<<prompted by Jessica Craven’s post here>>
I used to be clever.
Screw clever: I was brilliant. I started talking at 3 months of age, and I could read when I was two. I was sent to several educational psychologists because at the age of five, I was ready for grade two. I had an impeccable memory, I didn’t forget anything. When I was eight, my teachers would give me extra books to read and then would send me to the other teachers for more, because I would finish 30 page books in 10 minutes.
My point? “WAS”.
I think that people don’t realise how difficult it is to feel like you’ve gotten less intelligent. Granted, it’s believed that losing intelligence can’t actually happen, but it’s easy to feel that way. Using myself as an example for the tonnes of other students like me, let’s carefully look at where thing went wrong:
Everything was fine, kind of, until grade six: I was quiet, got into competitions, beat myself up when I wasn’t first, absolutely adored my title of “Smartest Girl In The School” and was constantly looking for ways to be better than my main competition: a boy named Slade. Granted, my unusual sadness scared me a little from grade five, but it was okay – I was still clever.
Grade seven came, and I started to feel the effects of depression. I felt lethargy at its worst, and felt the most lonely I ever had, up until then. I got my first detention. I tried to cut my hair (DIDN’T WORK). I tried to accept that I wasn’t pretty so there was no need for me to talk to anyone. Then I tried to talk to everyone. I tried to be friends with the pretty girls (DIDN’T WORK) and I tried to be friends with everyone (DIDN’T WORK). I tried so hard to be popular and became the confidant of many, the carer of most, but the friend of none. NOT. ONE.
My grades started slipping. I remember a meeting with my head of year, because I wasn’t in the top ten in the grade. I was 13th. From 2nd to 13th after 3 months of hardly eating, trying to become less less less, utter loneliness and extreme confusion. I was told my slacking was unacceptable and that it didn’t look good. I was externally apathetic, but internally sobbing- I just wanted to be enough. I was sad because I wasn’t as special anymore.I was just at school, not even mattering. But I was still smart enough to laugh it off,I was still brilliant.
Most people have the people that they leave primary school and go to high school with, or the friends they’ve had since they were tiny. I never had that. I never had anyone who was my friend; I just knew everybody because I talked a lot.
High school came about and I tried to create a new name for myself – Shalom became Scoot – and went to a completely different school than my brother and sister. I tried desperately to re-invent myself. I coasted through grade eight and nine and was a B student, shocking all of my primary school teachers. I studied for subjects I enjoyed. I laughed at the ones I didn’t. I was still put into the ‘smart classes’. But then, I noticed something: I wasn’t as smart as they were.
I started thinking, “what if I studied? Would I be as smart as Nina? Or Jessica or Sarah or Tamsyn or Slade, all who managed to stay smart?”
I found myself in trouble: I had never studied before. I felt no need. All of these people had spent their time working hard, and I hadn’t. I had been great, or at least alright, without the work they had to do.
Then, grade ten. Read: the first year I failed a subject (kinda).
I got really bad at maths despite my new attempts to work hard. People laughed at me and my efforts because I got moved into a weak maths class. I studied ridiculously hard and only just managed Ds when I would get a B+ without any effort just a year prior. The people I sat with? All super intelligent. All taking AP classes, while I barely managed to stay in school. All swimming, while I choked – despite my flippers and floaties.
I’m in grade twelve now, and I’m still sad that feel that I’m not as brilliant as I used to be. Simply because I used to think that I could move mountains with my mind, because I was told so. I was told I would change the world because I would have the potential to do so. And all of a sudden, my mind switched off. I don’t know how or why, but I wasn’t smart anymore, and people tried to make it better by assuring me that I was smart, just not at school. That didn’t help at all, because I SHOULD be smart at school – I used to be.
I should still have the potential for brilliance.
This year, I’m trying to do well at school, because it does matter to me. I’m trying to get better at eating, because I value my health. I’m trying to have a positive outlook because I want to manage my depression better. I actually care, people! So many people think that I just waltz around, looking into people’s faces, giving sound advice, saying “wow! Cool! Lovely, wow!” and pass through.
Learn this: I AM NOT JUST THAT.
Last week, a foolish boy called me a shallow character. I stopped, and looked him dead in the eye and said,
“I am not a character. I am not shallow. I am a hurricane with more brilliance inside of me than you will ever dare to find, and I am stronger than you will ever know.”
Dramatic? Yes, God yes. But true. I felt so powerful, and so plainly honest, that it couldn’t have been anything but the truth.
I tell people this:
Another person’s beauty is not the absence of your own.
I’ve decided that it applies to brilliance too.
I’m still brilliant, and that’s all I’ve been trying to get across. I refuse to treat myself as less, and I refuse to be treated as less.
apologies: this may have been a load of utter, utter crap.
love and light