For as long as I remember I’ve associated myself with the intellectual. At a very early age, my parents made sure I knew how to read and spell. Night after night, I would curl up in the laundry basket in the closet to read Cat in the Hat or Peter Rabbit. As I proofread many essays, I was so irked, and will probably be forever irked, about spelling and grammatical errors. I was the spelling bee champ in the 5th grade, you know. Only once in my educational career through the 12th grade did I fail to reach a 4.0 GPA, getting a 3.8 in the 7th grade because I daydreamed and doodled during my Honors Pre-Algebra class. But the following year, I managed to receive a 4.0. In high school, I fluctuated from a 4.25 to a 4.16 to a 4.0 to a 4.5 to a 4.33 GPA, a feat that I remain proud of to this day.
Outside my academics, I made sure I was witty. I developed a sarcastic personality with smart alleck remarks to scoff at anyone who didn’t have common sense because my mom told me that common sense was important. She always said. “You may have all the book smarts in the world, but if you don’t have common sense, you have nothing.” When I was younger, she sometimes told me that I didn’t have any. I know that I was still a young, naïve child at the time and I still had a lot to learn, but when she told me I lacked common sense, it broke me down every time. So as I grew older, I made sure that I wouldn’t be one of those book-smart, street-stupid people and I sort of began to look down upon those people.
And I think this is partially where my pride issue stemmed from.
If you have read my previous posts, I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned my pride issues at least once before. But pretty much, it’s a big problem. I feel that, because my mom was so blunt toward me when I was a child, I always had to better myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love, love, LOVE my mom like crazy. But it was in some of the things that she said that brought me down that also motivated me to push myself to be better at something in life, and that something was my academic career.
I wanted to be the best. I would become frustrated at memorizing historical dates and solving complicated math problems but I always tried. My parents wanted straight A’s and at the same time, so did I. I would even compete with my best friend over grades in high school. He always scored better than me on Calculus tests because he was just one of those people born with an outright genius-boy brain. But I would always trump him in our AP Literature class. We would always go back and forth with this friendly competition.
At some point, however, I reached an academic downfall. Well, I wouldn’t really call it a downfall because the lowest grade I’ve ever had throughout elementary to high school was a B, and I can’t say that a 4.0 to a 3.0 is much of a drop. But there was a time, when I didn’t care as much and I was just trying to get through. I thought to myself, what’s the point? If I’m going to keep putting in work while other people half-ass their time here, why try? I’m trying to be one of the best, but I can’t make it. To be honest, I still think like that sometimes. However, upon reaching college I realized that everyone goes through this phase at one point and everyone things differently; it’s just a matter of really accepting it. I believe that now, I try to use my brain to help others because knowledge is something to be shared. Even though I have a pride issue that sometimes makes me want to keep it all to myself, I know that’s not how life works. It actually brings me joy to help people out.
Although I’ve grown to make the most of knowing that I’m not the best scholar, there’s still an underlying problem that eats at me, and that would be my trust issues. Damn. That’s a lot of issues. I know, haha. Allex, how do trust issues even begin to relate to your academics? Well…I trust people a lot or, at least, I used to. When I get to know someone and tell that person my deepest secrets and give that person my heart, I do so with my whole self. Which I guess, is a good and bad thing. It’s a good thing in that I’m open and I see the light in the human race. But it’s bad because I expect these feelings to be reciprocated and I end up disappointed. And then, I wonder why I was such an idiot and I tell myself that I shouldn’t trust anyone or give myself so freely like that. Because I hate being vulnerable. I hate not knowing. I have to know. And that’s why I encompass myself in my reading. In my essay writing. That’s why I make sure that I write enough notes for biology. That’s why I go to office hours so I can get an A on my chemistry exam. I tell myself that, even though there are better students out there, I have to do the best for me. It’s a sad thought, but I tell myself that when people leave me, I have my smarts. I tell myself that one day, my smarts will get me through and provide me with a good job and I’ll be successful because I studied so damn hard. And I know that’s ultimately not true because humans, as social creatures, need other people in their lives. Obviously, I’m no different. And I know that being “successful” in life with a high-paying job and a lot of money doesn’t exactly entail happiness. But for the time being, I tell myself that words will get me through. That writing with big eloquent vocabulary will impress people. That I just need to focus on school and not have fun and not get to know people as much because they’ll just disregard you, no matter how nice you are or how much you do for them. And the last thing I want is to be forgotten… Thought of as nothing… To be ignored… So I read books and do math and write more in hopes that I’ll win a Nobel Peace Prize or something. Some academic achievement award. Or to have a building named after me because I did something great, so people will know my legacy and all those who left me when I was feeling down would kick themselves for it. They would say, “I knew her,” but they didn’t know me. They didn’t know how much I suffered and cried myself to sleep holding a novel or a chemistry study guide because I felt so alone and I didn’t know what else to do. They didn’t know how broken I really was. They didn’t know me at all.
So when I become friends with people now, they sometimes tell me that when we first met, they thought I was intimidating. That I looked like a smart bitch. The type that just studies and studies. That’s a lie; I’ve had a fair share of fun so far. I don’t always lock myself in my room or head down to the library to hold a study party for one. But it interests me when people tell me this… I get mixed feelings because I think, “Seriously? I’m actually a really nice person. I might be sarcastic but when it comes down to it, I’m the kind of person that would be down for you if you ever needed someone.” And it makes me sad that some people would think that I’m a mean bitch and not a boss-ass bitch like everyone wants to be. But at the same time, it makes me feel like I’m doing things right. I mean, they see me how I want to be seen. I want to be seen as an intellect. As someone who knows her shit. As someone who carries herself. Even though on the inside I’m DYING and just trying to find a stable group of people that I can really, truly trust. To know that I have friends away from home that are as down for me as I am for them. To know that I won’t be left behind anymore.
I would trade my smarts for that type of knowledge and reassurance any day…