Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Being Smart is no Picnic

I hate being smart. It’s not fun and makes life lonely as hell.

When I was a kid in both grade school and High School I got good grades. Very very good grades. My parents didn’t believe in skipping grades so I stayed in the grade appropriate for my age. I was never bored, because I am a sponge. Anything I can learn, I learn.

I remember in first grade I was sent to the university for testing. I was told that the nun doing the testing was learning how to do this so they picked me to help. I was also told that since my big brother was so much smarter than I was (not true, but I didn’t know that), they wanted to test me to see why I was learning and he wasn’t .

I didn’t find out until much later in high school that I tested out with an IQ of 165. Big deal.

I also remember starting high school vowing that if someone asked what grade I got on a paper, I would always answer “B”. I don’t exactly remember the exact event that lead to that decision, but it must have been bad enough for me to block it out .

One of the things I find most annoying is that while I was inside studying my tail off, the other kids were out playing ball, having fun, being in the girl/boy scouts etc. Then at test time, as long as they managed to pass, they were congratulated, praised, rewarded etc. I don’t want to deny them any of that, but A’s were expected of me and when I aced a test, it was barely acknowledged.

Junior Year in High school, I came home with 3 A’s and 2 H’s (honors course work worth 5 grade points) but there was also a pesky B in PE. I was proud of that report card, but the grin got slapped off my face really fast with a “What’s this B doing here?” Not a word was said about the rest of the grades, just that %$##@ B.

I have been told that I intimidate people. I certainly don’t try and until recently, I didn’t understand how I did it. Someone was kind enough to explain it. She said that I seemed so confident and sure of myself. Excuse me! Yes I know a lot and yes I can do a lot of things and love to help out by sharing what I have been blessed with. Apparently this intimidates people.

So this “gift?” that everyone says they wish they had, makes me like a pariah. I don’t know if it’s Jealousy, annoyance, a fear of looking stupid, or the desire to be the knight in shining armor by making sure I don’t get near their white horse, but after a few years, or less, I stopped getting asked to help out, or our conversations get one sided. When I try to find out what’s wrong, or what I’ve done, I get the run around. No I’m not being paranoid because eventually it comes out. They all say the same thing. It’s not me, it’s them. huh?
Even my therapist didn’t quite get it. She kept saying that annoying line “it’s not personal.” What the heck does that mean. Yes it was personal. This wasn’t happening to everyone, just me. (not in the whole world, mind you, just my own little part of it)

Last year a bunch of us were in the teacher’s lounge, on teacher appreciation day, cleaning up. One of the moms was asking everybody who came into the room to run for school board. Everybody except me. It was glaringly obvious. She continued to try to recruit parents outside as we waited for our kids to be dismissed from school. I guess I was trying to save face or something, because I said that I was probably the wrong person for the job. She totally blindsided me with her next comment. ” No offense but you’re right!” I couldn’t think of anything to say and of course no one else corrected her.

So here I am with this astronomical IQ and I’m told I’m not suitable to be on the school board of a school with less than 170 kids. I don’t correct people when they are wrong. I don’t brag about what I can do. I only mention that I can do something if there is a need for that skill. Sometimes it’s just something that I have time to do since I’m a stay at home mom. I even ask people about their interests, even if I am proficient at that same interest in hopes that they can feel good about their specialty. Is that bad? No one will tell me. What do I do to be less intimidating, when I didn’t know I was?

I was asked once if there was on thing I could change about myself, what would it be. I wish I could be average. My husband says I have a big heart. I don’t want an over sized heart or brain. I want average sized organs, because what I have isn’t working.

OK… Rant over. ....... for now :-)

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