What Did She Say

My mind is always open

Too stupid to be smart

Posted by jackiyo 1 Comment


There’s been a lot of talk about breaking out of comfort zones and pushing oneself.  A lot of the posts on this blog are me doing just that. I talked about the c word. I fessed up about the ugly cry and getting beaten down by the bitch in the corner.

And now, something I don’t talk about. I’m not sure why it’s so embarrassing or I feel I can’t say anything. I used to pride myself on it. My identity growing up was wrapped up in it.

I was one of the smart kids. Pretty much straight As (except gym). Always managed to be “student of the month” at least once a year. I was Grade Six student of the year (I still have that plaque somewhere). In fact, I was the FIRST Grade Six student of the year. It was the first year it was introduced. My name will always be first on that trophy. That’s kinda cool.

I managed to still hold onto the “smart girl” thing in Grade Nine. I was still ok with it. I pissed off my misogynistic math teacher because I was the top in the class. A girl! *gasp* I was the one to beat. And there was one particular boy whose mission was to do just that. Beat me at math. Grade Nine life goal. Ok then. I placed top in the school in the Pascal math test (grade nine level). I was still ok with it. With the “smart girl” label.

Then Grade Ten happened. I started slipping. I was only 12th in the math competition. I started to notice being the best at something cranial was not necessarily the best way to get noticed in high school. In fact, getting noticed in high school wasn’t the best thing. Fitting in was the new goal.

Grade Eleven happened. I started skipping some classes. Not too many. The friends I would hang out with would generally skip their classes while I was on my spare. I still (mostly) played pretty close to the good girl I thought of myself as. Even though hanging out at the bad boys’ houses was way more fun than study groups. I kept up a good charade, I think.

Then Grade Twelve happened. More control over my classes. More trying to “fit in” and “be cool”. And it wasn’t cool to be smart. At least not top-of-the-class smart. I skipped some more classes. Specifically Calculus. I remember that one in particular because I ran into the teacher in the hallway while I was supposed to be in his class. *ahem*… “I was thinking about dropping your class.” His response? “Thinking about it?….” And that was it. I felt like an idiot and officially dropped his class.

I got more and more social. Partied more. I still was a pretty good girl and always had the fear of getting caught, so I really didn’t drink much. Not until it was legal for me to do so. And I had a car, so, in a small town that makes you automatic designated driver. (It was a Toyota Tercel. Yup. A wagon. I know. Super cool, eh?)

I don’t know what happened but at some point in high school I came to the realization I should not be smarter than the boys I wanted to be with.

How stupid is it to dumb down your smart? I think that automatically eliminates me from “smart” status.

I jeopardized my secondary school education because of dumbing things down, paying less attention in school, and frankly, attending less. And it’s not cool not to study and do really well. In fact, it’s not cool to study and do really well. Wouldn’t want to stand out in high school.

So, instead of having my pick of universities, which I should have easily had, I went to college.

That’s another topic I always feel a twinge of embarrassment over. Why? I loved my college experience. I met some of my best friends. Had some of the best experiences of my life. Learned a lot. And I didn’t have to try too hard. I’d skip entire sections of the course and come in and write a 100% test. But it wasn’t university. I know I disappointed my parents. I disappointed myself.

Now I came to the point I wanted to excel again. My competitive spirit was allowed to see the light of day again – although my “don’t be too smart” side was still pretty strong. Being liked was more important than being me. In fact, I’d been suppressing for so long I think I lost some of my smart.

And now I look back on my life and think, what the hell?! What did I do? I’m too stupid to be smart.

How many opportunities did I trash thinking some people might not like me because of those achievements? What would my path have been had I been strong enough to carry on and use my brain? How can I be so stupid? I look at some of the decisions I’ve made in my life and I want to go back and slap myself silly.

Why are we so afraid of saying how good we are at something? Especially brainy things? I don’t tell people I consistently score in the 98th percentile because I think I sound like an asshat.

What are you good at that you  keep to yourself? Are you a closeted smartypants?


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One Response so far.

  1. Paula schuck says:

    Wow! We could have been twins in high school I think. I was same except I hated math. I did sane in grade eleven and I got a Pt time jOb and found boys. Then snapped out of it in grade 13. Yes back when there was 13.

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