My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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having a moment of self-doubt that needs to be expressed.

first, why in the past few years have i been so focused on myself, my emotions and whatnot? sure, it came with the begining formations of self-doubt because while i was overly confident and cocky for a long time, i didn’t really address myself in my thoughts. it’s peculiar because i am constantly being reminded of the femininity of self-observation and am irritated that i managed to develop this femininity after being emotionally devastated by external factors. it’s what makes me realize how effective the boys were in eliminating me from being “just one of the boys.” erg..

back to mode of self-doubt.

why is it that i have no functional memory? this makes quite a bit of things genuinely tricky. sure, i never did remember a book after i finished it. and in school, memorization had to be hell on earth. let’s remember the multiplication tables->american history. but i was always quite functional and capable of doing things because i was so damn good at analysis. i could sift through math concepts and bring together ideas that made so much sense to me and impress the hell out of everyone.. like how i figured out trig while taking the SATs in the 7th grade. or when i dumbfounded my calculus teacher with my approach to a problem that was apparently quite unique (although i still didn’t get the right answer due to a stupid arithmetic error). in later years, i have been able to determine how much lack of memory is a really stumbling block. analysis of theoretical texts requires storage of large amounts of information and remembering the details of previous concepts and their references since i can’t store everything together. sure, my databases are sometimes useful, because goddess only knows i never remember a name or article title or exact quote.

i thought that my memory was deteriorating. and it probably is. but more realistically, it’s being overwritten because it’s in such short supply (isn’t it supposed to be 2020 when computational memory will far surpass neuron-potential memory? grrreat..) synthesizing is becoming more difficult because i can’t keep it all in my head. hell, i can’t keep a full academic journal article in my head because they constantly refer to a million other articles that proceeded it with one-liners and a reference and i am supposed to be able to pull up all of those ideas along with the current article of reference, or at least stack together all of the ideas mentioned in this current article, which includes past articles and analyze everything together and damn does my brain hurt.

and what about vocabulary? i definitely reached my maximum potential of words that will stay in my head and the pointers are getting all fouled up. which is why the same word often refers to 2/3 different definitions, or a definition gets lost for no good reason (or because it is too complicated to remember). like today at work we had a conversation about the following verbs: gell, congeal and coagulate. and honestly, i couldn’t differentiate the three of them to save my life.. somehow, they all ended up in the same bit of memory. bastards.

i keep trying to tell myself that this is just part of who i am, how i am different and that it makes me a more unique individual. goddess do i love compensation through self-reassurance. “i am beautiful and brilliant and god damn it i am great.” but reality says it is starting to tear at me. i really just want to retain a few things that go on in my head for later use. it would just be nice. but somehow, not just actions, but also ideas form impressions that stay without content. like, i know that i was angry with bush for china.. but right now, i can’t remember why. that’s irritating. and why does everything end up in an emotional bin, usually in the form of “like” and “dislike”.. no wonder i end up creating my own deadly stereotypes… i can’t remember the root of anything to save my life.

and aside from my frustration, i really do worry that this will make me a far less functional, far less effective person and that bugs the shit out of me. and yes, g’damn it.. success on multiple fronts is way too important to me right now, primarily because i feel so useless and confused about everything from the personal sphere to the professional sphere.

these are the moments when i wonder why i shouldn’t just figure out how to settle down and follow the appropriate socially conditioned role of being an at-home mother. but i really do feel as though i will end up being a failure and that makes me wanna stop trying. hmm.. although that is ironic, because it assumes that i could not fail at being an at-home mother, which i would as well, based on my love of children, cooking and cleaning, combined with my natural patience. and this spirals into the moment when i just wonder what’s the point??

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