Explaining the Inner Workings of My Mental 'Computer'


Here in Wisconsin, the white stuff is green for others. Snow removal crews and their trucks with flashing lights take over communities. I became part of that fraternity last year. Like any other circle, you learn a new language: “pushing product,” turning parking lots into “applesauce.” The last one makes me smile every time I hear it.

Anyways, another thing I have learned is that the hours are unpredictable. Not healthy for anyone, but the importance of sleep/wake schedule is something I bring up in nearly every group I attend and during some conversations. Today I woke up to a text, sent three hours earlier, telling me to meet at our first property. Just before I pushed send I realized it would be too much information. I didn’t want a valid reason to be read as an excuse by someone who doesn’t understand. It would’ve been overwhelming.

Then I was taken back to my college days. I graduated with a mathematics major and an art minor. My fellow classmates saw four years of me doing math in pen, often times color, confidently and with few errors. What they didn’t see was the meeting I had with my advisor. Only a couple classes away from a computer science minor, it suddenly was something I wanted no part of. The pieces. Programming and problem solving was extremely interesting, but being introduced to all those parts at once was overwhelming.

Today, a dozen years and some tough lessons later, it’s my chance to be the teacher, a good one. I’ve told our snow removal leader about my “computer,” but he isn’t ready for me to open it up. I’m confident I can help him progress through the course, but there are quite a few pieces (some I may have to brush up on along the way). Education helps fight stigma, but an advanced lesson too soon can add to stigma. Like any good teacher, I don’t want him to drop the course.

One day individuals, once in pain, their supporters, and somehow the crowd will receive a degree. That last part may not make sense, but as a student I’ve learned not everything does. And that’s OK.

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Thinkstock photo via golubovy


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