Friday, August 10, 2012


I'm taking a psychology class this fall as an independent study.  I'm pretty excited because it will be 100% self-paced.  However I'm less excited now that I've received the syllabus for the class.

One of the main assignments is to construct a family "genogram."  I'm supposed to interview various family members to learn about grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, siblings, etc.  For all these people I'm supposed to have age, place of birth, date of birth, date/age/cause of death if appropriate, medical illnesses, mental or emotional illnesses, eating disorders, chemical abuse/addictions, other addictions, marriage(s), divorce(s), children, abortions, affairs, separations, marital discord, strong bonds, careers, etc.

Ok first off I have no contact with any of my biological family and don't plan on it any time soon.  (Ok I have very limited connection with a few select people but still).  And second, holy fucking personal!  Even I did have contact with all these people...a list of all the issues of everyone in my family?!

Then there's a list of questions to answer along with all of this (I'll throw in some short answers in bold just for fun):

1. What were the messages that you received from your parents as you grew up (verbal and nonverbal)? You're a piece of shit, we wish you didn't exist, you're only purpose is our sick pleasure.  That was verbal and nonverbal.

2. Outside of your family, what other adults served as strong role models when you were a child? There were a few good teachers and such out there.

3. Discuss your family traditions, and the messages that you received from these traditions (holidays, special days, accomplishments, etc.). If my parents remembered to celebrate holidays very little good came from them.  Generally holidays made them angry.  I still despise holidays now and they really mess with my head.

4. Discuss some of the values that you hold today and the individuals you patterned these values after in your family.  Thankfully I didn't take ANY of my family's values.  Values I have have probably come from my foster family and friends.

5. Discuss family fears, loyalties, views on money and trust.  Family fears...yeah...there could be a lot in there.

6. Summarize your genogram (patterns, discoveries, etc.).  What did you learn?  Surprises?  Not much I can learn now about my family...not much I want to "discover."

The assignment description ends with, "Have fun with this assignment and I hope you learn a lot about your family."

This just pisses me off sooooooooo much.  It's bad enough that there's these kinds of assignments in elementary school, but in college?!  And what am I supposed to learn about psychology from this?  Like I said even if I had family members to ask, what am I really going to learn from prodding into the personal business of others?  That issues like substance abuse are genetic?  Check.  My parents are addicts.  Their parents are addicts.  Got it.

I figure I have a few options.

1. Do the assignment with what I know about my family, which is very little.  It would have a lot of gaps in it.  What I know is all pretty bad.

2. Write about my foster family.  That might work but I can't answer questions about growing up with them, and it probably doesn't get the answers they're going for anyway.

3. Make shit up.

4. Talk to the course instructor and ask for ideas or a different assignment.

I'm open to other ideas too.  Number 4 is probably what I should do.  But I'm not excited to start out the class by having to talk about how fucked up my family is, so I'd rather go with 3.  The thing that gets to me is that I feel like psychology is one of those fields that people like me with screwed up lives are drawn to.  I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who has a family history they'd prefer not to talk about.  Plus back to what I said before, I don't think anyone should be asked for a laundry list of their family's issues as a school assignment.  Oh and this is an introductory class.  This isn't some high level class in genetics where it might really be meaningful to study this stuff.  It's just a stupid pre-requisite.

I was getting excited to be starting school again since I'm feeling so much better than last fall, but now I'm back to stressed about it.  I know things will work out somehow, but it's really stressing me out and pissing me off right now.  The good news is that this is all online so I don't have to talk about any of this stuff face to face, regardless of what I decide.

Anyway...I'm still grateful to be starting back to school.  No matter how frustrated I am right now, I'm excited to be making more progress towards a degree.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Olympic announcers are stupid

Figured I could use some humor, so don't go taking offense if your uncle's friend's cousin's neighbor's former roommate is an olympic announcer.  Actually, that'd be pretty badass if said relative/friend-like person is an olympic announcer.

Anyway, I've been watching the olympics a lot lately.  I've discovered that Olympic announcers are stupid.  It's not their fault.  They have to talk throughout entire events.  If you asked me to talk non-stop for an hour or more, I wouldn't come across as especially bright either.  I've been keeping a collection of especially fun lines I've heard while watching.

"She's really getting a workout today!"  As opposed to those sports that are easy and require no physical effort?

"That was a race from start to finish!"  Going the other way would be awfully confusing.

"This really is a must-win match!"  Said before almost every match of a single-elimination tournament.  Ya think?

"She tired, but she still had the energy to jump 3 times after winning."  Ummmm descriptive?

"He's really trained hard for this."  Unlike most olympians who just sailed right in with no effort...maybe just from eating Subway a lot...

"4th place is the worst place to finish at the olympics!"  Ok I get their point here, but I'd choose 4th over last.  Or even over 5th.

"They're not messing around tonight!"  Nice of them to finally take this whole international competition thing seriously...

"That was a nice hug.  A good, quality, meaningful hug."  You know you're really short on things to talk about when you start critiquing hugs between teammates!

"She's making sure to take care of her tootsies tonight."  (In beach volleyball, after one player got cold, numb feet in a previous game).  Tootsies??  Really??

I'm sure there's more but that's all I can think of for the moment.  I'll throw in one more bit of comedy that shows that just how easily entertained I am.  I'm watching women's beach volleyball.  The top part of the uniform for beach volleyball pairs essentially looks like a sports bra with 3 letters of the country written on it.  I'm currently watching Brazil play, so they are wearing bright yellow bras that say BRA on them in large capital letters, both front and back.  And it's cracking me up.  I appreciate them being labeled in case I get confused:

Oh, and none of these holds a candle to a couple of olympics ago when the catch phrase for the diving announcers on a good dive was that the diver "really put it in the water!"  I would really hate to see them put it anywhere else!  Apparently I wasn't the only one because I haven't heard that said yet this year.