In bridging the distance that I have created with self-disclosure, I’ve been opting lately to be more frank and honest with not only my readers, but also myself. On continuing the discussion of the inferiority complex that I have seemingly developed throughout the years, I’ve given the topic quite some thought, but have yet to find the exact words to describe the state best. What I have been able to reconcile, though, are perhaps some of the key memories that have contributed to these feelings of mine.
Up until the fourth grade, I always felt as though that I was advanced intellectually in comparison to many of my peers. And that alone was solace for me for the quite some time until I realized the need for social acceptance, in which I mean acknowledgment from others of my ability to achieve. And I suppose that’s what I’ve always felt to be missing. Backtracking to a particular incident, which somehow made me believe that I would always be “backstage,” we had these competitive groups in our class. Each month we would strive to collect points so as to be the group with the most, so that we could collect $1 (I think that was what the prize was). The reason as to why I tried so hard one month baffles me to this day, but I do remember racking up a substantial amount and it going unnoticed. As I discuss it now, I realize it being incredibly juvenile, but somehow, the memory has always clung to me. There was no pat on the back for my efforts that I had seen given to others; I was frustrated. I thought that talking to my teacher would help, but all it did was to reinforce the idea that I was being silly, so I left it at that.
I flew under the radar for the first half of high school; after all, I had nothing to claim as “my thing” that could garner some recognition. Let’s face it: I never won any academic awards in high school, never was the favorite of any teacher (for me, I felt that teachers provided an additional barrier for me to overcome in terms of inferiority), and never was satisfied with my appearance. The only thing that I had thought of that could help was if I went to a US school for university; but of course, that generally comes to fruition if you can do standardized testing, at which I’m awful. I could never rack up a high enough score, compared to my friends who were also applying, so I was never seen as “US bound” (why we have this idea that going to the US for school makes you “holier than thou” is still something I can’t quite understand) and just seemed like a wasteful ambition upon reflection.
And in discussion of going the US for post-secondary studies, I recall another incident – the galvanic cell; rather, the question asked about it. I was at the time dating a boy and studying AP level chemistry on my own time (I thought it would be an excellent idea given that I had never taken chemistry… but I thought that this would be better for my application). It was a fire drill and we were outside, and I held onto him. He and his friends were talking about the test of which they were in the middle, and he asked something about the particular metals used in the cell. It being one of the few things that I understood clear enough, I replied. He blew off my answer and asked his friends – turns out that I was right. It was just another one of those moments where I couldn’t own the sense of being “right” or “knowledgeable.”
There are probably more events that have left me feeling a sense of failure in comparison to my peers. With every one of my successes, I seemingly take a step back and wait to see if any of my elementary/high school friends notice. When we gather, the only merits that I seem to have are that I’ve lived in France and go to NYFW and LGFW, which pale in comparison to those who are working on law and medical school applications, or those that already have direct entry into their graduate programs. I’m seemingly compelled to constantly one-up myself for this invisible body of recognition; however, in realizing this issue of mine in writing, I find myself more motivated and encouraged to work on these feelings of constant inadequacy.
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