I talked with a teacher today.
From 3:15 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., I spent much of my time rambling ... I don't know what I was saying ... even now, what I spoke of fades, and what he said is even less clear. I must somehow let this go, he said ... I think. Free myself. But how?
Here are some excerpts from finals, essays, and personal papers that I never finished.
"Goaded by the Spirit Hierarchy -
Since roughly ... kindergarten, I have been classified as a 'gifted' student. I have been placed in 'special' programs since third grade as a result, and I achieved many honors while in high school. The end result was that I burned myself out, but as my ashes were internal and the reputation of the 'cool-headed intellect' undying, no one noticed.
"So here I am now. I'm a Freshman Honors Scholar - more specifically, I'm a Provost Scholar [the second highest honor possible]. Carrying out the expectations of others has not satiated them ... rather, it only made them hunger for more.
"I am constantly sending messages and am the subject of many - or is that my status speaking?
"I feel trapped now, encaged by the very talents which I am told make me free. I have found that people suffer very high expectations of me, and I have also noticed that I have picked these up - I am now a perfectionist, but I can never be satisfied. Why? Because honors students just can't be happy where they are, and must constantly make 'progress.'
"I am worthless as a scholar (and thus as an individual, since 'school is your life, your job, your passion.') and a student if certain expectations are not met. If I 'fail' to achieve A's, it becomes an offense against the people who brought me up 'to do better than that.' I am set up for this failure far too frequently - there is always the 'hope' that because I am 'brilliant,' I am only capable of achieving the best.
"I want to be average sometimes. But 'average' equals 'mediocre,' and 'mediocre' is heresy. 'A waste of talent,' of 'time,' 'of money.'
"Am I not goaded by these words? Am I not given a template into which I must fit or suffer the consequences?"
But what is brilliance? Am I brilliant? Is it possible that I cannot see it because I am so accustomed to looking for the fault, or is it because I am waiting for the great "EUREKA" of sudden realization that will never come because I am intelligent? Shouldn't people who are smart feel smart?
"Sixth grade, on the other hand, was the year I received two awards - 'Most Improved Group Work,' which I wasn’t entirely pleased with, and the 'WordMasters' award, which amazed me to no end. It was the first real award, with a real metal medallion, that I had ever won.
"Perhaps that was when it began, when I sat in shock as my name was called, and I was presented with this symbol of my success above all with words and analogies. Maybe that was when 'academia' began to take its true hold upon me, and when I began to feel quite bleak about everything.
"Because of my 'talents,' my braindead status, and my continued success in high school despite all that, I have set myself up for a future which I do not believe I can endure.
"What is this future I speak of? With the 'academic' world figuring so prominently in my identity, I cannot help but feel that the inevitable desk job is soon to be upon me, and now awaits breathing over my shoulder. My 'intelligence' is graded by computers and SATs, endless rows of bubbles and number 2 lead pencil. Scholarships which are not constant are given to me as marks of worth. The piece of paper that I shall receive upon graduation and which I might eventually lose, is what will get me a job - rather than what I 'think makes me me.' Essentially, I believe that 'I succeeded myself to death.' I will be forced into a job that will 'make the best' and will 'not be a waste' of my 'talent,' and which will force me into typicality.
"People tell me to be hopeful, that my skills will see me through despite how I feel strangled and imprisoned by them. But they overlook one simple fact: I cannot permit myself to believe in anything, for that ensures constant disappointment. I cannot permit myself to look deeply, because I fear not liking what I see. I cannot permit myself to be 'wrong.' 'For unlike my mother, I did not believe I could be anything I wanted to be. I could only be me' (pg. 154, Tan).
“'[...] I thought of how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse perhaps to be locked in [...]' (pg 24 Woolf)."
"I believe in the following items:
Self-confidence breeds jerks.
I point to many of the people on my floor, who are careless and heedless and discourteous; I point to several who are cruel, unkind, and manipulative. Yet amazingly, these callous people are liked. What's worse is that they're even emulated.
"Point blank: I refuse to have self-confidence. It's abused all around me. Day in and day out, I see people use their self-confidence as an excuse to suppress into oblivion those with differing thoughts or ways.
"For example. I don't remember who sent me the email for one of my postings anymore, and Thank God I didn't save it. But I do remember that email had great impact upon me, and in fact caused tears. I recall the individual telling me to 'keep' my 'cynicism to a minimum.' I responded with the fact that I could not do such a thing, as I had not yet left the minumum to begin with. I also pointed out that it's inherently unfair to demand that I shut up - nobody ever tells those happy people to shut up, now do they? This leads me to my second thought:
"There is a double standard which orbits around me.
It orbits around many people, in fact. I'm sure I cannot be alone in that I am held to a differing set of standards than the next person. It never fails to come into play - what one person can get away with, I am punished severely for, and am disapproved of for even considering.
"I don't want an answer.
How can I be expected to answer questions about futures when I know nothing about now? Why am I expected to find a single answer out of so many? Why? Is it so hard to believe that I don't want an answer? I don't want to be wrong. I don't want to be wrong. I can't answer these questions anyway because I have no self-confidence. What the hell are you talking about, a "future" ...? Only those who play the game get to have one of those, and I'm tired of all the rules."
Rules? Consider what one of my teachers wrote on a research paper that I spent several months on: "I think I mentioned these headings when I read your draft. They are not the way you are supposed to structure this paper but Anne, I've grown to understand - with your intellect, you've earned the right to break rules."
But have I? Have I? I slacked off all semester and still got by with a 3.6something GPA. That's earning the right to break rules? If I have the right to break rules, then why can't I? Even when my heart is about me? What binds me to these troubles of mine? Why do grades matter so much to me, why am I always so concerned with what others say? Why can't I go my own way?
Zepp: why do you want to be so different?
Me: I just want to be something that uniquely, me.
Me: So I don't get mixed up with other people like I do
Me: or things like that
Me: I dunno ... -_-
Zepp: maybe you are trying to hard
Me: Maybe I'm not trying enough
Zepp: well it seems like you stress over it enough
Zepp: shouldnt you have sweat it all out by now? heh
Me: I wish
Me: I make my own head hurt
Me: But I can't come to any conclusions
Zepp: hah do you want conclusions?
Me: I want something to stop me from spiraling around like this.
I am a sad soul. Perhaps not as sad as some. Perhaps sadder than others. Either way ... somehow pathetic. I cling to my textbooks as I try to push them away; I feel drowned by the only thing I think I have.