education and intelligence

Page Ten, website outline

I have education and intelligence in relative abundance, and therefore, ipso facto, I was not supposed to fail. While other factors in my life and in my nature were definitely in the way of any doing well, these two things I had in my favor, and was supposed to make success out of them. I thought so, and the neurotypicals around me thought so too. It’s yet another thing that people find subtle and not-so-subtle ways to punish you for: you were one who wasn’t supposed to fail. And since you did fail, we will punish you, or at the very least devalue you.

I spent nine and a half years in universities, which gives me shivers to contemplate now, now that it’s long over. As Kurt Vonnegut said more than once: How the hell did I do that? Truly, looking back, I don’t know, because the thought of spending most of every day on a campus now makes me start a headache.

So with education and native intelligence, you will surely make something of yourself, which, translated out of the land of euphemism, means: You will make your own money. You will buy your own home. You will not be dependent on family and on government agencies for help. You will not be a leech, a parasite. You will satisfy our clichés by pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and standing on  your own two feet. And if you don’t, you are worse than others who fail who lacked the blessings of high intelligence and good education, and we will disrespect you all the more.

And so it has been in the years since I went on disability in 1994. No one like me should be poor, should be getting government handouts, should be living in shabby apartments and driving ancient cars. You should be successful, at least financially. Many people have said these words straight out, and many others have adroitly implied them. You were not supposed to fail, and we look down on you for having done so.

How would these words and implications make you feel? Like so many other actions and words from my fellow humans, they have made me feel worthless. Because I could not turn my brains and talents and education into economic success and independence, I am a failed and valueless and highly disappointing creature. And don’t misinterpret, please: I do not define myself as worthless in my own eyes. It’s in the eyes of others that I am such a nothing. And it is both demeaning and debilitating to be thought of in this way.

If you commit the great indisgression of being a financial flop in our post-modern society, and if you further stomp on other people’s illusions (dare I say delusions) by being a flop in the presence of talent, education, and intelligence, then you are truly open to any old person’s scorn, or abuse, or garden variety insults, and so on. You have violated the delusional cliché that in amerika, anybody who wants to, anybody who tries, can have their own personal slice of the pie, and if you don’t have the pie, then you didn’t want it badly enough. You didn’t try hard enough. This happens to be enormous baloney. It’s amerikan propaganda at its most insipid. It’s a crock. It doesn’t work for everybody, doesn’t hold true for everybody, and it never has. Never, ever will.

 

read…    Lifelines…   Braonwandering

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2010-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.


 

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5 Comments

  1. cat2read said,

    May 8, 2010 at 6:05 am

    Failure is when people stop trying. As far as I can tell, you haven’t done that! I wouldn’t class you as a failure, just someone who has some very big mountains to climb!

  2. braonthree said,

    May 10, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Thanks for commenting, Cat. You’re young … and you believe those mountains are climbable. Maybe that’s as it should be. But I’m NOT young. And I’ve been punched down to the bottom of every mountain before I’m halfway up. I’ve no desire to climb anymore.

  3. Ariane5 said,

    January 29, 2011 at 10:11 am

    This is sort of like “love conquers all”. I really believed that until I fell in love with an alcoholic I loved beyond all reason but who, within four years, was dead. Now I know that love does not conquer all.

  4. Ariane5 said,

    January 29, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Anne – do you think we were separated at birth? lol.

    I remain convinced that I had had a twin who died in the womb….

  5. braonthree said,

    January 29, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Ariane…. well, corny as it may seem, I do believe that love can conquer a LOT. But it has to be a love of depth, not just lip-service. And it has to be two-sided. I’m sorry someone you loved so much is gone…. I HOPE we were separated at birth. Never had a sister.


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