Who I Am – Written September 20, 2003

For the last couple of decades, I have spent my life alone. While I’ve had people with me, I would not say that I have been with people. There have been various instances in my life where I have not felt alone, just as there have been times when I am happy, but none of it lasts. In the end, the only thing I am ever left with is myself, whether due to other people’s or my own accord. Recently, I talked to the secretary of my old high school, and she facetiously said to me, “What happened to you – everyone tells me you were the smart kid.” I graduated two years ago from Dallas High School ranked 97/183, and no one there told me I was smart, with the exception of a few people who I assumed were just being nice public school teachers. The whole thing got me thinking about who I am, who others are, and what is infinitely more important, what you and I think we are.

Ever since I was a child, I was told that I was different. People used all sorts of words for it…special, gifted, talented, strange, insane…my kindergarten teacher once called me a delinquent – to this day I am certain it is because I was smarter than she (after the incident, I was moved from that class into a 1st grade class; it’s evolution, baby). Since then, lots of people have tried to understand me (almost all failing miserably), and even more have tried to define me; one of these days I hope people will see that I am indefinable. I’ve had some of the most obscure tests run on me that I won’t get into it, both due to length and absurdity, but suffice it to say that every doctor that has got a hold of my brain has said, “I don’t get it.”

Actually, most say I’m unmotivated, which is probably somewhat true, at least from their perspective. Most of the doctors agreed that the curriculum I was exposed to in school, while not too easy or too difficult, was presented too slow. This was a theory that was actually facilitated by me at the age of sixteen when my parents took me to a “Learning Center” to see why I got Cs and Bs in school; the woman who tested me told me she had never encountered a person with my level of ability in both comprehension and recall of comprehended information. In other words, almost everything I see I understand very quickly, whether it is in regards to language or people or mathematics.

I can not describe to you how it is I am the way I am, nor can I effectively explain what that even is. Believe me, I have tried, others’ have tried, and none of us have done a very good job so far. In all actuality, I came to find out that my brother was diagnosed with essential tremor, which somewhat explains why my brother (and I, for that matter) think the way we do, thus making us the people we are. Essential tremor is when the nervous system of the body creates so many electrical signals in brain that muscles in the body, especially hands, quiver slightly. It is rare that the condition isn’t usually recognized until a person is at least forty-five years old and is virtually unseen in those under twenty. The portion of the brain that is affected is called the “Frontal Lobe,” technically lobes, on both left and right. Each of these sections of the brain have sections within them which control different things; the portion that is effected by E.T. is called the Motor Cortex – the part that tells the muscles what to do. The rest of the frontal lobe contains the centers for such things as problem solving, spontaneity, memory, language, initiation, judgment, impulse control, and social and sexual behavior. Though E.T. is commonly referred to as a “disorder,” there is no effective treatment or presumed case except, “genetics.” It is interesting how a person that is simply different is seen as defective.

I don’t think I’m smart, mainly because I know what I know, and I know what is, and I know how far apart the two are. Really, I can’t tell you much or anything, not even who is smart. History would tell us “smart people” would include Lao-Tsu, Thomas Jefferson, Jesus of Nazareth, Adolf Hitler, Buddha, Aristotle, Einstein, Muhammad, Steven Hawking, Shakespeare, Galileo, Da Vinci, and this is true, all are smart. Within my own life, I have met a few people who I have called, “smart,” but the term was always used relatively. A term I have almost never used is “wise.” No one can truly be smart unless she uses 100% of her potential; at the same time, no one can be wise until she understands that potential doesn’t mean anything. I’m neither of those things, but I know what they are, and I would like to think that makes me better off than the average guy on the street.

Looking at those names I just wrote, I had an interesting thought that hadn’t even occurred to me while writing them, at least not consciously. All of those men were very alone; all were both loved and hated their entire lives. Each has been very misunderstood. The difference between Buddha and Hitler is focus and method – each pushed the limit of himself and those around him to facilitate a specific outcome; for Buddha it was enlightenment, for Hitler it was the Third Reich, and neither could really be called “less smart.” But I would say Buddha was wiser. One could debate the difference of wisdom between Buddha and Jesus for a long time, but I am not going to, simply because it doesn’t matter to me, if only because both are so much wiser than I that I can not comprehend their greatness.

I can comprehend goodness, I think. Those that are smarter than most, I can recognize; those who are wiser than most, I can distinguish; the intelligence and wisdom in myself is harder to identify. It is difficult to gauge one’s self as far as one’s relation to the outside world because everyone’s brain is too smart for that – each knows that it has a biased opinion and therefore usually gives a more negative opinion. At the same time, one must trust what others say, to a certain extent, and one can therefore conclude who one is by listening to the opinions of others. The unfortunate part about being a part of the “cool,” or “wise,” or “smart,” or “weird,” is that one begins to wonder just how “whatever” they are. When you look around a party for the cool kid and can’t find her; when you look around a room for the smart kid and can’t find her; when you look around the institution for the lunatic and can’t find her: guess what?

You’re her.

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