Jan 24, 2013

I live with an interesting paradox that has slowly become part of "being me"

On one end we have the multitudes of people who treat me like I am really just very very smart. They say it, they refer to it, they assume I know that they know that everyone knows that I am just so quick and clever. I have never entirely understood it, and have often pondered what one intelligent thing I said, way back when, or one dumb thing I was lucky enough not to say while I sat there not looking confused, has led them to the conclusion that I am bright.
Still, it shows up on job reviews and in random comments, and even accompanies criticism, a presumption that my communication skills, patience or social skills are somehow not keeping time with my intellect.
It is a nice presumption to live with...probably better than assuming I am a raging idiot, and having to work from that angle, but then sometimes I have also wondered if I was cuter, had a higher voice, or better social skills, if people would just assume I was a little less quick on the draw. Which is to say, it might be a inductive conclusion , based on other attributes I lack.

That being said, for as many people who just think I'm smart, there are just as many people who seem to find me naive, or assume I live a life of relative ease.
And yes, in a children starving in China kind of fashion, I DO live an easy life. I am not interested in arguing that point. Compared to the vast populations of people who do not have enough resources to survive or begin to thrive, I am 100% lucky. And if someone at our clinic were to imply I was damn fortunate in comparison, I'd be inclined to agree.
But what fascinates me is the numbers of other people who fit into my "demographic"...who are young to middle aged, generally healthy, homed, fed and from "good families", with jobs and educations, who look at me and treat me just a little like I could never understand very hard work.
I have difficulties explained to me, challenges elaborated for me in a "I know you can't understand how hard this will be" kind of way, I have assume things will go well for me, that a robust support system exists and that I will not and have not face the challenges they face, and it baffles me.

And, ofcourse, these are often the same people. One moment putting me on a pedestal, the next moment assuming only sunshine, rainbows and a chaise lounge are allowed up on my mountain.

And maybe this is a symptom of deeper issues: maybe I just don't appear to be trying hard enough. Maybe I seem like I was born with silver spoon in my mouth, maybe it just appears, from a distance, like tragedy and frustration and serious emotional compromise has just never been presented to me. 

But in the end I really don't know.

I just mostly want to remind people to drop a few more assumptions when they walk through my door. To try empathy on for size. To look at me and everyone else and ask a few questions before assuming you know where they are starting and what they are dealing with.

I might be the dumbest person in the room, and I might very well have some shit I am dealing with that you couldn't even imagine, because you just never asked.

No comments: