intelligence comes in all forms

In small and petty arguments it isn’t about who is right or wrong but who can be the bigger person.
-David Cuschieri

What is this incessant need for some people to be right all the time? Are we so insecure within ourselves that we have to constantly prove ourselves to others by being right? That is the case with me. I don’t always outwardly project my ‘rightness’ on others, but I do feel I have to be right most of the time. And I believe it to be that way because I am insecure in who I am. Deep down inside I am still afraid that if people saw who and what I truly was or am they would not like me.

It is too bad I still carry around with me that old suitcase of self-doubt. I’ve tried to put it down and abandon it innumerous times but it always seems to find me – sort of like a boomerang. What will it take for me to finally rid myself of old self-doubts? Abandoning doesn’t seem to do it; ignoring it defiantly doesn’t do it – it only makes them stronger. Maybe the only way to rid myself of those troublesome doubts is to address each one individually and prove them wrong.

One major self doubt I carry is that I am not smart or intelligent. This, of course, comes from my father telling me I wasn’t smart or intelligent or bright or would never be able to measure up to his ‘brilliance’. He may not have said those things to me personally, although I am quite sure he did; but he certainly showed me on many occasions. Or maybe it is what I perceived from his never praising me for getting good grades or thinking something through or figuring something out. He prided himself in his ‘smartness’ and ‘intelligence’. He always thought he was so smart that he was smarter than anyone else – ever. If I had gone into one of his chosen professions I may have earned his approval – emphasis on may have. It is unlikely that no matter what I did or do or accomplish I would never nor will ever receive his approval. And that I have to let go.

Smartness, intelligence and brilliance comes in all forms. My maternal grandmother never went to college, never even graduated school (she got married instead) but she was one of the smartest people I knew. She could converse on any subject, was an avid reader, was an “Iron Chef” in the kitchen and could create anything – she even drew her own patterns for my mom’s wedding dress. As I said she was smart.

Going to school or college doesn’t make a person smart or intelligent or bright. It only amplifies what is already within us – if we allow it to. As creations of the most intelligent Being in the Universe we are all smart. We are all intelligent. We are all brilliant. We have to be – God created us in His Image. Within us – within me – is the intelligence of the Universe. And as there are innumerable facets of God, so are the variations of intelligence. Only He is able to hold all within Himself. His children, on the other hand, are able to hold only one or two, maybe a few more, types of intelligence within our human brains. But we all have it – smartness, brilliance and intelligence.

Sometimes I hear other people say, “I’m not smart enough” or “I’m not creative (enough)” – I have even said those exact words myself. But now I am coming to believe that to say those things is kind of like slapping God in the face. I must come to the realization that I am smart and I am creative and it doesn’t matter what anyone else or even myself thinks of those statements – God created me to be who I am and He gave me intelligence, as He gives it to all His children. God gives freely, it is up to me to take it and use it.

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inside my head

Nothing is as far away as one minute ago.
-Jim Bishop

Time is ticking away. Even as I write this, it ticks endlessly onward, forward marching, until the end of my days. Each day I am given a choice, each moment I am given a choice. A choice to live in the now or to live in the past or the future.

For me, living in the now has always been the struggle. I don’t live in or for the future. I don’t save for retirement (except what my employer or the government forces me to save). I rarely think beyond today (like saving for something, or making plans for anything). My past churns beneath my subconscious silently, sometimes screaming, but I rarely think about it, at least not willingly or consciously.

No, it is the now I struggle with. Because of the need to find a way to survive at the hands of a monsterous father I developed a very active and realistic fantasy life. There were times during my teen and early adult years I lived two lives alongside each other. The real, painful one in the physical world and the safe, happy one inside my head. (I can’t say the ‘real’ world because the world in my head was as real as the physical one.)

When life was going well for me physically, the world inside my head was moving in concert. If life was moving along okay then the physical me and the inside-my-head me were doing and saying the same things. But if the physical me was going through something bad or scary then the inside-my-head me would become stronger and more vivid and I would retreat to her world. The things that were happening to me didn’t even register in my brain because I was somewhere else.

Maybe that is why I don’t have many childhood memories. The inside-my-head me was busy creating a safe environment for me to survive and the physical me was simply enduring.

A very distinct memory of this happening was of me sitting in an airport with my family. My father was very angry at me for some reason – I was going to say I don’t remember why, but I do – I made a smart-ass remark to him (I was in my early twenties) – and he started yelling at me. It was the kind of yelling that in this day and age would bring on the police. He was standing in front of me, or rather, over me (I was sitting) pointing his finger in my face, screaming bloody murder.

To this day I have absolutely no memory of what he said. All I saw was his mouth moving up and down and the finger practically hitting me in the eye. I heard nothing. Pure silence. Because, after a long period of dormancy, the inside-my-head me woke up and took me someplace else for safety. The only feeling I had was prickling in my lips. I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t anything. But I was safe. (This was the beginning of the long ending of my association with him.)

When the inside-my-head me was in charge time was suspended. I had no concept of time passing. Just like in the airport that day, time had stopped while I was safe. Once she went back to sleep, time moved on as normal. I am grateful that she was there, taking care of my fragile brain, keeping my sanity safe. But I am also grateful I no longer need her assistance.

In time, I moved on from living in fear. It is that fear, though, that rules me still. If I look back, I am afraid I will wake her up. So I continue to work on living in the now. Without her, but with Him – with God. God created in me – in all of mankind – a marvelous brain whose inner workings are a mystery. He gave me a way out of terror, and a way through the madness. He gives me now the means of finally putting to rest those old ghosts and terrors. If I am willing to do the work.

 

(image source click here)

validation of my creativity

Yesterday we were, and today we are!
–Kahil Gibran, The Sons of Goddess and the Sons of the Monkeys

Time can be a terrible taskmaster if we allow it to be. Looking to the past is not always good and for some people, like me, it is not only terrifying but filled with opportunity. If I can get past the hurt and pain, no – not past it, but through it, then I can learn from it, heal from it and let it go.

I don’t have too many memories as a child; unfortunately I have blocked out the good with the bad. It would be nice to remember the good without dealing with the bad but that’s not the way my spiritual journey works. Being a fatalist I tend to think that if I unlock one good memory a whole cavalcade of bad ones will come tumbling out of the closet. But maybe that’s not the way it is. Maybe if I unlock a single bad memory then a lot of the good ones will surface. But I remain loathe to unlock the bad. It is this thing about the pain…

Anyway, I had a thought this morning about validation. I was wishing (and praying) that my little books I write and illustrate could get published to a larger audience – other than my immediate family. (I do publish them on a different blog but that is different than having an actual physical book in someone’s hands. I guess I’m old-fashioned. My sister says I should e-publish to readers through Amazon but I am still coming around to that idea. But I digress.)

Then I started thinking about it in a little more detail. Why do I need to see them published to the public at large? Isn’t writing them enough? I would write and illustrate even if I had no audience. It is a pure creative outlet for me, satisfies my need for artistic gratification both in writing and drawing. Somewhere, mixed up in my head, is a desperate need for validation.

My mom has always been my number one fan. She has always validated my creativity in whatever form it took. But I never received validation or support from my father. It doesn’t matter why. (Or does it?) He never validated anything or anyone other than what he did or he liked. So why does it matter to me so much?

Why is this such a stumbling block for me? Isn’t my mother’s love enough? Why did getting positive attention from a non-loving father mean so much to me?
I am sure there is some psychological reason for it. But I don’t care about the psychology. (Maybe I should.) I really want to know why this issue is such a stumbling block for me. In years past just knowing that I didn’t have the validation of my father quashed the creativity in me. And it has taken a long time and a lot of hard work to be able to be free creatively. And even after all that time, does he not sit inside my head, telling me I’m not good enough, I’ll never be good enough and being an artist is a job for losers. Oh – and you can’t make any money at it.

There has been too much of my valuable time wasted on wrestling with this particular dragon. I think I am willing to unlock the bad memory that is the root of validation desperation. If it is a single bad memory. Maybe it is more than one; maybe it is a whole childhood bad memories. Maybe I am not as willing as I thought.

God has given me a gift and it is up to me to use it to the best of my ability or it will wither and die. It is up to me as to whether I want to open the past up for a peek or keep the door firmly closed. My faith reminds me that whatever I decide – that whatever I decide – God will love me still, approve of me, support me and never leave me. If I decide to open the door to a difficult past time, I will hold onto that fact of faith, take a deep breath and walk through it. If I decide to.

 

 

Freedom to Create What I Want by Angela L. Walker