Learning Your Programming

Yesterday, I helped Dana learn her programming… and then I sent her to Code Academy.

She kept saying to me, “I don’t think I can do this… I can’t sit still long enough…. etc.”

I told her that programming would be the key that unlocked her life if she would let it. It didn’t even occur to me to tell Dana to try Code Academy, but why didn’t I tell her to pick up a fucking PHP book when they were lying all over the house? I could have made her so much happier, so much quicker, with so many fewer tears. And by that, I do not mean that I personally could do all that. I mean that someone had to have the book lying around, might as well be me. My sister (because in my family, words like step and in-law are offensive) did that for me. She literally saved my life just because she bought some books.

I just looked at her and SAW how dumb I’d been. I could have reached her so much longer ago, and she would have been making seven figures by now. That is because Dana is ADHD, severely so (with hyperactivity), and hasn’t been able to find THAT THING. That thing that unlocks her brain with a passion of a thousand suns. For me, it is writing.

I don’t care if I’m good at it or not- my writing is not so much for other people as my comprehensive reaction to life. I write because if I didn’t, my stories wouldn’t matter… because typing is the only medium through which they fly, and seeing people’s real reactions as opposed to my imagined ones seems somehow more grounded than not saying something because I’m the one that’s afraid to rock the boat. Being afraid of her disorder kept her from experiencing the medium through which she could FLY.

She listened to me talk about her ADHD brain because I can. I thought that I wasn’t hyperactive until I had this conversation with Dana yesterday, and I realized that my constant movement is my fingers. I do not fidget or move because I type nearly a hundred words a minute when I’m thinking. It is as if my fingers are merely a voice dictation tool, because I can type just as fast as my brain puts words one in front of the other.

The conversation was short, but direct. “Your hyperactivity will go away once you are sitting there thinking in seven different brain spaces all at the same time.” She looked at me like I’d grown three heads.

Stay with me. This is cool.

There’s the brain space of “what am I making?”

The brain space of “how do I make it?”

The brain space of “which part comes first?”

The brain space of translating that into if, then statements as fast as you can think them.

The brain space of learning a new language and constantly having to apologize for your accent.

The brain space of high energy music and your fingers trying to keep up the intensity during the entire piece of music (my personal favorite, which is why you guys usually get the length of a song in blog entries- about 5-7 minutes worth of typing, or about 700 words).

The brain space of having a working desktop in your mind, where you can drag windows along the x, y, and z axis to organize and prioritize your work. My brain is a linux box. We are currently using Gnome Shell, but it keeps crashing, so I’m going to do a clean install of Linux Mint: Cinnamon Edition next week. πŸ˜‰

It all swirls together so that the absolutely manic energy of being on sensory overload all the time MAKES SENSE in a way that it never had to Dana before or since.

She finished the first 29 lessons in one hour.

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