If you ask people who know me to describe me, somewhere in the description, bright/brilliant/intelligent or any other synonym would be used. Before you think I am bragging or being conceited hold on until you hear my side of the story. While for many innocent onlookers and even those who may describe me as such, it might be an innocent assessment of who I am, it is something that makes me feel less than and is very painful, emotionally, to hear.

You see, I have always felt like an outsider and not accepted. The first person from whom I felt acceptance was my kindergarten teacher, a very pretty dougla young woman, in Point Fortin, Trinidad. She liked me because I was bright. I was sad and lonely but I was bright and Teacher Mary liked me because I was bright. In hindsight, I believe that is where I had internalized that if I am bright enough, maybe somebody would like me.

And when I moved to Grenada and had awfully ugly skin and a thick Trinidadian accent and pupils would shun me, teachers liked me because I was bright. I was teased mercilessly about my skin, my accent with a feminized drawl and my physical frame. I had never felt uglier, more self conscious and more inferior. Other pupils refused to play with me but of-course I had books and I would read them in the classroom while the others played outside. Despite the pupils seeming abhorrence of me, teachers always took a liking to me because I was bright. That sharpness of intellect always won me favour with the teachers and temporary friendships with pupils who wanted to borrow my homework to copy down so that they could get red ticks in their exercise books that were cut in two to stretch the life of a single book.

I fail miserably at relationships because all people seem to be attracted to is my mind. That has made me very insecure about how I look. It is as if there is nothing else about me that is appealing. I just want to be seen as funny and kind or peradventure from a romantic interest, to be seen as sexy (physically appealing) not just bright.

People cannot understand why I take offense or feel hurt when they say they love my mind. To them, my objection comes across as false humility but for me, I just do not wish to be distilled into simply a brain.

2 Responses

  1. I understand this fully, Damien. Someone once told me they loved my "intellect." This is just as hard as being "beautiful" – people react in all sorts of negative, complicated ways and they just can't get "beyond" that. I always try to look beyond those obvious things and find the person's heart and soul. Kindness, humor are two very important qualities that I always look for (and honesty). You have all of those in bucketfuls Damien! 🙂

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