Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dictionary Dork - An embarrassing memory

The other day I was hit with a bit of nostalgia, thinking back to the "glory" days of Middle School *shudder*. I'll share it for your amusement, or perhaps so you feel a little better knowing that you are not the only socially akward one out there.

I remember back to Mr. Cuthbertson's Social Studies class - possibly World History, I'm not sure (strange I remember his name, I can't recall the name of any other teachers from Middle School). He asked us to define a word/concept, I rose my hand to answer and forever changed my perception of the man though it wasn't really his fault - you see up to that point I had found him to be a cool and knowledgeable teacher. In response to my definition to the now forgotten word, he replied something to the effect of, "Wow, that sounds straight out of the dictionary." Though it wasn't in fact. I realized as soon as he started to speak that I had made a grievous error.
I know he didn't do it maliciously, but his ill thought out comment was still a blasting bullhorn announcement to commence the mockery. A red flush crept up my neck and face, as the snickering and snide comments were uttered all around me. Yes of course it is Middle School, having a semblance of intelligence is not rewarded. It is ridiculed. Unfortunately for my fragile sense of self at the time I didn't act "cool" and deliver the definition in a short and vague blurb, or better yet just slouched in my seat and acted like I was too interesting to waste time raising my hand.

But this is not a story about regretting what I did, it is more about regretting my internal reaction. You see when I look back on it, I realize that I don't regret giving my answer. What I regret is reacting to the snide comments. There was nothing to be gained from making friends with those people, so there was no reason to worry what they thought. You should never let someone make you feel bad for having intelligence, caring about school, grades, reading or anything else positive.

"It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not."  -Andre Gide

Point is: don't let others influence you to hold back on who you are. Embrace it. Find your potential and pursue it. If you don't, you're just holding yourself back and can only blame yourself.

So...anyone care to share an embarrassing moment and anything they learned from it?

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