I hate this idea in society that intelligence requires output.
I think the first time I realized the entrapments of this idea was when I was a teenager, being abused and traumatized by my parents for being weird – because (they argued) I was too intelligent to be weird.
I still get this from a lot of people. One of my colleagues recently remarked – “she is as cracked as she looks”. The other people around didn’t quite get it. But I laughed out heartily to be honest.
I mean, at this point in my life with two massively mainstream degrees and a knowledge of diverse range of topics in humanities (however incomplete) – what the fuck am I supposed to do?
No. More importantly – why do I feel like I am supposed to do something about it?
It’s that teenager in me, asking the same questions more than a decade later. Though this time I feel like I have the agency to make decisions for myself more than I have ever had before. I am trying to take my time to work this out, so I am writing about it.
The ideal state of existence I have always wanted, is to be able to read, write, make random art and travel. I think this is ideal for a lot of people who understand living must happen for ourselves, more than for others. And luckily for me, at this point of time in my life, I finally have the freedom to be able to do all those things. I have a steady job with a great income and a very conducive environment to be able to create.
But I feel stuck with this feeling that something is supposed to begin. You know, like a grand relaunch of my life. Which is such an accurate example of the ridiculous ways in which capitalism’s rituals have overtaken our thinking. So I need to write this down as a reminder – I am not a product. My life is not a marketing campaign.
I find it difficult to feel satisfaction – which now I understand is a result of someone always aspiring for perfection. But learning to feel whole is not easy for anyone. Learning to feel complete. Learning to know that it is not a re-start for my life but simply a turn on the long road of living.
Amidst this there are two main sources of discontent – one is the visibility that social media provides, also creating an anxiety to be present constantly for events or people who are not contributers to your life. Which ties into the second aspect of knowing life only being alone, yet on a search for someone who can love and care for me.
And that’s perhaps the biggest feeling of disappointment from my life which refuses to leave. Uncared and unwanted as a child, I’ve grown up taking care of myself.
I watch others and that’s why maybe it hurts more. Growing older so steadfast in my beliefs, alienating people has been the default. Being locked away in my limited world of work and influence – how do I find community? Never in one place too long, no home or constant space to live. I am my own support system. I am an orphaned child of this world.
So almost everyday is like picking up these tools that I collected over the course of survival and using them to build whatever I can. Meanwhile watching through the internet, the surreal successes of many uncountable beings who seem to be undeterred at all. And then looking back at myself, broken feet and hands, wondering how I even imagined I could compete to begin with?
It takes a lot of heavy lifting to raise yourself. You do it all for so many others because you learnt from life that giving is essential if you wish ever to receive. You get very tired often, to feel like totally giving up. But you don’t.
Why don’t you give up?
I can’t speak for anyone else but maybe I should say this for myself – I think I just don’t ever want the world to win. They told me I was unwanted and did everything in their power to make me concede. So as long as I stay alive, I’d like them to remember that maybe I didn’t succeed at all – but neither did they.
And maybe my intelligence is not for their utility but only for me to build my own castle – raggedy, wonky and absolutely imperfect like me.