mouth advice for women running their own businesses or wanting to run one...  It was a new site, and there were some great articles at it's inception, but I'd noticed the quality and topics had rapidly gone downhill within the short year I'd been following it.  Damn.  There were some neat things in there.

The "unsubscribe" widget is so handy- most times, you just go to a stop-page, hit that button, and you're done.  No more stuff from whatever site you're junking.  But, some have taken to giving you "boo-hoo" messages saying they were sad to see you go.  Really?  Is the site (or those who put it together) seriously telling it's readers that they even know who they are as individuals?  That "we're sad to see you go?"

Bizarre new take on the old form-letter, and just about as sincere...

But, this one, Daily-Worth, had a slightly different approach.  They had the "boo-hoo" script, of course, but they also gave you the option to tell them why you were leaving...  *grins in evil glee, rubbing her hands together*

With me, that's not a good idea.  I'm wordy, and I will tell you exactly why I think something blows goats without a condom.

So, this is what I sent them:

"Frankly, there is very little I relate to in the dailies, lately- I'm not a fashionista, into make-up or shoes.  Conversations about 401K's sound like Greek to me- I don't have one, and I likely never will.  Opinion-articles about women in the board-room and how they get reputations of being "bitches" because they have to be forceful, while it was an interesting discussion on sexism in business and how little things have changed, even in this day and age, just failed to grab me, since the closest I've gotten to being a CEO of anything is running a very small, personal design business for custom-clothing and art.  Investing has never been a big priority for a person like me who's spent more time so far below the poverty line- that actually REACHING it was a fantastic dream of financial comfort- than I ever had being even within the shadow of anything resembling affluence.

The articles read like "Cosmo's Financial-section", and are just as fluffy- so it seems things have devolved to that level.

I really like the idea of empowered women making a stronger mark in the financial and leadership worlds, but advice on my shoe-collection or "how to save money by cutting everyday things" type of articles suggesting that I cut-back on things I never buy or use in the first place just seems ridiculous.

I GREW UP in poverty, I KNOW how to keep out of debt: never get into debt in the FIRST place.  You HAD to, or you didn't get to eat, or have a roof over your head.  The common suggestions I've been seeing in the articles are so out of touch with REAL people working to get out of the poverty-cycle are laughable when you attempt to apply them to their (and my) situation: I don't use credit cards if I can avoid it, don't own a car, never buy "high-fashion" anything or take expensive trips.  Telling me to cut out trips to Starbucks is nice, for example- if I actually bought anything from them more than once a year...

See where I'm going?

The stuff I've been reading in the newsletter seem like missives from an alien, upper-middle-class world to me, where people with $60-$80K (and higher!) incomes discuss strategies to improve their investments, how to "downsize" by selling off their extra car or old wardrobe, or save a bit on their taxes, where I'd like to make enough money to actually PAY taxes!  I relate to nearly NONE of it, at the moment.  So yeah, unsubscribe me, please.  Let me know when you folks come back to the Earth I actually live on, and I might start reading it again.

Yours- a reader wondering where the articles I'd first read and had signed up for, that had actually been useful, had gone and why the "Pod-People" replaced them with "girly" fluff."

Yeah, I hit them with the sexism card.  I mean, these are articles written by women for women, and yet they're continuing the very stereotypes they said they wanted to debunk in the first place!?  Shoe-buying advice?  Really?  There actually was an "article" that was more of a glorified advertisement than anything serious... about shoes, of all the stupid things.  Another article I mention up there was written about female CEOs and whether or not being "tough" in the board-room in order to be taken seriously was being a bitch.  We still have to worry about being taken seriously?  After nearly a hundred years of having the vote?  After more than sixty years of being in the work-place? After fifty of the Civil-rights Movement?  What?!

I thought we were in the twenty-first century!  That junk read like drivel from the seventies- from the last century!  Times I wonder why I hadn't seen the underlying "Barbie-girl" in that site.  You'd think I'd have noticed, considering it was clad in bright colours, slick, scrap-booking/retro graphics and well... lots of pink...

So, it's gone, along with a lot of other sites I just never have time to go to any more.  Pity, really, since there are many that I still like.

Now, maybe I'll actually have some time for myself- or this blog- so I can convince readers to waste their time reading my attempts at serious dialogue and prose.  :-D

Though, I gotta say that I still harbour a fondness for LOLcats.

Is that too "girly" of me?

Naaaaahhhhhh.  <3

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