I've always liked to think of myself as a smart person. As a child, I loved drawing and making art, and although I never developed any real talent for it, I still enjoy drawing and doodling. I've also always enjoyed writing, whether it be prose or poetry. I'm not sure I could make it through life without music. I've tooled around with the guitar for several years, but never really found the time to master it. I feel like being a creative person, or at least having the drive to create, is part of what makes me feel smart.
The other part of it is the people I surround myself with. My best friend Natalie is brilliant. And I mean seriously brilliant. She makes beautiful art, whether it be drawing or painting - she's even made some beautiful crochet and knitted items. She writes the most elaborately beautiful stories and poetry, as if these elaborate dreams just flow from her pen. She is well read and well spoken and unlike a lot of the more literary, book smart-type people that I know and have heard of, she is incredibly well rounded when it comes to having common sense. I know that no matter what I need help with, whether it be writing a paper or solving a problem with my kids, I can go to her.
My husband is also incredibly smart. He's sharp as a tack and incredibly quick witted. He comes up with hilarious parodies to all the songs on the radio and has a funny response to anything you throw at him. He loves history and nature and spends a lot of time expanding his knowledge on both.
All of the people I surround myself with are so smart in their own ways. They're cunning and witty and knowledgeable on a vast variety of topics. (And don't think that just because you're not mentioned here that I don't have a million wonderful things to say about you - it's just getting late and I'm not even beginning to get to the meat of what's keeping me up.) It's sometimes difficult though, when I think of these friends and family members in comparison to myself. I think of how awesome they are in whatever it is that they do and realize how lacking I am in most of what I do. I remember times that I've said something really stupid and go over them time and again in my head until I'm up writing a blog post about it at 5 in the morning, and then I think I really must be stupid if I'm doing this instead of sleeping.
Last week I was talking with a friend of mine at work. We were talking about our boss's brother who just moved here from Cuba. I was lucky enough to be at a lunch with my boss's family where his brother was talking about his family's life in Cuba and so much of what he said really put things into perspective for me. The night before this lunch, Gracie and I had the "there are starving kids in Africa, so don't you dare complain about not getting jelly on your toast this one time" speech, and the next day I find myself listening to stories of how in Cuba if you aren't under the age of six or elderly, if you are caught drinking milk, you can be imprisoned. My boss's sister-in-law told us her grocery list according to what rations her family was allowed and one of the things that stood out to me was that they were only allowed to purchase four ounces of meat a month. As I am relating this information to my friend, I made some mention of the earthquakes that hit Cuba recently, and only now in my middle-of-the-night-restfulness do I realize that although there have been quakes in Cuba within the past year or so, the specific earthquake I was talking about was the one to hit Haiti back in 2010.
Now, I know that this probably isn't really that big of a deal, but it has sort of had a domino effect, bringing to mind a great number of other random stupid and/or naive blunders of my past. One blunder in particular that came to mind happened when I was 12 or 13. I had stayed the night at a friend's house for a slumber party the night before and my friend and her other guests were sitting around with her mom talking about the night's events. My friend's mother had been fairly strict when it came to going to bed - once the lights were out, we were supposed to go straight to sleep, no talking. But you get four or five pre-teen girls in the same room, no matter what time it is, and there is going to be talking. Naturally, my friend's mom had to come in several times to hush us. After the third or fourth time, we noticed a shadow under the crack in the door and all pretended to be asleep for several minutes, then continued to whisper to one another for a while before slowly drifting off to sleep. So the next morning as we're discussing the night's events, my friend's mom mentioned how we'd finally fallen asleep just after midnight or so and I felt the need to contest that notion. I'm not sure why, perhaps because I felt like we'd been clever and I needed to prove it. I told her that we'd only pretended to be asleep and boy did I think I was smart. I can only imagine how much trouble my friend was in once I left. (And to think I wondered why my friend's mom hated me.)
Again, that probably isn't really that big of a deal, especially considering my age at the time, but the point isn't how long ago it happened or how old I was, but that I am constantly still making incredibly stupid and naive comments like that. I feel like I still have a somewhat naive view of life, even though I'm almost 30 years old and have been living in the "real world" for long enough to have a better grasp on these things. I know that these small examples don't necessarily mean that I am stupid, but when they present themselves to me in the way that they tend to come - almost like a line-up of stupidity where I'm always the guilty party - it sure makes me feel that way.
I'm not really sure where I am going with this or why I felt the urge to write it all down, let alone share it with the world. I'm not fishing for compliments, no matter how much it may seem that way. I suppose I simply felt like getting it out might make me feel better. I'm sure most anyone could relate to feeling stupid over what others might see as incredibly small and forgettable incidences. Maybe I'm just looking for someone to commiserate with. So, take from this whatever you can. As for me, I'm going back to bed.