From the terminal of Spi

Not ordinary enough?

10-May-2020

This is an unwinding of a few Twitter threads I posted on May 7th.


Re-reading one of my Brené Brown books to settle me down ("Daring Greatly", if you're wondering). Brené's books, if you're wondering, mainly have to do with shame and vulnerability. I was reading one of the early chapters, and one quote stuck in my head: “narcissism is the shame-based fear of being ordinary”.

I think I have the reverse problem. I’m very shameful of being extraordinary. I’ve always craved being “normal”. Sometimes I’d love to live in a world where I was a lot more average in what I do and say; particularly, less intelligent, perhaps a little less charismatic in how I appear over text. (Less awkward in person too, but that’s a whole another story.)

Why? Because I feel that would make me more accepted. I have it stuck in my head that people don’t want a smartie. This would’ve come from as early as childhood, for sure - eight-year-old in a high school playground, and all that.

This still scares me. That friends - and my corner of furry fandom generally - feel enriched by my company, my words, and by seeing a happy cybershark run around - still feels very wrong from time to time. That I don’t believe that I should be having a small but precious army of readers on Twitter, for instance, see my intelligent, but ultimately meaningless babble.

It's also eaten me at work sometimes - that I felt I didn't deserve the relatively secure, high-paying position I have. Looking for ways to cut my pay, then looking for ways to get fired, panicking when I couldn't find anything in our employee manual to help me (thankfully). It was similar to impostor syndrome, but a lot more dangerous to my well-being. (Thankfully, that side is mostly under control now.)

But lowering myself to meet the standards of “the great unwashed” isn’t ever likely to happen - that just gives me a new set of problems. I guess the thing is: I’m stuck with it. The intelligence, that is. The shame over being intelligent can be worked on, maybe. It’d certainly take time.

And when you have it, you may as well use it to make your corner of the world better. However that may turn out.

I've just got to learn that this is okay. And that may take time, and help.