14.10.09

That's What I Want

I have a high IQ. It's high enough to impress people who are impressed by this stuff (mostly school administrators). Somehow my score followed me through school and, inevitably, all of my teachers found out and would approach me about "special projects" and "more challenging work". I was told by everyone I encountered that I had limitless options and I wasn't "living up to my full potential" by not talking every AP class available.

At the same time, I was having a hard enough time trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up and I hated school. The last thing I needed was another choice. The last thing I wanted was a "special project".

It was a lot of pressure - even for someone as "mature" and "gifted" as I always was for my age. I helped my friends with homework (and by helping I mean doing it for them). Everyone (to be fair, my parents weren't pushy about it, they just wanted what was best for me) heaped their expectations on me -- told me about all of the great things I could accomplish if I "set my mind to it". Uch. I felt like a circus performer with the upside-down human pyramid on my head wobbling around to keep my balance on my overburdened unicycle.

Finally, in my sophomore year in high school, I tipped and everything went flying. I spent a couple of weeks crying. I spent a lot of time with my therapist. I was unhinged. I couldn't focus on anything. I had lost interest in all things academic. I didn't even want to see my friends.

My parents, with the help of my therapist, worked out a deal so that I could do a lot of school work from home and I would go to classes at the end of the day on a rotating basis. It worked out that I saw my teachers about once a week.

My friends didn't understand what had happened, really, and a lot of them were jealous of my new schedule. I actually lost a friend because she complained to the Superintendent that it wasn't fair and we got into a fight that ended our friendship.

It was a really horrible time in my life. But I recovered. At least to a degree.  But I have to wonder whether my limitless options ended up being more restrictive than anything else.

I have always been good at lots of things.  Good, never great.  I'm good enough to get by.  I'm like the handyman.  I can do most of the small stuff and some of the big stuff, but for the really important stuff, you should call an expert. 

I have never been able to commit to a career path because I was always afraid I wouldn't love it and I should love my career, right?  However, in not having committed myself anywhere, I have consigned myself to a default career in a field that has never interested me. 

I have paralyzed myself.  I need to make a choice.  My options are still limitless (although not all practical).  I want to not be afraid to do something I might not love.  I want to have the guts to try something for real and possibly fall flat on my ass.  Now that I have Matt and lots of love in other parts of my life, maybe I can do it.  That's what I want.

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