My “twelve-year-molars” came in when I was 16, and I currently feel like I’m teething, which must mean that my wisdom teeth are finally popping up. They must know how wise I am. Or am not, if you prefer. Ever since leaving the high school, where I attended classes with the same kids I went to kindergarten with (I know these people), I’ve been struck with a mildly amusing dilemma. Everyone thinks I’m dumb.
I know, first world problems, right? Strangers meet me and see what they perceive to be a thirteen year old girl. Then they hear that I major in Human Services. The only thing they associate that with, is social work, which they associate with people who make very little money professionally (which may or may not be the case). None of these things would be particularly terrible if they were left as simple facts. The way things play out, both gender and assumed age are against me. Add in a “liberal artsy” major and it’s assumed that I’m just not intelligent enough to be an engineer. God forbid I had a choice and chose the major I’m in. No one thinks I know how to even turn on a computer, when that is far from the truth. How can I explain to people that while my left-handedness and passion for creative things are taking precedence in my life right now, they haven’t always, and GIRLS CAN DO MATH, OKAY?!
I never had to prove this to anyone in grade school, because in a small town, everyone knows your test scores. It is equally difficult to feel like you have to prove just how smart you are, and that you can only do it with numbers. Because of this, in high school I wished everything was graded on a pass/fail scale. Wouldn’t it be easier to know that you’re doing fine, without having to know that you’re doing eight percentage points less-fine than that other kid? I feel that in life, I’m on the “passing” side right now. So what can be done about those who try to bring me down to “failing” after making a few quick assumptions? Well, santosha, fellow readers. Santosha. My favorite niyama of yoga (and the newest of my tattoos), santosha means contentment. It stems from knowing that where you are is exactly where you’re supposed to be – so be present. Don’t worry about the past, the future, or what other people think, because you were literally made to be here, right now. Whatever you have at this moment is what you must work with, so put yourself on the passing side of life. Wisdom is not something given to you by peers, supervisors, or teeth (I don’t think…), and neither is intellect. You know how smart you are, and what you need to work on. No one else can change that.
Side Story TIme: Many people hear “human services” and think “human resources.” I am quick to correct them. Yet, I once told an older gentleman my intended major, and he said “oooh like you could be in the Secret Service! That’s really interesting,” and all I had the heart to say was “yes, I could do that if I wanted to” because, well, I could. Right? But I’m not asking, because I already know. 🙂