Feb 13 – Insult

Write about being insulted.

I like to pride myself with being smart – not crazy above average intelligence or anything like that, but I consider myself to be more of an intellectual. School was easy for me, though I can easily accredit that to my sense of organization and motivation to learn and do well. I’ve also always had a natural interest in things that are considered ‘brainy’ or ‘nerdy’. I love reading. I love writing. I love school. I love learning. While I’ve always enjoyed these things, I never really realized that I places so much of my own identity in being smart. I think this clearly manifested as a bit of a problem when I was about seven years old. I was in second grade when my teacher began to realize that school just wasn’t much of a challenge for me, even at a young age. I was offered the opportunity to take the “GATE test” – the test to get into the Gifted And Talented Education class. I was beyond thrilled at being recognized as ‘gifted’ and ‘talented’. I don’t exactly remember the test in all its entirety, but I remember being terrified and excited to take it – tests have always seemed to give me a bit of a thrill. I completed my test and felt like I did rather well and I went home feeling pretty good about myself. A few weeks later my results came in an envelope delivered to my house; opening said envelope would reveal a need that I had to be recognized as intelligent and the devastation I would feel when I wasn’t considered so. I don’t remember much of what the letter said in regards to my test, but I know that I did really well on it, just not well enough. I had to be within a certain percent margin and I had missed it by one or two percent. Hearing that I hadn’t gotten in was devastating to me. While some seven-year-olds would have taken the news in a different manner, I took it to mean that I wasn’t smart enough to be considered ‘gifted’ and ‘talented’. In my eyes, I wasn’t smart enough to be smart. While I look back with the knowledge that it really wasn’t a big deal, I’m also grateful for that rejection. That little voice in my head that would pop up every now and again to tell me I wasn’t clever enough to figure something out or that I was too dumb to solve a problem pushed me in a way that being coddled never could have. From the age of seven I was driven in every area of study, even the ones that I found a little more difficult. And over the years I learned that it was okay to not be the best in the class, but it was better to be the best I could be.

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