Waste not, want more

No variations on a theme.

Report: Nerd Derives Self-Esteem from Pathetic Places

I have always been a “smarty-pants”. I don’t confuse this with being intelligent. Well, at least I don’t now, but I won’t make any promises about my past selves.

As a kid, my brother took pride in teaching me how to read (Him: “Sound it out”. Me: “SH – IT. SH*T”). My family would tell stories about the precocious things I said as a three-year-old. My dad would quiz me on my times-tables and get too happy when I could answer right away. I was told I would go to University (a fairly lucky thing in my family) from a very young age. Friends would ask me for help in class. I got 2nd place in a spelling bee, which at the time seemed like 2nd in a queen of the world contest, but upon contemplation I realize is not a sign of special powers. Friends parents would say things like, “But Rose can tell time on a regular clock” (The pleasure I took in these things is highly embarrassing, but I always felt gross when parents said that stuff to my friends. We don’t say these things out loud, don’t you know.)  Coupled with a nasty-sized need for approval, this made for some interesting results.

On the other hand, as I saw it, when the universe was doling out physical ability, it looked at me and said, “are you kidding, her head would explode.” It took me longer to learn how to tie my shoes, ride my bike, or do a cartwheel than my friends; in the case of the cartwheel, I’m still waiting for inspiration to strike. I was fearful AND hated being bad at things (still working on that), which did not make for much experimentation or effort on my part. As an aside, I think a big part of the problem here was that I did not believe I was athletically inclined. Only in more recent years, out of stubborness and thinking that it might be possible have I attempted to do things like swim a kilometre, hike, cycle 100 km a week, or actually deign to use gym equipment (and sometimes succeeded). This means I have missed out, a lot.

The point is, I liked doing what I was good at (academics) and hated doing what I wasn’t (sports and other body movement pursuits). Later in high school and especially in University, I started to appreciate just how many people learned more quickly than me, worked harder for their academic achievements, knew more, and could understand things better than I could. I slowly began to grapple with my own mental mortality (sorry, universe). The battle is a tough one, since I learned to get most of my self-worth from my brain.

What is all this leading to? A confession! Surprise, surprise. I have always loved filling out forms. That’s it. The dirty, ugly truth.

I loved completing forms but could never figure out why. Give me the intake form at a new dentist’s office, an application form, a questionnaire about my feelings, and I come alive with enthusiasm and joy. How could such a simple, and sometimes annoying thing give me such pleasure? The realization came to me today, and I am not a better person for it. I love to fill out forms because (please prepare yourself, this is a new plane of pathetic)… I KNOW ALL THE ANSWERS (please don’t tell anybody). I like to see a blank and fill it with correct information. Name: Rose (haha, got that one). Favourite colour: Blue (take that!). Occupation: Student (moment of doubt, does that count? Sure!) Date: January 16, 2011 (I am acing this thing. And I’m fast, too.).

Woe is me.

Of course, give me a blank that I don’t know the answer to, or can’t easily figure out and it’s like I’ve run to the high jump on sports day only to stop suddenly, stare at the bar in agony and burst into tears all over again. (How could I be so stupid?) I deserve no oxygen if I can’t understand the question. It is a sad state of affairs.

Signing up for self-worth classes should be an interesting experience…

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January 16, 2011 Posted by | Brackets, Childhood Complaints, Hypotheticals, News, Self-reflection | | 3 Comments