Meaning Making Machines

I have just successfully survived my final review for my Masters by Research.

Tracking The Timeline and Impact Of Inequality Between Autistics And Non-Autistics In The United Kingdom From The 19th Century To The Current Day

So now I have until mid-February to get my final draft in,  ready to submit at the end of March.

So why am I telling you this, how does this link to Meaning Making Machines and why did I wait until I was in my 60s to go to University?

As a 6yr old in infant school child my desire was to be allowed to have a reading book, but to attain this I had to correctly read some flash cards. One fateful day I was called to the teachers desk, my turn had come once again. Out of all the cards there were two I consistently read wrong, COME and BECAUSE, those dreaded words. My teacher must have felt very frustrated and smacked me on my bottom.

And in that moment, I created my Meaning: “I am thick and stupid”. I then set my life on the track to prove that that meaning was completely correct.

I became the class clown at school, to hide how thick and stupid I was. I left school at 15 so as not to ‘fail’ at any O levels I might have been expected to take.

Due to my mum getting me an interview at the factory where she worked, I started work straight from school. However, within a year I became pregnant even though at that stage I had considered pursuing qualifications as I really enjoyed my job.

Once I went back to work, in between having more children, I always chose basic, factory, potato picking, shop jobs as I believed I was too thick and stupid to attain anything else.

As I got older, I used my thick and stupid meaning as an excuse to not be responsible for my actions.

For example, in my early 40s I became a Doctor’s receptionist, a job I thought was far above my station. One of the responsibilities I was given was being in charge of the prescriptions which came out from the back office. This also included filing them in alphabetical order, this was way outside my comfort zone. ABC is fine but AA, AB, AC etc is a real challenge. One day a gentleman asked for his prescription, he gave me his name, I went to the box, removed a prescription and handed it to him. Within a few short seconds he was laughing hysterically. By an alphabetical error I had given him his brothers prescription for Viagra……

Of course, I went straight to my thick and stupid excuse. It wasn’t my fault, fancy the manager giving such a responsible job to a thick and stupid person.

A few years later I decided to try and get an English GCSE. After every 2hr lesson I went to learning support to have the lesson explained more fully. The gentleman I saw suggested I met with an Educational Psycologist for an assessment. The outcome showed that I am very dyslexic but have a higher than average IQ. Oh! and I attained a ‘B’ in English 😊

Now you would think that would be the end of my thick and stupid excuse but remember, humans are Meaning Making Machines. Something happens, we make it mean something, then we collect our bias history to keep that meaning in place.

I continued to believe that I was thick and stupid even though I had papers to prove I wasn’t.

My A-ha moment…

came during a Landmark Forum course in London. https://landmarkworldwidelondon.com/  I shared my thick and stupid stance. I was asked when did I last feel this. I replied ‘at lunchtime when in the lift with others. I had said the floor number I thought to be correct and of course it was another floor number’. The leader asked for those in the lift with me to raise their hands, he then asked them if they had said I was thick and stupid. They of course said no, I quickly replied ‘but they thought it’.

The Landmark Leader then asked me when I had first thought I was thick and stupid. This I quickly related to my school flash card debacle. We then looked at my thick and stupid history and how I had used this to keep my “truth” in place. Of course, that smack given to me by my teacher could have meant a thousand different things, but I chose it to mean I was thick and stupid. No ‘truth’ there at all, just me being a Meaning Making Machine, which all humans do. Something happens, we make it mean something, then collect history to keep it in place as ‘truth’

So now in my 60s I have passed my Bachelors with a 2:1 and I am nearly finished my Masters by Research.

Now what will be my next challenge??? If you have suggestions, contact us

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