Lies of Adequacy

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A lot of people say they felt inadequate in high school, middle school, grade school. That’s not true for me.

http://chaptertk.com/2014/05/28/freed-the-story-of-a-teenage-low-life/

Please excuse me as I regain my voice. My writing voice. It’s been a while.

I felt like I was naturally high up above the rest of the world, like I had a brain twice anyone’s size. Nothing was ever my fault. Everything would’ve gone right if only the right people had agreed with me, or If I had had enough time.

That story in the link… Goes a little like this to me: She felt inadequate, fell into the ‘inadequate’ crowd and then realized that in that place, with those people, she was actually free. Free to follow what she wanted, what she really wanted. It worked the other way around for me.

I thought that I was better than a lot of the people I met in school. Perhaps it was some kind of mechanism to keep me going. I never blamed myself for anything. My self-criticism only went as far as, “If only you wanted it more.” 8ut what did I want? I didn’t know.

Perhaps it’s because I fell into the ‘adequate’ crowd. I blame the social tendencies of adolescent males for that. I also blame moving schools a lot. If you don’t belong anywhere, you’ll be singled out by the crazier kids. And kids got pretty crazy in the part of town I went to school in. 8ut this might just be my ego talking, saying it ain’t my fault.

Maybe I just lacked the guts to stand up to those kids. I definitely wanted to keep my skin free of cuts and bruises. Nah, I’m just a sensitive kid. I wanted to belong. I even got violent in order to be liked. It wasn’t about any physical abuse I might’ve had to endure.

Anyway, fitting in was easy. I was willing to do what it took to carve out a niche, to be a part of the whole. Oh, and I’m also hilarious. So there. I fit in, easy-peasy.

8ut I never considered myself a part of the whole. I always thought I was different, special, better. It didn’t help that I didn’t need to try in order to succeed in school. From grade school to middle (junior high) school, I didn’t even need to show up in order to at least pass my classes. Look at all these kids, struggling to get by. I was desperate to fit in but they were desperate to pass. Way I saw it: I’d pass them all by. I’d blow right past them, right past all of it. All of the cliques and social bullshit, I wouldn’t need to worry about that where I was going. I never expected to stay connected to my friends after high school. I even moved to a high school none of my middle school friends went to, proud as fuck.

Fresh start. The IB Program, I’d be in with the geniuses and the whole world would see what I was made of. They’d see the parts of me that I was proud of. The parts of me that I thought made me special.

I don’t know how far along the year it was that I started skipping classes. Whatever it was that I wanted, I wasn’t getting it at school. I’d always come back early enough in the day to enjoy lunch with my friends… Who weren’t even my classmates. They weren’t the people I wished I could please. I didn’t fit in with the ‘smart’ kids. ‘Cuz they all had something I didn’t have. They had will-power, self-control, and ambition. My ambition? To be badass and show the world how little I needed to try in order to succeed. And no, it didn’t work out. High school was a different game. At least, IB was. And I wasn’t prepared.

I was at that school, that school away from all my old friends, for a year. That school was a ways away, so I had to transfer once I was kicked out of the IB program.

I had to transfer to the school all my old friends were at.

Smug as I was, I was a little ashamed of going there. The school didn’t have a particularly good reputation, especially in regards to academics. Silly me, I thought I was still smart back then, lol. (And for some reason, my mood has been lifted.)

I thought I was still on my way to becoming an engineer. Thought I’d do something amazing and grab a $10k scholarship for making a change in my school. I still thought that was what I wanted.

Ah. 8ut I see it now. I wasn’t sure what to call it when I started but I’ve always had an idea what it was related to.

I blamed my environment. My parents, my culture, my friends, my penis. ‘I was pressured to decide on something right away, and to see it through till the end, no matter what the cost’ was my theory. 8ut now, and only now, I see it a little more clearly.

To be the weird one, the one who barely fit in, the one who might’ve only been kept around because people honestly wondered whether I’d succeed gloriously or fail terribly and tragically… the badass-smart one, the one who could do anything if he tried, if only he tried… That was who they saw me as. And I guess I worked to fill that niche. I was known. I fit in.

I looked down on fitting in 8ut 8y then, it had already 8ecome a part of me. My identity as assigned to me 8y my peers had 8ecome all I was. Even when I went to a new school and surrounded myself with a fresh set of people, I took that identity with me.

That identity was chronic procrastinator. “Procrastination” is a common word but I’m not sure if anyone took it as far as I did (and still do). I was constantly in crisis-mode. I knew exactly how far I could (theoretically) put things off. What I failed to consider is that succeeding at the very last second usually requires a lot of luck; and always requires a lot of will-power and self-control, which I didn’t (and don’t) have.

When I got 8ack to my old crew at their less-than-reputa8le school, I toned down my outward expressions of that identity. 8ut still, it was all I knew. I didn’t know who else I was. Hard work, self-discipline…? That just wasn’t who I was. I since I never used those tools, I lost them.

I felt that I needed to fit in, so I 8ecame an ineffective person. No. I was already an ineffective person. 8ut there were things that were more important to me than 8uilding up my life, my character. I was stuck in the moment. I didn’t want to 8e alone. I sacrificed my future for a little 8it of comfort in the now.

[That is so like me. That’s my entire pro8lem summed up in one sentence.]

Funny thing is: The friends that I made 8eing someone other than who I wanted to 8e… We don’t talk anymore. When we did, we didn’t flow. We didn’t flow like I do with some of my friends now. 8ut now, compared to these new friends, I feel stunted. I don’t mean to say I envy their lives. I’m not jealous. I just look up to them. And I want to 8e where they are. Their joy spills over into my life, and if they’re overflowing then they’re o8viously filled.

I want to 8e filled. I want to overflow. I want to 8e who I am. I want to know what I really want in life so I can go ahead and get it and 8e joyful.

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2 thoughts on “Lies of Adequacy

  1. You make me think of another quality I have to this day, as much as I try to fight it. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and feel great shame when I trip up. I’m okay with other people making mistakes, but I should not make mistakes. I’m better than that. That’s part of what drives me forward, but it can also drive my self-esteem into the ground if I don’t keep it in check.

    Finding out who you are will be long journey. You’ll never complete it by the end of your life. You have to be satisfied with getting a little closer to the answer every day and ask lots of questions. Why do you do the things you do? What don’t you do other things. Why do you love some things and hate others? You have to go deeper, too. I used to do this to help with my anger in middle school. This was a child’s mind, so the first answer would be that I was angry because so-and-so picked on me. But then I’d ask why their actions affected me the way the did. That would usually lead to something about myself that I either liked or didn’t. Then I could ask myself why I was like that. Can I change that? Can I build myself into a person who won’t be affected by their words if I change that part. The questions went on for a long time and I usually ended at one or two conclusions. Either there was something about myself and my life that I had the ability to change or I couldn’t change anything. If I couldn’t change anything, I decided it wasn’t worth my time to worry about it. But if I could change it, I could work towards that goal every day, knowing someday I would be changed.

    I don’t know if that helps at all. Sorry for rambling ^_^

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