I’m going to make a bold statement that you should just accept as fact: I handle massive change quite well. Now, hear me out, I legitimately handle it really well. For you naysayers, what I don’t handle well is the uncertainty of knowing whether or not massive change will happen. (As a warning, the next few paragraphs go into moderate detail about my realization that puberty was a thing and a thing I would be experiencing eventually. Please feel free to skip this if your stomach isn’t up for armpit hair. I won’t judge you. Actually, I won’t even know about it, which is even better! Thank you anonymity of the internet which I’ve violated by using my real name on my blog and linking to it from my personal website.)
For example, when I was in 3rd grade and I had the misfortune of being exposed to my first sex ed video about your body changing in strange and mysterious ways thanks to being in a multi-age classroom where no one else in the building was exposed to it until 5th grade. I was distraught. Fat balls bouncing around on my chest until the end of time that would inflate and shrink based on weight, age, and baby-making status? That sounded horrible. And why more hair? I kept seeing all these razor commercials, and so I was pretty sure growing more hair was really just a ploy to make them more money and there had to be a way to stop it. My armpits were completely comfortable without anything stinky coming out of them, and no, I don’t want to rub something inside them every day to keep from offending other people’s nostrils, but thank you for the soap.
The kicker? I was going to bleed for about a week once a month until sometime in my 50s or 60s? Why? No, seriously, why? That seemed more like a ploy to slowly kill me than an inevitable fact, and I immediately complained to my teacher about these potential changes. She told me it was something all young women go through, it was miraculous, so on and so forth, to which I was horrified. I needed to know when. If I knew when these horrendous things would happen to my body, warping it into a grotesque vessel for this torment supposedly known as “womanhood” topped off with this thing called cramps that until then I had only heard of as a reason to not go swimming after eating (false, by the way), then I knew I could prepare for it.
I took the only reasonable action. I demanded my teacher tell me exactly when this horror would be unleashed upon my body, to which she responded, “Everyone has it happen eventually, it’s just whenever is the right time for you, dear!” Dear?! Ms. C, I was going to bleed most of my life and experience something that kills you when you go swimming with hair all over the place and strange, awful smells dripping off my body, and I was now “dear”? Absolutely not. Completely inaccurate!
I immediately set to waiting, uncertain when to prepare for the change, but knowing it would come. I prematurely started doing things my older sisters were doing, knowing it would inevitably be my fate. I shaved my nearly hairless legs and armpits. I wore a sports bra. I waited with the madness once encompassed by Waiting for Godot, and this was in the days before smart phones, so waiting didn’t involve reading the internet for entertainment either. It was silent patience embodied by pre-adolescent madness. I had encountered limbo. Waiting for Armpit Hair.
That’s the kind of change I don’t handle the best – the kind that is maybe going to happen but hasn’t happened yet and you have no real way of knowing when so sort of make plans for it but also sort of don’t because you need to continue existing as you are now or else you’ll be a useless lump of lady meat. So I’ve made an effort to address that, since after all the root source of my issues with the unknown is anxiety about when it will be unleashed upon me, which is simply silly. After all, the most miraculous thing about life is that it happens while you’re making plans, and most iterations of those plans become wasted. Fortunately, being the nerd that I am, I create multiple iterations of most plans, so while the vast majority are wasted, there’s always one lucky guy that gets to be executed, and he prances forth before all my wasted energy that’s discarded to the side as irrelevant, bragging and boasting about his momentary utilitarianism.
Now, for you naysayers, let me give you some examples of change I handled quite well. I, a former commitment-phobic lady who hadn’t really dated anyone for more than 3 dates aside from one abnormal instance prior that was still within a month’s span, very easily accepted when I met my husband I would be an idiot not to spend the rest of my life with him, so married his handsome self. Once I realized I was going to most likely marry him, the when of it all caused some stress, but thanks to constant exposure to that uncertainty (including my husband moving up the wedding date so we had 3 weeks to throw it together in the middle of the school year, which was amazing though very tiring), I got over it, which has been pretty helpful for rolling along with a fairly impulsive man.
I transitioned into an independent adult pretty well too. Talking to a lot of my friends in undergrad and some recent graduates at the time, a number of people apparently had absolutely no money sense when they were first independent, and though credit cards were free money. I, fortunately, never had that mindset, so I never built a substantial amount of debt I’d need to claw my way out of. There’s definitely some weird stuff about being an independent adult, such as retirement and insurance, but researching it hasn’t been too rough, and I feel I’ve generally made fairly good decisions in those areas. I’m pretty grateful to my mom for my money sense, since when I was a teenager I thought it was weird she talked to me about money, but I was later grateful she did. There were some lessons that I’d rather hear from her than learn elsewhere, including the infamous, “Your father wants to buy a tractor and we live on a 3000 sqft lot”.
Finally, the decision to program. I won’t go into too much detail about what prompted the decision, but I have set solidly that this is what I want to do. Programming and I have been 10 steps apart most of my life as I have previously mentioned, and now that I’ve accepted the fact that I love it, I feel like kicking myself for not jumping in head first sooner. This isn’t to say I have any regrets about decisions I’ve made in the past as far as my education and career go, and I certainly think every experience I’ve had has helped shape who I am today. I’ve learned so much patience, empathy, compassion, working with little resources, and how to positively influence someone’s life to help them make more proactive and productive decisions. There are leadership skills you learn in teaching that if you can apply in other areas of your life lead to a great deal of positive change for those around you in general. I know how to have tough conversations with people about anything from substance abuse, body odor, or the injury their decisions are causing their relationships with others and themselves. I know how to tell someone they’re wrong, but do so in a way that they know I still care about them, and that their wrongness doesn’t impact their goodness. Teaching has genuinely made me a better human being.
Coding takes a lot of aspects that I love about teaching but applies them in a very different way. To name a few, you constantly learn new information to better implement practices (though for me currently this may be extremely more so since I’m such a novice). You also get to solve problems and puzzles, which I absolutely love. It’s great tackling a puzzle without clearly knowing the solution then reaching that, “Aha!” moment later. Then there’s the collaboration. Talking to someone else about code and reading their code helps solidify my understanding of concepts, just like watching someone else interact with a student with challenging behavior in the classroom to learn their approach. I also love that once you learn something new that can make your code more elegant or efficient, being able to go back and revise it, test it immediately, and see the results. Testing it and trying to break it is great, since it’s like finding holes in your logic constantly then attempting to improve it.
Alright, new goal, make less posts where I inevitably start talking about how much I like coding and learning.
My current project is a game of Battleship. I’m not too far on at at the moment, mostly working on data structures, but I’m pretty excited to get it all working. In fact, I better hit the books and keep learning so I can get it down.
On shoulder related news, I had a doctor’s visit today. I’m on the same restrictions for 6 more weeks, but he gave me a steroid injection in my joint, and I have got to tell you, so much less pain afterward. It was amazing. The reason for it is so we can push it in PT a bit harder since currently he believes pain is inhibiting my progress. More pushing is amazing news. I feel like it has been forever at this point, likely because it has been, but I’m truly grateful for the progress I’ve made. Each day I feel like I’m getting a bit more of my strength back, and each day the pain decreases a bit more.