Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It just ain't bragging if it's the truth

I have been working at a children's summer program this week, and it has triggered memories of myself at that age, 6 - 7th grade. One girl in particular I have found fascinating. I don't quite know what to make of her, but I do know that I have to develop skills that she possesses. She is highly intelligent and very skilled at many different things, crafts, gymnastics, and trivia. She was demonstrating one of her strengths the other day, when one of the boys called her a show-off. Now I can see myself at that age, I was a good student, artistic and creative. I did not show off, but it would have been better if I had. I instead yielded to peer pressure, and I started to hide. Smart kids were made fun of, called nerds. My chiropractor can show you where my spine curved as I started to round my shoulders and make myself appear smaller. In middle school showing skills in the classroom and arts is frowned upon by other students, yet showing off in sports, male dominated ones, is perfectly acceptable. I never noticed a baseball player not hit the ball because it would appear as if he were showing off. He gave it his all and got the accolades. Flash forward to today. I am in a highly competitive all female school, where intelligence is applauded and demonstration of skills appreciated. I took a summer course at my community college and instantly regressed, ashamed that I knew many of the answers to questions the teacher asked and forced myself to stay quiet. I feel shame now as I write about my intelligence. Why? The easy thing would be to blame the public school system that I attended, for building athletes up and reinforcing stereotypes by remaining silent. But I cannot, because I had the best education afforded by a public school. Some day I will be able to be like this child, and say, or maybe shout, "Here I am world, look what I can do." Until then maybe I'll just write about it.

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