Split personality

Saturday, January 26, 2008

In my second year as Sophist for hire, I find I am still struggling with things I feel I should have put to rest long ago.

My striving need for success, for recognition, for anointment as Better than, smarter than, more than is something with which I struggle deeply.

Is it jealousy? Maybe a little, but it is more than that. Deeper. Jealousy implies to me that it is more surface, more covetous in nature.

This itch that I feel tickles the very bottom of my soul. In a hurtful way, a scab not yet healed but picked off way, a way that aches as I do it, and Yet I can't help it.

I do not like this facet of myself. I have not been served well by it, for it has driven me to exhaustion and gotten me into more trouble than the ambition is worth at times. This is the one that Terrance has correctly labeled the Snob. The part of me that DOES believe that I am better than you.

The filter that I attempt to muzzle over my brain to mouth conduit is part of the repression of these urges. I understand, intuitively, that the intelligence I have been graced with is not always a good thing. My brain - ever active, ever alert, ever watchful and thinking, whirs with information and opinions. They can leap out, unbidden, into the world. I can stand on the side of myself and watch the event, thinking "Oh no. That wasn't good".

For those of you who have had the mixed pleasure of hanging with me in person, you will know that my facial expressions often are matching my internal dialog. EXACTLY matching my internal dialog. Raised eyebrows, eye rolls, looks of surprise, interest, sarcasm, humor, concern - all roll across the palette of my face - a veritable ocean of expressions. I often forget my face and have gotten into more trouble than I care to acknowledge in meetings for my inability to remain impassive. When in doubt, you will find me staring down at a book, or piece of paper in my lap - trying hard not to look up, for I know my facade will be shattered if I make eye contact with anyone.

As I wrestle with this side of myself, I ponder how it came to be. I know not everyone feels the drive I do to be recognized, and the easy answer would point to my father. His distance made me want to be special. His looming non-presence in my life pushed me to be more.

If only it was so very Freudian.

Maybe it is my age - approaching 40 - or the long winter of Montreal. I feel restless and antsy. My comp questions are due and are - for the most part - done. I just have to write them. I have trouble moving beyond these milestones in my progress. Each step brings me closer to the end - which I both long for and fear. For then, what will I do?

I struggle with an apology to the Instructor from Wednesday. I should. My rational side knows that I SHOULD address it. In fact the rational dawn is HOUNDING me to address it. Stubborn dawn? HATES to apologize. A Pathological aversion to apologies.
I will struggle to find a way to say the words and still remain sincere, but also prove that I am right. Not a very good tactic - I know. There are times I wish I could do what so many other people do and just smile and apologize - but my face gives me away. I am a lousy liar, so my lies are mixed with partial truths or statements that I believe are true so that I can say them with impunity.

I counteract the Snob in me by forcing her to put my talents to work for the underserved of the world - Young children, families in poverty. As the snob cries out for recognition, I force her to be involved in the world she longs to escape.

Sometimes I don't like me very much.

3 Baleful Regards:

Bobita said...

Cut from the same cloth.

Last week I attended my first faculty meeting after a six-month sabbatical. I heard at least one sigh and several snide comments suggesting "everybody has to be back on their game now that Bobita is back."

Damn right they better be on their game. Otherwise, I might not be able to suppress the bare-ass-spanking impulse that is the bane of my existence.

I try. Ever so hard, do I try.

My father is likely the source. He was an evil genius and nothing delighted me more (upon finding my courage) than to match wits with him, and win. But I hate myself in those moments of Intellectual Snobbery, when I hear him in my voice and see him in my skin...

Kim said...

Instead of Intellectual Snob, I prefer "dumb-ist". I'm not racist, ageist or sexist. I'm Dumbist. I've also struggled for years with the same problem, and have learned to let those around me stumble in the dark houses that encase their brains. I let my intelligence be my secret pleasure; I must b/c I do not work in acadamia. I work in banking. Which houses the slowest witted creatures on earth.

Mignon said...

I feel your pain. I don't like me very much these days either, and find myself trying to ingratiate myself TO myself and others. It's painful, as if I'm constantly thinking back to embarrassing things I said/did while drunk or whatever. Except I'm not drunk while standing in my daughter's school playground. Just a fucking idiot saying idiotic things.

So about the apology. Perhaps you are truly sorry that you may have embarrassed the instructor in front of her class. Perhaps you know there was probably a better approach. But in admitting these things to her, you still make it tacitly clear that she made an incorrect statement, and that you felt it was important for the students to get correct information. Then flash your tits. She'll forget the whole thing.

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