20 thoughts on “Being “Down With” Something…

  • February 3, 2011 at 2:03 am

    Aw, Sandy!

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. As a trained linguist and philologist, I can assure you that if you honestly seek to find logic and consistency in language (particularly in idioms!)–well, you’re crazy!

    Take French for example. (1) In written texts, it employs double negatives (“ne… pas…”); note, then, that in English double negatives cancel each other out, but in French, they reinforce each other. (2) On the other hand, the “ne” drops out of spoken French. So you’d WRITE, “Ne venez pas aujourd’hui,” but you’d SAY “Venez pas aujourd’hui.” Now, where’s the logic in any of this??? And we’re not talking idioms here–these constructions are stylistically mandated! French frightens a lot of people, but all languages are thoroughly barmy in that way. English grammar is barely consistent, yet it is LOADED with idioms that are utterly nonsensical until you can parse down their etymology….

    To conclude, as I hear they say in journalism, I’ll “put” this comment “to bed,” then go to bed–and I hope I didn’t put you to sleep, or, to confuse things ominously and euphemistically, put you to, well, “sleep….”

    • February 3, 2011 at 9:44 am


      I thank you, profoundly. This is such an empathetic response. I’m answering you first, then I will respond to everyone else later today. I send you all hugs. You’re amazing and so caring. Please be patient with me. I haven’t eaten breakfast yet or prepped my class for today.

      Here goes…

      Rick. Actually, what they say in “print” journalism is that what’s in the paper today is lining the birdcage tomorrow. I thank you wholeheartedly for your linguistic and philological wisdom and perspective. This has been an unusually challenging week. My husband has hurt his back and I’m very concerned about him, plus all the other stuff going on in my life. I’m not at the top of my game and at best, I am very very very hard on myself. Always have been. Such is the life of an incurable perfectionist.

      Just came in from a brisk walk with my dogs ~ 45-50 minutes in this weather. I feel better and it’s a new day.

      I have some questions for you. We must “talk” sometime. About language.

      Sending hugs and hope that you’re keeping warm. By the way, I’m a Queen’s grad, too. Class of ’74. I love your website. Long to engage sometime.


  • February 3, 2011 at 3:17 am

    You’re just not feeling att that great at this moment. As they say, this too shall pass. I get stuck in this, what to call it, a sense of weightless animation. I don’t handle change well, and it takes me a while to understand that there’s change coming or that there’s been a change.
    Don’t beat yourself it. It’s just counterproductive.

    • February 3, 2011 at 9:46 am

      “Weightless animation”? Except I feel fat and ugly and I couldn’t stop eating yesterday. You’re right, though. Beating myself up is counterproductive, but last night at midnight, never my best time of day, I wanted to disappear forever.

      Thank you, Jessika.


  • February 3, 2011 at 8:43 am


    Don’t be hard on yourself- you’re interpretation is understandable!!!

    I could say “I’m down with your blog because it’s sick”
    (sick= cool, great…)

    Hey it’s just slang, no biggie, and please don’t stop blogging!!

    Hugs, Kate

    • February 3, 2011 at 9:49 am

      You’re right, Kate. And I appreciate your understanding my interpretation. I’m out of the loop on current slang. I will keep blogging. I must. I have to. I need to. It’s so helpful for me.

      I love you for sending such a supportive message.

      I’m going to visit you’re site, too. I hope there really are cartoons there.

      Must run. I’m running late and I’m so hungry.

      Love and hugs and huge thanks, dear Kate…

  • February 3, 2011 at 10:08 am

    sandy! i DID NOT point this out for you to engage in self-recrimination. you are NOT an idiot. goodness me. how would you ever know what that particular phrase meant, if you haven’t used it? i hear kids say things all the time now that i have to ask for an explanation of. it’s a very understandable misinterpretation

    and it doesn’t make the content of your blog pointless, or asinine, or any of the other negative words you used. your blog is still perfectly relevant, and true, and valid.

    so please don’t stop writing!

    • February 3, 2011 at 10:34 pm


      Not to worry. I was exhausted and embarrassed. But everything worked out wonderfully. I cannot thank you enough for your honesty and integrity. You are an exquisite friend. I love you. xoxo

  • February 3, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Sandy, Sandy, Sandy,

    You are not an incurable perfectionist. An incureable optimist I would rather state but, truly you will get through this.

    And you could always have replied “My bad” to your slip. I thought the kids were saying “Me bad” but I was corrected. And really what’s up with “That’s sick” as being a good term? What is up seems to be down and it is a CRAZY world out there – I think this all proves it. Nothing is perfect, we all step in it from time to time but I can also understand how you would be feeling. Haven’t we all had egg on our faces – which is a term, again unto itself. It is just not that easy to forgive ourselves – but remember this is good enough – you apologised – it’s good enough. We can only do what we can do – as long as we try then any of our effort is good enough. And you are not the only one not up on the new language.

    • February 3, 2011 at 7:01 pm

      Thank you, Sheila…

      I went to bed wanting to pack it all in. Nothing like making a fool of yourself so publicly. Sometimes I wish I had an editor to save me. This time, I don’t even think Marty would have cottoned on to my mistake. That’s all been settled, though, as you can see from Zoë’s comments. So I am feeling better. But I know I have work to do on this blasted perfectionism. Dr. Bob admitted he thought I was incurable. I am wondering if I can temper it a bit. I wish I could accept the “good enough” part, but somehow, it just isn’t “good enough”… See, it’s a problem, but I am trying and I love you for all your help.

      Hugs and thanks, truly, madly, deeply…

  • February 3, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Hi Sandy.

    Apology accepted.

    I can totally appreciate your vehemence when you feel you’ve been misinterpreted. In fact, the non-upset part of me thoroughly enjoyed the passion with which you wrote your rebuttal – further affirmation of my suspicion that we have a lot more in common than not…

    For the record, I’ve made similar mistakes (don’t like that word; missteps?) – as anyone who’s written for the public, for long enough, has.

    I want you to know that I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve read of yours; I think you’re cool; nobody’s perfect – and guess what? I’m not “young” in the way that you might be imagining – I’m 52 (just turned) – not sure you knew that.

    I credit my “hipness” (LOL) to delayed maturation (nice way to put it) and the blessing of ADHD WITH the hyperactive component! As for knowing what “down with” means, I just seem to suck up the modern vernacular like a sponge.

    AND – one writer to another – I actually considered taking OUT the phrase “down with,” because I knew it was colloquial usage, and will date my blog (which probably has an even shorter shelf life than the aforementioned print journalism). But you know what? I’m GLAD I left it in.

    Otherwise – we wouldn’t have had this exchange.

    So no worries, and thank you again for your kind, timely apology. I do admit that I’m a sappy HSP and was a tad upset when I learned of your misgivings (relatively mild though your post was).

    The Gods must have intervened, because I only learned about your post TODAY when one of my readers mentioned it – and the retraction was already there.

    The most difficult part was seeing you being so hard on yourself, which is wincingly reminiscent of my own self-flagellating behaviour which I’m trying like the dickens to atrophy, if not eradicate. (Does the expression, “You’re your own worst enemy” ring any bells? Me too…).

    I get a wonderful sense of you online, and have thought of letting you know when I’m in your city next (we are both Canadians, and live relatively close to one another).

    So we’re good, ok? 🙂
    (But YOU can buy the coffee when we meet! Ha ha!)

    Psych Central Blogger, ADHD: from A to Zoë

    P.S. – thanks, Julie, for setting your pal straight; you’ve instigated an interesting exchange.

    P.P.S. – You wrote: “Hugs and trust me, I will never make this mistake again.”

    1st – I’ll take that hug in person when you buy me a coffee (ha ha); 2nd – I’d like to invite you to consider not worrying about absolutes like “never,” who knows what the future brings? Who cares? You’re a wonderful writer, you do valuable work, what the hell?! We’re all human. I’m certainly not willing to guarantee I’ll never make this or that mistake again – although I do prefer to make new ones! I have ADHD! I thrive on the new! 🙂

    Now here’s a hug from me – let’s just go out there and write our blogs and make mistakes and be the wonderful people we are! All the best!


    • February 3, 2011 at 5:44 pm

      Dear Zoë ~

      I just got home from school and sat down with a cup of coffee (rewarmed from this morning) to read your wondrous comment. I look forward to treating you to a cup of coffee, soon. You are a darling. And your graciousness and understanding, your enthusiasm just leap off the page. I thank you wholeheartedly for being so sensitive. (Yes, I am only too aware of being “Your own worst enemy”… because I am.)

      And you’re so so right. Nobody is perfect, but I am struggling with this business of not feeling “good enough” ~ which is bothersome.

      Anyway, I am impressed with your grasp of modern, young colloquialisms. I’m afraid that is not one of my strengths. And if you want to know the truth, I, too, am thrilled that you left “down with” in for the same reasons as you.

      Had to look up your “Highly Sensitive Person” post to understand the acronym HSP, but you know what? I am too, though not as savvy as you. You have much to teach me.

      As for being hard on myself, that’s my default mode. Another habit I’m trying to change, an old record I would like to break. Lots of history, baggage there.

      Please, do let us get together when you’re near me. I love the TTC and I’ll go anywhere you wish. I would love nothing more than to engage face-to-face in person, where tonality is so natural. And we can sense each other. With all our senses. And yes, yes, yes, I will buy coffee. I will buy more than that, to meet you. And you’re so right about “never” and “never saying never” ~ I’m sure I’ll find another idiom to run afoul of.

      Sending a virtual hug now and looking forward to a real hug and yes, let us just keep writing. Mistake-making. Learning. Growing. Evolving. You have made me feel so much better. You have no idea.

      I love you already and will listen to you on CBC through your website in preparation for our meeting.

      Be well. Stay warm. And once again, profound thanks. You are utterly delightful.


  • February 3, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Oh, ya, one more thing:

    You’re also terribly BRAVE. For those who don’t know, Sandy could have just deleted the blog post in question, but she chose to leave it up, and write this one. That takes GUTS!

    Now, enough of the public love fest…I’ll let you know when I’m in town, and we’ll have a good, in-person, heart-to-heart (sorry, guys, but it’ll just be Sandy & me this time! We won’t all fit into the coffee shop, although I’m imagining that would be super-fun!)


  • February 3, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    zoe, i’m glad you said that word BRAVE. because i’ve been reflecting on this all day long.

    first of all, i feel like a total ass for putting my ‘correction’ in a public comment for everyone to see, and not in a private message (for which i have already apologized to sandy).

    but mostly, i’ve been thinking about mistakes, and forgiveness, and how we treat one another. and thinking how brave your art is, sandy. your art of blogging and sharing and writing. you live your life more honestly and openly than i think anyone else i’ve ever met. as someone who waited 23 years to ‘come out’ (in the lesbian sense), and then another 7 years to ‘come out’ about my depression to most people in my life, i can’t imagine your courage to be so open about your mania at a time when NOBODY else was. i know you always say that was just what you did, but it’s a really big thing. it was then, and still is, very brave.

    so i’ve been thinking about all that today. and how embarrassing it must have felt to think you made a ‘dumb’ mistake, out in public, on the inter-webs. that piled on top of everything else you’ve been dealing with, must just have been the icing on the proverbial cake (although, speaking of idiomatic language, i must confess i’ve never really understood this expression….doesn’t EVERY cake have icing? wouldn’t you WANT your cake to have icing? lol).

    point is, you’ve had a lot going on. i remember my therapist telling me, when i first started seeing her, that because i’d been through so much lately (impacts of the strike, mostly), that i had no ‘bounce’ left. i couldn’t absorb anymore because my shock absorbers were toast, already used up. so i was thinking, maybe that’s the point you are at right now, and that’s why this ‘down with’ thing has you (or had you) so upset. no bounce.

    so please, try and be gentle with my friend sandy, ok? she is very precious to me, and she deserves lots of TLC right about now. walks, cuddles with her husband, cups of tea, and sleep.

  • February 3, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    Oh Zoë! So on point! Are you listening, Sandy ;)?!

    I feel like an alien droppen down from the sky sometimes. I can’t read between the lines, I don’t get stuff, they could be speaking swahili for all I’d know. Hello Asperger!

    As for the weightless animation feeling. It’s how I describe it, just floating above everything without any connection to the earth. And I don’t mean this in a psychotic way. I had a really bad day yesterday. And no matter the amount of consolation I was getting I was just stuck in the emotions of being very lost, not with it, just weightless.
    In other circumstances I describe it as peddling water as to not drown in the sea of my own emotions. A bit like: be like a duck. Above the surface look calm and unruffled, below the surface paddle like hell.

    • February 5, 2011 at 4:52 pm

      Hi Jessika,

      “Weightless animation” is a fascinating term. I was just rereading your comment. It certainly graphically describes the feelings you had yesterday. The word “weightless” resonates with me for a whole world of other reasons tied more to my problems with my body image (see Margarita Tartakovsky‘s remarkable blog called Weightless) than my feelings of being disconnected, isolated, alone, frightened, out of control and unloved. Although, as I write this, I realize they are very much the same. When I was a little girl and something upset me ~ a skinned knee, an emotional bruising ~ I know that someone always said, “Here, Sandy, Have a cookie.” Food equates with love for me. Still does. It’s another comfort. This must be so common. Now, if you wan to know the truth, I wish with all my heart that I didn’t need to eat to live. That I could live without eating. It’s so dangerous for me. Never a pleasure. It’s the enemy. I wish I could abstain from food, like people can abstain from alcohol. Or gambling. Or drugs. I think, for me, it’s a serious emotional addiction.

      As for being “like a duck,” I wear my emotions so blatantly. People can hear them in my voice over the phone. I am completely naked, emotionally. I cannot lie. I cannot cover up. Though ironically, put me on a stage with a script and I’m a reasonably good actress. I studied drama from the age of nine and majored in it at Queen’s University. I adore the theatre.

      But, I’m no good at acting in real life. I speak before I think. I think very fast. That’s my hypomanic personality. So this is a terrible fault of mine. Gets me into terrible trouble. Sometimes I can say very thoughtless things to people, especially if I’m upset.

      I’ve learned so much this week. Yet I feel tender and fragile. I’m losing myself this afternoon in my teaching responsibilities and in other people’s blogs.

      I was just reading Douglas Eby’s fascinating post on The Creative Mind blog he writes here. His most recent post is called The Complexity of the Creative Personality. It hit home to me. I seem to be the personification of the complexity and ambiguity he describes, though I never really think of myself as creative. Writing is hard work. At the same time, I think creative people by definition are challenging to understand, as Eby states, because we’re so different. Psychologist Kay Redfield Jameson‘s landmark 2003 book Touched With Fire comes to mind.

      Anyway, a long meditation on a very intriguing comment. Thank you, Jessika. Now, back to my school work. But trust me, I’m no duck. I’m all out there. Wide open. Vulnerable, but that’s the way I want to be. It feels liberating, though it hurts sometimes and gets me into a lot of trouble.

      Sending hugs,

  • February 6, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    “Any self-definition is a self-limitation. To define yourself is to limit your understanding of yourself. To define yourself is to box yourself into this or that category. To define yourself is to finish your understanding of yourself. To define yourself is to end your curiosity about yourself.”


    I also have “chemically out of balance brain spells”. During those spells I think that I will never have another good spell. During good spells I wonder when the next bad spell will hit me like a brick wall. I did learn to reprogram the negative recordings that loop ta dooped in my head. I started by believing in the professionals opinion of me. I moved on to parroting their opinion back to them, then to myself. Then one day in a confrontation with a “loved one” I heard the positive record playing louder than the negative. Later the negative became less and less loud. Now when I have a bad chemistry spell and the negative record is playing, I can change the record to the more positive and blame the chemistry for playing the wrong record. With each accomplishment of this, I get fascinated at the brain’s ability to rewire itself.

    I wish for you the belief in the brain’s ability to make it happen for you!

  • February 16, 2011 at 12:13 am

    Hi Denim,

    I haven’t forgotten you and this comment has crossed my mind many times since you posted.

    Please forgive me for responding so late. I lost my nerve and my “voice” but for some reason, now it’s back. But it’s very late. I must go to sleep or I’ll get sick. So will you forgive me and allow me the privilege of responding to you later today. It’s already tomorrow. 12:17 a.m. on Wednesday morning. I haven’t eaten dinner or walked my dogs and they’re now chomping at the bit.

    My husband is sleeping upstairs which is where I should be.

    Soooooo, I’ll be responding to you, within the next eight hours. I think I’ve gotten over my “Blogger’s Block.”

    Speak soon. Promise.



  • February 16, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    I love language. The way it changes and evolves is absolutely fascinating to me. One of my favorite things is the ever shifting world of colloquialisms. No one can keep up, no matter how young or how old. So don’t be down on yourself. This particular expression is an extension of the phrase “getting down,” as in dancing or celebrating.

    • February 16, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      Hi, Brain…

      Me, too. I love language. I love its life. Thank you for the etymological note on “down with”… all I could think of was coming “down with” a cold. Anything but celebratory. Please keep dropping by. I need help etymologically. I am rather lamely self-taught and still learning. All the time. Delving into the thorny realms of the idiosyncratic and colloquial is so threatening as I am always astounded by what I don’t know about “the Queen’s English,” which is the language I, sadly, still speak. Comes with age, I suppose, dear Brain. (Great moniker, by the way.)

      So please visit our little community here. Come back and check in.

      Your expertise and interest, your passion is and will always be most welcome, as we can all keep on learning. Learning all the time.

      Hugs, thanks, kudos, bravo for your informative and supportive note. “Getting down”… you know, I love to “slow dance”… Do dancers still dance in each other’s arms? Slowly? It’s so seductive. So romantic. Aaaaaaah.

      Yes, I am 62, but awfully agile, too. I love my 60s. Love being here. It affords me such freedom.

      But I digress…

      Hearfelt thanks, Brain. Again.



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