I read ShadowWolf's last post and was going to write a comment, but the comment grew into more of a kind of blogpost of its own, and I realized it was something I wanted to share not just with ShadowWolf, but my friends, and most importantly I think, the entire world. So there, exhibitionism ahoy, sorry SW. This is what I wanted to say about what you wrote:
Logical people like you and me, we feel that when we do something haphazardly or badly, the world would notice and punish us. This is how our brains are programmed; this is what makes sense. But the world doesn't. I've been so frustrated so many times because I've fucked up, I've been lazy, I've done wrong, and absolutely nothing happens. On the contrary, because we have some skills we consider basic and completely bland but that in all honesty not all people have, we are often praised for things when we would in fact deserve to be reprimanded. And this fucks with our heads, be sure that it does. It turns our worlds upside down, and gives a feeling of, what now? If it's this easy, then why try? If no one can appreciate the difference between something thrown together overnight and something I've put my soul in, then why do it?
Several people have addressed this before. I've read texts about it written by teachers, psychologists and the occational layman like me. We expect the world to give us the feedback we need. But those of us who do well, whether just above average or true geniuses, are expected to take care of ourselves. At least here in Sweden. And some do. Some manage to give themselves the motivation, or they find that some things are worth doing for the pleasure of doing it right. For me, that is writing fiction. I could spend my life writing a single text, simply for the pleasure of doing it perfectly. Sadly, that doesn't apply to anything else in my life, and thus, I've always been sleeping and cheating and lazying my way through school. No one's punished me, but of course it has consequences, like bad studying skills and difficulties motivating myself with anything, as well as a very unclear sense of what I actually want or not, since I never had to work for anything. But anyone who's read psychology knows that that kind of slow-acting consequences score very low on the scale of feedback that actually teach us behavior.
Some people know how to handle us. There are other us:es in grown up teacher-version out there. I have a strong resentment towards them when I meet them, because they actually force me to make an effort, but in the end it is good for me. The times I don't just roll over and give up as soon as an obstacle appears, even if I know I could get over it. But I wish there were more, and I wish I'd met them sooner, and I wish someone had spoken to me about this when I was younger.
My advice is as simple as it is difficult; confront the teacher. Question why it is good, admit you put no effort in it, ask if that shows. And if he says it doesn't ask why. By asking you show you actually want to know and am prepared for critizism. And it might be a wake-up call for him to keep a keener eye on you. But it's hard, because it means making an effort to make others expect more, and for me at least, that's willing suicide according to my inner instincts. No more lazying.
The second reason to do that is that, like a friend told me, sometimes we think things about ourselves that we subconsiously project onto the surroundings. I believe people always see my limp very clearly. I believe people think I'm too fat, and I believe people think I dress badly, and I believe people think I speak too low and unclear. If you pick out the "people think" part, you might have the actual truth. I don't know. But sometimes, we believe something so strongly that we're convinced everyone else thinks the same. So confront him, tell him you want the critizism, question how he thinks you could possibly grow as a writer if people hold back on you. Tell him you're not shy and fragile. Show him what you expect of him. If he can live up to it, he might. If he can't, well, there's a lot of teachers that can't, which is sad, but has to be lived with.
All this, because we expect or want people to understand us. Someone told me when I was writing instruction pamphlets; assume people are idiots and spell it out. Idiots are nice and gullible and frustrating as hell, but they can be educated. And if they're still doing it wrong after you've explained everything clearly, then they're not idiots; they're ignorant. Which is like being an idiot without the nice and gullible.
3 months ago