My Last Inhibition

In my never-ending strive to be as honest as possible, I have to admit something about myself. There is one particular area of my life that I’ve allowed others to have control over me, and that is the full use of my intellect. The primary … ‘sub-area’ of this, if you will, is with my vocabulary. That may sound strange, so let me explain.

When I was one month away from turning 15, I went to a friend’s birthday party (and yes, I remember this vividly enough to remember I was 14). His brother was there with his own friend, and we were all playing Halo 2 (my favorite video game still to this day). My friend’s brother and his friend kept complaining about something: my vocabulary, of all things. Apparently, I wouldn’t stop using big/unusual words. This was something people had openly complained about before in my life, but never like this. They were almost yelling at me to tone down my vocabulary. I was very confused. I had no idea why words, of all things, could be such a problem.

After my friend’s birthday party, when I was home, I spent a long time thinking about his brother’s problem with my vocabulary, and the fact people had made this complaint toward me before. Then, it occurred to my 14-year-old brain why this was a problem: Having a wider vocabulary made me difficult to understand, and for insecure people, it made me come across as arrogant. So, that’s when I made a decision that I’ve kept course on to this day: I decided to dumb down how I spoke. It made sense. I wanted people to understand me, and I didn’t want people to be constantly annoyed with me purely because of how I spoke.

It’s extended to my writing, including and especially this here blog of mine. Small, common words in the tone and structure of the average person. On this blog, I’ve consciously tried to make it sound like I’m talking to my audience, rather than writing something for them to read. Not sure if it worked.

I’ve talked before about how intelligence is a curse, which most people don’t realize. (Can’t understand what you don’t have.) I’ve talked before about how my older brother was always insecure about my being more intelligent than he is, and how to make himself feel better, he instigated arguments with me on a near-daily basis, believing that disagreeing with me on subjects made me look dumber. This decision I made when I was 14 was really the culmination of all these experiences. My vocabulary was really the most in-your-face aspect of my intelligence. I can’t change how I think, but I could stifle my … presentation.

Really, what I’m getting at here is that I’ve always allowed people to stifle me intellectually. It’s just how I was born, and apparently the way I was born constantly made/makes people feel insecure around me. I never wanted that. There’s no benefit to it. All I’ve ever wanted from the people around me is peace, acceptance, and good times. Impossible to get that when you make everyone feel insecure without remotely attempting to.

Then, after I reached my full height of 6’4 (1.93 meters for my non-American audience), and my life experiences changed my personality to a serious one … let’s just say that didn’t help with how people feel being around me.

Well, I’m deciding to repeal on the decision I made all those years ago. Why? Because it all turned out to be a waste. People still have trouble understanding me (which is sometimes my fault), and people still feel insecure around me. The one thing about me that I could control – my verbiage – isn’t enough to make it any better when people are around me. I can’t help being quiet, I can’t help being a large guy, I can’t help my now-natural serious personality …, so why the hell should I keep stifling my vocabulary? Also, just fuck people in general. These days, I think to myself, Why bother appealing to others in the first place? Most people are self-serving, and ignorant even after you’ve explained things to them, so why should I bother? My ex-wife and her entire stepfamily exemplified this almost as much as my own immediate relatives, and thus were the last straws. Now, I can count on one hand the number of people I want to and should serve and regard so much. To hell with worrying about how I come across to the rest, anymore.

I even remember at school being sometimes picked on when I figured out things before everyone else, or remembered more things our teacher than the rest of the class. Somehow, it was wrong, or some kind of social suicide to type 80wpm in the 4th grade, to take college-level courses before entering high school, or being the best at math except the two Asian students. It all made me wonder, Why is it bad to be smart? Shouldn’t that be something people like? The answer is: Yes, it is.

It never became natural to stifle my vocabulary. All these years later, I still have to do it consciously. It gets exhausting… It has also built up some resentment. My mind wants to be free. Now, just for the sake of clarity (because of course I have to clear this up), I’m not saying I have some kind of master-level speaking skills that could only be understood by poets and gods, for fuck sake. I’m not even claiming my natural way of speaking could be understood by anyone with higher intellect. All I’m talking about is how I speak, and you can describe it however the hell you want. In the past, most people just said I used too many uncommon and big words, period. Okay?

I’ve spent most of this post talking about dropping my inhibitions with how I speak and write, which is most of the picture but not all of it. I’m done holding myself back in any way for the sake of appearances, or making others feel more secure with themselves, however that might end up being; not unless I actually care for the feelings of the person I’m communicating with. By the time I reached my 20s, I already failed in this aspect for the most part, anyway. I was quite the people-pleaser as a child, and I truly wanted to be. I suppose learning is why we grow up.

End of post. Here’s a translation of this post into my natural verbiage:

–––––

In my ceaseless effort to be as honest as possible, I feel obligated to admit a particular truth: I have consciously stifled my intellect, at least outwardly, with my vocabulary being primarily affected.

Years ago, I went to a friend’s birthday party, one month prior to my own birthday. His brother was there with his own friend. We spent our time playing Halo 2, certainly more than we had engaged in any meaningful dialogue with each other. My friend’s brother and his friend complained relentlessly, of all things, about my vocabulary. Apparently, I wouldn’t stop speaking with unusual words; a complaint neither foreign or uncommon to me, though never to this extent. They were virtually yelling at me. I was confused. Of all matters to raise, to speak against, it was puzzling to be one like this. How could words alone be problematic?

At home, post-party, I spent a long time pondering about my friend’s brother’s issue, and the fact people had previously, on numerous occasions, made this complaint toward me. Then, it occurred to my adolescent mind: Possessing an expansive vocabulary made me difficult to understand, and, to the insecure, come across as pompous and demeaning. Therefore, I decided to dumb down how I spoke; a decision neither abolished or amended to the present day. It felt sensical, since I wished to be understood, and I didn’t want others irritated or mentally strained when conversing with me.

My aforementioned decision extended to my writing, including and especially to this here blog of mine, in the form of the common, concise words and structure of the average person. On this blog, I’ve consciously tried to make my prose likened to speaking face-to-face to my audience.

I’ve expressed before about the curse of intelligence, which the general population cannot comprehend. (One cannot understand what they’ve never had.) I’ve described how my older brother grew up, and remained, insecure about my superior intellect, and his tendency to ease that insecurity through instigating arguments on a near-daily basis, believing that disagreeing with me made me look dumber. My decision at age 14 was the culmination of all these experiences. One’s vocabulary is undoubtedly the most blatant aspect of their intelligence. I can’t change how I think, but I could diminish its display.

My central point is that I’ve always allowed others to stifle me intellectually. It’s my nature – a core component to my framework – and apparently that made/makes people feel insecure around me. I never wanted that. There’s no benefit to it. What I have solely desired for and from the people around me is peace, acceptance, and memorable, pleasant experiences; an impossibility when those in your life feel insecure by no intention of your own.

After I reached my full height of 6’4 (1.93 meters for my non-American audience), and my life experiences changed my personality to a serious one, the difficulty increased; magnified, actually.

Now fourteen years later, I’m deciding to repeal that decision. Why? It was all a waste. People only continue struggling, or outright failing, to understand me or feel any more secure in themselves around me. I admit I occasionally contribute to this. Nonetheless, the one facet about me that I could control at all times – my verbiage – is not sufficient to improve the matter. I can’t help being introverted, I can’t help being large, I can’t help my now-natural serious personality …, so why continue stifling my vocabulary? Also, just fuck people. These days, I ponder, Why appeal to others in the first place? Most are conceited, and ignorant even after you’ve explained something, so why should I bother? My ex-wife and the whole of her stepfamily exemplified this almost as much as my own immediate relatives; thus, they were the last straws. Now, I can count, on one hand, the number of people I should and desire to serve and regard so much. To hell with concerning myself about my impressions, anymore.

At school, I recall having been picked on for my wit, solving problems and recalling previous lessons before everyone else. Somehow, it was immoral, or some kind of social suicide to type 80wpm in the 4th grade, to take college-level courses before entering high school, or being the best at math except the two Asian students. It all made me wonder, Why is it bad to be smart? Shouldn’t that be something people like? The answer: Yes.

It never became natural to stifle my vocabulary. All these years later, it still requires a conscious effort, which often becomes exhausting. Some resentment has accumulated as a result. My mind demands freedom. Now, for clarity’s sake (because I inescapably have to clear this up), I’m not saying I possess some kind of master-level communication skills that could only be understood by poets and gods. I’m not even claiming my natural speech patterns could be understood by anyone with higher intellect. My meaning here concerns how I communicate, and you can describe it however the hell you want. In the past, most just said I used too many uncommon and big words, okay?

The bulk of this post was dedicated to explaining my relinquishing of what’s left of my desire to make people feel secure, regarding how I speak and write. That is most of the picture but not all of it. I’m done holding myself back at all for the sake of appearances, or making others feel more secure with themselves, however that might end up being; not unless I actually care for the feelings of the person I’m communicating with. By my 20s, I already failed in this aspect for the most part, anyway. I was quite the people-pleaser as a child, and I genuinely wanted to be. I suppose learning is why we grow up.

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