More thoughts and ugly feelings about the IQ test

I´m feeling like a fool for writing again, and for writing so much at once about a stupid number. If I can´t handle the test result, then maybe I shouldn´t have taken the test. What kind of an arrogant twat am I if I have such a problem with being not quite officially brilliant? Fuck!

My reaction embarrasses me.

Here is my reaction: At the moment I am dead depressed. Not sad, just extremely apathetic; rigid in my emotional response. I think about nothing. I don´t even want to move. I feel extremely tired and I am glad for it. I do not ever want to do anything again. I take no pleasure in anything. Earlier I was writing in my German satire blog, but I felt hollow doing it, thinking: “It is worthless anyway.” I feel it is worthless to pursue anything intellectual, it is worthless to challenge myself, it is worthless to try to learn something.

Again, I know how bizarre and out of touch that is.

I feel so much shame that I do not even want to look at myself in the mirror. I don´t even want to open my eyes because it is like acknowledging that I will continue to live. And I don´t want that. I so don´t want to exist that moving or doing anything, even writing this blog entry, hurts almost physically.

I understand as much as this is some kind of punishment I´m inflicting on myself. If I´m worthless, then I don´t deserve happiness. I don´t deserve to feel like I´m great. That would be a self-serving narcissistic illusion because I really am not. I would also be deceiving others. What of the people (friends, teachers) who thought my intellect set me apart from others? Will they still have any respect for me?

It is cruel to reduce someone to a trait like smartness. And it´s all I´ve ever been in everybody´s eyes, the smart one. If I disappoint on this sector, then what do I have to offer? If people are forced to see me differently now, they will see someone who is not as clever as they thought she was and they will be mischievously relieved. I know, I don´t need to tell anybody. But I want to. I want people to like me for who I am and not for the label they slap onto me. Sometimes I feel like the assumption that I´m exceptionally bright is what forces people to treat me with a respect they don´t want to have for me. If I tell them I´m officially normal their resentment might crash straight down on me.

I feel so much resentment of my own for the airy fairy elite who has scraped together a few more points. I don´t feel it´s fair I should be excluded from their company (they have their club called Mensa which is superawesome (the guy who supervised the test lectured us on that for ages), and everyone in there is equal, whether he has an IQ of 140 or 130, but, hey, if you scored 129, stay the fuck out!). I don´t think it´s fair to assume they are so terrifically different from me. I think the guy who lectured us is actually conceited more than anything else. In the company of Mensa members you can even use a technical term or two, what a relief? Maybe he should spend more time with “normal” people…believing that it takes an IQ of 130+ to accept technical terms in a conversation is really devaluating the concept of genius a bit, don´t you think?

Why am I proud of admitting to those thoughts and feelings? Am I trying to win the Nobel Whine Prize? Because that depression is my way of being too proud to feel bitter. And that kind of pride is my greatest enemy.

I don´t really care about being a Mensa member. Genuinely not. But I care about being somewhere in nowhere land between two labels and two circles of people, and quite frankly it pisses me off. And, yes, it insults me to feel that there is an artificial barrier between me and people who might be very similar to me but can call themselves by some label that assigns a higher value to them. Call me sore loser all you want, I haven´t yet heard of any reasonable justification for that barrier. It is a mere convention, a convenience; but this is not a good basis for an exclusive club.

Of course I can see my own inconsistency. If that barrier doesn´t matter for shit, then why did I try to use it to break free from my parents? Wouldn´t I have been happy to take it for gospel if I had been somewhere north of the magic number? I think this disgusts me more than anything else. I´m sure I would have felt that uneasiness, though, and I would have had the same old self-doubts. Doubting I´m really all that clever, feeling like I cheated, worrying about how much of a snob I am.

The Mensa guy said that nobody at Mensa knew the IQ of other members. Which tells me one thing: No matter how much he emphasizes equality, there is a secret, anxious competition at work which is, by the means of discretion, kept hidden. It keeps people at ease psychologically to not have to compare themselves to other members, but they (or some of them; or maybe just that guy) are not sure of themselves at all. They have the same hang-ups I´m experiencing here. Or at least an awareness of the implications of comparing IQ scores. If it is impossible to share such information, then it is tied to peoples´self-worth in a way that seems dangerous. And maybe not just their self-worth.

My own self-worth and the identity I´ve been given have been dealt quite a blow. I´m too proud to declare myself equally clever as the folks who made it past the line. Too proud to claim their label for myself. My own arguments above make me squirm with discomfort.

I´m too stubborn to ever want to use my brain again (thank god my medulla is apparently so brilliant it can formulate blog entries all on its own, then). I feel like this is somehow the correct consequence. Like I´m not worthy of thinking, writing, blogging and being funny. Not worthy of the pride I take in a well-written piece. I´m not going to take something that isn´t mine.

I feel disowned. I don´t feel like everything I wrote and achieved was worthless, but I feel like I no longer have a right to claim it for myself or be proud of it. I feel like I produced it in a way I had no control over (often inspiration, intuition, internal dialogues I´m merely observing), and now that the results are in these things will never return to me. I´m not worthy to be kissed by the muse. The muse must be married to the guy who supervised the test.

Here´s the crazy thing: I would never have scored anywhere near what I scored if I had left it to “inspiration, intuition” or anything else I had no control over. A month back I had no idea how to solve number series. I was dead scared of anything to do with math. Then I looked at the stuff, realized that most of it was a bit tricky, but not rocket science – and during the test I could solve all of them in within the time limit. I relied on learning and understanding. I could have done the same thing with other math stuff (I really do have some gaping holes in my math101). The only thing I´m truly hopeless at is mentally moving around cubes. Spatial sense my ass! I´m glad if I find the door to the room I´m in! But that´s not the point. The point is:  All that artsy, psychological inspiration stuff has nothing to do with what was actually tested, and I believe this will be affected somehow! Now that is bizarre!

I´m awfully proud of the number series thing, no matter what the result. And why? Because I 1) overcame an unnessessary limitation and 2) know how I did it. It is nothing that just came to me like a grace of god. It was my own doing, my own effort, my own success. I feel like I didn´t just get lucky. It is a skill which I acquired and now own. And during the test I actually had fun with these series. I enjoyed that part of the test, it boosted my self-esteem; just like the memory part, which is something I´ve always had a knack for.

Now I feel like these skills have been taken away from me. Or at least my right to exercise and use them, because that would be cheating. Like acquiring skills is inferior to “just having them”. A way of pretending you “just have them”. Like some people never had to learn anything, they were born with a brain that sees the pattern in the number series the way you can immediately see that

a b c d

makes four letters. You don´t have to count them (unless you have OCD. I just counted them. Again. And again.). I have to analyze number series. I can do so fairly quickly by now, but I don´t just look at them and see the solution. If that is true genius, then I don´t possess it. But why does that thought kill all the fun I´m having working on such riddles? Why does it make me feel like I shouldn´t even get started? How exactly would it make me feel if I did it anyway?

Arrogant. Presumptuous. Swell-headed.

Like I´m pretending I´m something I´m not.

Let´s transfer this to another area: Blogging. Having something valuable to say. A similar principle applies here: If I am not officially brilliant, then blogging and making statements means pretending I possess the ability to think logically and say true things. As soon as I do not fulfill the random criterion of “being really intelligent” I´m not to be taken seriously anymore. Or much rather: I cannot have anything important to say. Somebody more brilliant has said it or will say it, and because he is more brilliant, the thought, the insight is originally his, even if I´ve never met him or talked to him or read anything by him. I cannot possibly produce anything that is more brilliant than what a truly brilliant person can come up with, so I should not bother the world with a lesser version of the great wisdom greater minds spread.

Yeah, I´m basically denying myself the right to evolve and grow. The right to become skilled and knowledgable in just about anything. I´ve “decided” I´m not worth it, even though it is the right of every human being. How can it ever be ridiculous? Or presumptuous?

But this is how I feel.

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2 Responses to “More thoughts and ugly feelings about the IQ test”

  1. vicariousrising Says:

    I don’t know if this will help you at all given I don’t know who you hang out with or have enjoyed being around. But I know I like smart. But I don’t think I see smart as a pedigree or a Mensa qualifier. I’ve had friends who went to crappy-ass colleges and if I’d known that prior to making a connection, I’d have made assumptions. But often I found this info out after I’d discovered some sort of intelligence that spoke to me. It made me puzzle about their route in life, but only because I was only given one path from my parents. I didn’t have the freedom to really decide for myself.

    So, maybe if you can look at people you admire or enjoy and figure out whether they have that je ne sais quoi that may not be IQ measurable. I bet you’ll find at least a couple.

  2. I guess I wasn´t really thinking about the people I hang out with now, rather my former class mates. I think in a way I stopped being the smart one once I entered uni; I found a new identity as a slacker. Similar in my circle of friends: They are nerds and I know nothing about computers, so I´m mostly quiet. In their company I feel like I´m suddenly the silly-but-pretty chick who hangs out with them. Dreadful when you think of it.

    People I admire typically have traits which can be measured by no test in the world: They have social skills, they are assertive without being aggressive; or maybe they are particularly sensitive and tactful. Or they are spontaneous and genuine, able to show feelings.

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