Blogger Widgets Ender-Chan's Thoughts

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Disability and the Big Five

The Big Five is a personality system created by Paul Costa and Robert McCrae (National Institute of Health), Warren Norman (University of Michigan), and Lewis Goldberg (University of Oregon). Despite some differences, these researchers all concluded that human personality can be boiled down to five traits: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism, that can be remembered by the acronym OCEAN. This system, like MBTI, is a popular one to use in work contexts and is more about discovering useful qualities for productivity than understanding one's baselines with regards to cognition, emotion, and motivation.

Openness is intellectual curiosity and receptiveness to new ideas. Someone with higher levels of openness is more apt to explore different concepts and perspectives than have a one-track mind with regards to forming opinions. For example, a high O person may be more open to the idea of a stair-climbing device than a low O person who may dismiss the technological advancement as "ableist". Generally, high O people are laissez-faire and have a "whatever works" approach while low O people have strict guidelines as to what should or should not be done.

Conscientiousness is the quality of organization and discipline. Someone with higher levels of conscientiousness, regardless of other factors, is likely to try to distribute their energies and plan out the day than just go about things as they happen without much of a plan. High C people are more likely to use planning and schedules to work around--and even with--their disability than low C people who are more likely to just go with the flow.

Extroversion in the Big Five is sociability, which is not to be confused with extroversion in other systems in which extroversion deals with energy or cognition rather than outward presentation. High E people are more likely to actively gather and interact with others while low E people are more content with the company of their own musings. It is common to see high E people at conferences, protests, and interviews while low E people tend towards things like blogging and more one-on-one methods of advocacy and activism.

Agreeableness is tolerance and sensitivity to others' feelings. High A people are more likely to want to sympathize with someone regardless of truth or fairness in the other party's statements. Low A people are more apt to prioritize truth or fairness over sympathy. This factor also affects how one reacts to inconvenient situations and/or disappointment. A high A person is more likely to want to change themselves to fit the situation while a low A person is more likely to want the situation to adjust to them.

Neuroticism is not solely anxiety, but a tendency towards strong emotions. Neuroticism is not a purely negative trait as it can be the catalyst for passion. High N people experience a wide variety of emotions throughout the course of any given day while low N people are more even-keeled with regard to emotions. This trait is not to be confused with bursts of stress or just raw anxiety. This deals more with how anxiety is used and (not) expressed rather than level.

Above, you see my personal Big Five inventory. My percentiles for each category are:

O: 80
C: 35
E: 22
A: 6
N: 96

My highest scoring category is Neuroticism. Being predominantly High N, I am prone to strong emotions, especially anxiety. However, the presence of an anxiety disorder may have inflated my Neuroticism score. Likewise, the presence of autism may have lowered my Extroversion and Agreeableness scores based on how I answered the test. My O score may have been inflated by my giftedness simply because I can understand a wider variety of ideas and how they work in various contexts. Despite all these factors, however, I feel that this is an accurate reflection of the qualities I possess.


Comment Prompts

  • How can personality testing be made more accurate for neurodivergent people? 
  • Can the Big Five personality system be useful in disability activism? Why or why not?
  • Compare and contrast the Big Five with other systems. 










Wednesday, November 30, 2016

It's a Trade

You walk into a party dressed to the nines with your makeup on point. The air smells like your favorite food. There are people there, but none of them seem to want to talk to you. They stare and whisper as you pass by. You maintain confidence long enough to duck into a bathroom and use a mirror to check if anything seems amiss. Your hair is fine. So is everything else. There's no giant food stain on your clothes. Even so, the party guests seem to be repulsed by the sight of you. Running your hands over your clothes you decide that the problem is your body. Because of this, you decide to limit yourself to the vegetable platter for the rest of the party.

When home, you check your social media. There are pictures of you everywhere. "I'm so jealous." "I wish I looked like you." "You're so lucky." You don't feel as lucky as everyone claims you are because people disperse at the mere sight of you. It happens everywhere you go: your favorite coffee shop, your job, just walking down the street. No one says "Hi." They just stare and whisper. You think about posting about what you experienced, but you decide against it. It's easier to be pretty, isn't it? Who are you to complain when so many people want what you have?

Do you think it is better to be so ugly that you repulse people or so pretty that you scare them away? Remember that just because someone has a characteristic that supposedly makes their life easier doesn't mean it always does. How did it feel to be the pretty person in the story? Isolating? Confusing? Like you weren't really that pretty?

Milestone envy has always struck a chord with me. Everything has a price and these posts seem to dismiss that. Contrary to popular belief, a milestone is not an absolute gain. It's a trade. The price of walking is falling more often. The price of talking is saying the wrong thing. The price of intelligence is not being able to relate to those around you. The price of talent is having absolutely no sense of satisfaction. The price of being able to do things is making mistakes. Some things have heftier price tags than others and some have hidden fees. There are negative and/or untrue assumptions for pretty much everything, even positive qualities.

Remember: Even the best of gains have a price. That group of kids you envy have sacrificed many other things to be where they are.


Watch these musicians. What do you think they traded to be here?

Friday, November 11, 2016

Persona

What mask should I wear today?
Red or black or blue or gray?
Feathers, jewels, "Yes" or "No"?
I'm not sure of the way to go.

Everyone wants a different thing.
In many directions, there I swing
Extravagant, plain, what do you want?
There's not a mask I've haven't bought.

Which one should I wear today?
What's the part that I should play?
The role, the script, I'll do it all.
After all, such is my call.

Friday, November 4, 2016

I'd Like to Talk About this Owlturd Comic


Panels in Verbal Chronological Order:
  1. A square, finding a circular hole, says "Oh no! The hole is a circle, but I am a square."
  2. The square, in dismay, says "How will I ever fit in?"
  3. One circle suggests "You could just go in sideways."
  4. The square says "You could just shut up and let me be special."
This comic was deemed "ableist" by several people, causing the creator to remove the comic and say the following:

I think I fucked up. Usually I can tell these things when there are a bunch of people (quietly) telling me I fucked up, and also when they are a bunch of people using my comics to justify judging others, which they’re never meant for.

My intent with the last comic, like usual, was self-deprecation. I’m supposed to be the square. I often romanticize being an outcast in society, so when the circle essentially points out “you can still fit in, you’re not such an outcast,” I respond by saying “SHUT UP, YES I AM.” Because, y’know, I romanticize it.

This was the intent, but looking at it now, mistakes were made. For many people, the thing that I romanticize is not a choice. I’m going to take this one down, and might not have another one to put up today.

I’m sorry.

Have a great rest of your day, peeps.

Given that I am a huge Owlturd fan, I was sorely disappointed that the artist had to remove one of his comics due to audience pressure. Owlturd is a brilliant comic series that revolves around somewhat dark, self-deprecating humor. My favorite comics are the Type A/Type B comics. The comic above is another one of my favorites from Owlturd. The creator claimed the comic was a jab at himself for romanticizing his status as an outcast.

Frankly, I don't see anything ableist about this comic. The square and circles could represent any two different groups trying to cooperate and do things together. The reality is that some people do act like this regardless of disability status. Although the creator intended this comic to be self-deprecation, I interpreted the comic as a satire on social justice warrior extremism. Social justice warrior extremists are often seen demonizing "privileged" groups, pitting levels of "oppression" against each other, and censoring others because they are supposedly a certain kind of "-ist". These actions do not help anyone and detract from other, more important issues. Moreover, these people will never be satisfied or listen to input from outside parties as is seen with the square.

In the comic itself, the circle proposed a solution to the square's problem. It may not have been the best solution possible, but every solution starts somewhere. The square did not (1) try the proposed solution or (2) propose a different, better solution (e.g. "Cut the hole into a shape of a square"). Instead, the square insisted on being mad and not bothering with a possible solution. The creator said people were using his comics to "justify judging others." Seeing as how people will do horrible things to anything nowadays, I don't agree with the creator's decision as a person, but respect his course of action as a performing artist.

What do you think of this comic? Do you think it was ableist or just an overreaction on the audience's part?

Friday, October 28, 2016

Collecting Pieces

Welcome to the path.
The path is very difficult and can lead most anywhere.
No one knows why it's been established in the first place
With no alternate route.
I've been on the path since I was very young.
I can see the divergences
Off the path
Into the unknown.
That's how far along I am.
And how did I get here?

On the way, we're supposed to collect
Pieces.
It starts out easy enough.
The pieces are small.
Some find them faster than others.
The goal is to find them the fastest
And the most.

We reach checkpoints in the path every so often
To tally up what we found.
Most people get around 70% of what they were supposed to find.
Others get higher and others get lower
But you'll be left behind if you get lower.

Things get harder with each step.
The pieces get larger and harder to find.
Some of them have sharp edges.
Others skitter around and escape
The moment you capture them.
You need to use your previous pieces to hold them down.

Eventually, the pieces get so large
That you have to start making sacrifices.
Which piece do you keep?
Unfortunately, the checkpoints demand more and more
Pieces at this point.
How did I make room for everything?

I started by limiting my food
To make room for more pieces.
Then, I sacrificed my shelter.
Could I make one from the pieces I had?
I would have forgone clothing
If it didn't have pockets for my pieces.
Even so, it still wasn't enough to count at the checkpoints.
They were never satisfied with me
And, frankly, I had similar sentiments.

My case isn't unusual either.
I've seen people die on the path all the time.
They either get eaten by wild beasts
Or starve
Or freeze
Or overheat.
All in the name of those pieces.
I've been wondering, now, if the quest should be pursued at all.








Friday, October 14, 2016

"Success" and Disability

Everyone wants to succeed, right? It's why we go to school, work, and carry out the course of our lives: to achieve success. The universal images of success include an athlete scoring points for their team, a CEO at the top of a company flaunting wealth, an A or equivalent score on a test, and rising from nothing to make it to the top. I have been threatened with working at a fast food establishment if I do not do well in school many times.

And what does success look like with disability? It doesn't look all that that different apart from celebrating smaller-scale victories more often and slightly more liberties within the aforementioned images of success. I thought I would be successful according to these definitions. The last time I tried to be, it didn't end up too well. It was then that I realized that academic success wasn't for me. I moved on thinking about "success" more and more now that I am at a time in my life when a failure to prove myself worthy will seal my fate.

At first, others defined success for me. If I met their standards, I was good to go. Even if I put in no honest effort, if I made the grade, I was proud of myself. I shouldn't have been, because, even if my work was high-quality in the eyes of others, it was sloppy and halfhearted in my eyes. That, to me, is unacceptable. Then came a time when, even when I was working honestly, I didn't yield any reward. I blamed myself for my lack of success. I thought I lacked the character to get through, but it turned out that I just wasn't what they were looking for. No matter how hard I tried to be that, I never fit the form they sought. Respecting these preferences, I moved on instead of demanding an apology.

It was then that I realized that success is something that I have to define for myself. One of my best grades last year was in Algebra II. That is something I am ashamed of because I wasted my time and energy on something that only made me hate myself instead of directing my energies towards my passion for art and language. I spiraled into a time of depression that robbed me of pleasure, so much so that even music couldn't lift me out of the hole I was in.

I thought success with a disability looked like a Paralympic athlete crossing the finish line in a race, someone with a mental illness graduating with a 4.0 GPA despite being dragged into hades, or an autistic person discovering a source of clean, infinite, and controlled energy. I then realized that such goals are not for me. These definitions of success are not compatible with the way I think. I think like an artist. I think in quality, not in quantity. Color, consistency, composition, clarity, intention, focal point, tempo, intonation, timbre, and emotion are how I measure my successes. Subjectivity picks up where objectivity leaves off.

Success is subjective. I wish I had known that years ago.











Friday, September 16, 2016

Disability Five Song Challenge

It is said that our favorite songs express what we struggle to say to others, so what do your favorite songs say about your disability experiences? Describe your disability experiences using only five songs.

Warning: Rolling Girl contains rapid flashing. 

How is the current me? Really, there's nothing we can do. Someone like the annoying you, I really hate.
Doudai, genjou no boku wa soukai, doushiyou mo nai na urusai na omae nante dai kirai da
どうだい、現状の僕は そうかい、どうしようもないな 
うるさいなお前なんて大嫌いだ
When will you grow up? What the heck is 'growing up' in the first place?
Mensekihi no koushiki iemasu ka kodomo no toki no yume wa iemasu ka
面積比の公式言えますか
子供の時の夢は言えますか
The girl says, the girl says, as she orchestrated the meaning in her spoken words.
Shoujo wa iu shoujo wa iu kotoba ni imi o kanadenagara!
少女は言う 少女は言う
言葉に意味を奏でながら!

I've already realized that I won't ever amount to anything. "Talent is worse than mediocrity," but what is talent in the first place?
Nanimono ni mo narenai koto ni kizuite shimatta "Sainou wa bonjin ika da" tte daitai sainou tte nan nanda
何者にもなれない事に気付いてしまった
「才能は凡人以下だ」って 大体才能ってなんなんだ

Let me listen to the almighty, all-knowing words.
zenchi zen'nō no kotoba wo hora kikasete yo
全智全能の言葉を ほら聞かせてよ