Thursday, November 5
What is the most important lesson you learned as a child, and who taught it to you?
Friday, November 6
What was your biggest fear as a child? Do you still have it today? If it went away, when did your feelings changes?
“You’re the smart one.”
I heard that a lot when I was a kid. It gave me confidence in my brain but not much else. I learned from a very young age that being smart was important and that being smart was only part of intelligence. Diligence, persistence, and hard work were also necessary to be truly intelligent. The unfortunate side effect of this statement was that I pretty much felt deficient in all the other aspects of life. If I was the “smart one” then I wasn’t the funny one or the pretty one or the athletic one or the talented one… just the smart one. No one really likes the smart one, not really. It’s okay to think that the smart one is the nerd and is annoying and strange.
Being the smart one also meant being afraid of making mistakes, being called out, fearing failure most of all. Spiders were scary, heights were scary, coyotes were scary but not nearly as scary as failure.
Sometimes I still feel like the “smart one” in ballet class. Not the popular one, not the one that looks good in ballet clothes, not the talented and athletic one, just the smart one. When the smart one makes mistakes, it’s far worse than when the popular one makes a mistake, she can laugh at it and everyone still thinks she’s cool. The pretty one makes it look cute. The talented one added flair and the athletic one muscled through. But the smart one just makes a mistake. Is this the truth? Probably not. But sometimes that’s still how I feel. And sometimes when I’m feeling like the 7-year-old smart one, I wonder if being called the pretty one comes with a similar set of paranoid feeling.