Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sense and Intelligence

In light of the beating that my self-esteem took a few weeks ago(yes, I still think about it), I found this article very interesting. I don't really care that this guy can clap his hands thirteen times per second. Really, I don't. Reading the article did trigger another thought for me:

There are some people who are considered to be very intelligent because of their academic or professional achievements or abilities. There are doctors and lawyers and physicists who've made it to the top of their fields. Can all of them clap thirteen times per second? (And does it matter?)

How many people can paint like Cheryl Kelley? Draw like Olga Larionova?  Speak as many languages as Timothy Doner? How many people can be taught to do any of those things?

Maybe I just felt so awful and battered when the recent testing I underwent highlighted my lost scholastic abilities. Maybe I'm just feeling defensive.  In one of my meaner moments of the past few weeks, I came up with a response for anyone who might ever try to make me feel I'm not as intelligent as they are: "If you are so smart, why aren't you smarter?"

I don't like being mean. I'd rather be brave and honest enough to just say that I'm no good at math. Never have been. I can, as people like to say,"own" that. Being worse at math since Sarc doesn't bother me as much as being worse at spelling or speaking. I hate that. (I also hate not always being able to remember my phone number - or where I put my purse, what time I was supposed to be at an appointment or why the hell I hid my extra house key wherever the hell I did.)

This is the frustration of my daily life. I don't need the additional stress of feeling shame because I need a calculator for doing more than adding simple numbers. And I really hate that someone has labelled my lack of mathematical prowess as "Dyscalculia." Seriously, people. Naming the crap just gives me an excuse. I don't want to make excuses. I want to be honest.

So, this is sort of a pep-talk to myself. (I said, sort of.)

I am a good person. I have plenty of common sense, tenacity and character. Pre-Sarc, I was a fairly sharp and intelligent person. With this illness (or peri-Sarc for the smart-asses), I find it a struggle sometimes to do things I used to be good at (and want to give up on things I was never good at). Still, I'm the good and decent person I've always been.

If I wanted to make excuses or be defensive about all this, I'm sure I could find ways. I don't need or want to do that. I am finally learning to be okay with who I am as I am. I'll always strive to be better, but I'm not going to run myself crazy in the process.

There is an awesome harmony in math. There is soul-stirring beauty in literature. There is something glorious in any scholastic pursuit. I aim to be the next Zora Neale Hurston. I'll leave it to someone else to be the Leonhard Euler of our times.


"Mathematicians are born, not made." (Henri Poincare)

 "Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater." (Albert Einstein)