Are You Stupid?

Three words that kill me from the start.

While writing Tasks are only as difficult as the mind believes it is, I realized why I do what I do and why breaking the cycle has been such a struggle.

Realizations happen when you least expect it and sometimes they come at exactly the right moments. At first, I never thought anything of it, but it all sorta clicked during a meeting with an astrologer my sister had set up for me since I’ve been struggling with my career path and wanted to learn more about myself while also helping her knowledge in the field of astrology grow.

We were talking about my career and all the things I have been doing to work towards that goal to all the mental, physical, and emotional roadblocks in my life.  He said some things that I have learned some to be true and realized some on the spot about myself.  We got to talking about what internal factor is really stopping me from moving forward, with questions about my childhood.  As I reminisced on what I believe to be a wonderful and happy childhood, he encouraged me to dig deeper.  And then it hit me, there was something buried.

Flashback to little me sitting at the kitchen table trying to work through the riddle of a math problem. Struggling.  Looking up at him begging for help.  But instead, *smack* a hand to the side of my head, his lips pursed into a fine line, nudging his bent finger digging into my skull, “Are you stupid? . . . Why can’t you get this?”  

Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.  Bull, words can hurt. Words are equally as bad as sticks and stones, if not worse depending on how long of a time the words stab you in the heart and especially if it comes from one of the most important person in your life. 

He wasn’t an abusive father, although, I did remember threatening to tell the D.A.R.E counsellor about his “abusive” ways. He never actually hit me . . . He only smacked me across the head hoping that the jolt of the brain would spark an intellectual thought. I knew I have some daddy issues, but I had no idea to how much of an impact it made on my life.

When I think of my childhood, I think of the most precious and best moments. The days of innocence and purity.  The times when I lived more carefree than worry-free.  The times when my grandpa was alive and my grandma’s mind was active. There was love in the house, I felt it.  Even though, we barely said our “I Love You’s”, I know it was there.  I remember being a good kid.  I was a homebody that enjoyed being at home with my grandparents playing games and watching TV.  I always asked permission before doing things and listened to my parents or elders around me.  But at the same time, I was the youngest.  They were more lenient with me, like any other youngest in any family; I had it easy.   I didn’t take the crap some of the things my dad said or put us through.  I even nudged back in a jokingly manner.  I was the shy kid around strangers, but at home I was the clown that brought life into the house. I remember doing bad things, and getting reprimanded by my grandma.  I do remember getting punished and having time outs looking at the wall, but my punishments were no where as bad as my siblings.

My grades were much poorer than my older sisters.  My reading comprehension was low. My essay writing was terrible. I was placed in the slow paced math classes up until 8th grade. But I guess I am lucky that he never scolded me the way my sisters were scolded for getting a poor grade.  I was never grounded for being stupid. I think my dad just gave up on me. One thing I remember and still often think about is he never once pushed me or encouraged me to succeed.   He sheltered me from the bad and didn’t expect anything of me to do anything or be anybody.  I mean, in his defense, he’s never said anything to assure me, these are just feelings.

Thinking about it now makes me wonder why I made sure I was a good kid. Was it to compensate because I was stupid? Because he told me I was stupid and I believed him? So, the inner people pleaser that I am did nothing wrong to earn his affection? I studied hard, but it was never enough.  I was never smart enough.  Good enough.  I never really excelled at anything, but I flourished in creative writing.  Even with that, he never took my creative ideas seriously. Naturally, as I grew older, I stopped sharing and looking for his words of affirmation that I would never get from him doing something that I love to do like modeling or writing in this blog.

It’s breaking my heart as I type this because it’s making me look back at the darkest part of my innocent days. It saddens me because I love my dad.  I love my mom.  I LOVE my family, but he doesn’t even know how much the words, “Are you stupid?” affected me. The best and worst part about is I’m aware of it now, but I brought that habit and way of thinking into adulthood. I think of those close to me that don’t listen to me, wrong me, or do something to have upset me are stupid.  I call objects stupid for when it doesn’t work as properly as it should.  And the thing that internally torments me the most is proceeding to call myself stupid several times during the day.  Stupid for not being able to control myself from munching.  Stupid because I know what to do, I’m just not doing it.  Stupid because I know that cracking my neck is wrong, yet it’s become second nature to do so.  Stupid because I can’t quite commit to eating healthier, exercising daily, and keeping that positive mindset I know I need. Stupid because I know in my heart it is wrong to call myself dumb, and knowing that calling myself stupid will only make matters worse.

I don’t feel sorry for sharing such a personal piece about myself.  Writing this helped me to understand the major hurt of my childhood into adulthood and now that I am aware of it, I can take a different approach to what I’ve been yearning to do.  The tasks were such a difficult task for me because I was raised to believe and made sure I stayed “stupid”.  Thank you to the life I led and the people that I crossed paths with to help me form such a deep connection to my past.  I understand.  I accept.  And I’m looking forward to a better mindset without calling myself or thinking those close to me are stupid.  We are smart.  We are brave.  We can accomplish anything.  We are all learning and growing together.  No one is stupid.

My biggest hesitation to posting this is my fear that readers will be quick to judge my father and his parenting skills.  I didn’t turn out bad.  I’m not a murderer, I don’t do drugs, I don’t even like to drink, so they must’ve done something right. I don’t want to hide behind a mask and say my childhood was the shit or I am the bomb, because everyone has a dark side, everyone has a past, yet everyone can be redeemed.  I apologize to my father and mother for having to share such a personal story and I’m sorry that if you are reading this and you know him personally, I ask you not to judge him based on our relationship.  He had a rough past himself, although, he never spoke about it with us, I know he did.

Life isn’t always colorful.  There are ways to hide the ugly, but the truth gives transparency and an honesty no one should ever be discouraged to display. The truth that was hidden was released to help me move forward. I don’t hate my dad for calling me stupid.  I don’t hate him for keeping me in a glass jar.  I don’t hate him, period.

With all this deep learning about myself, I’m just curious to where will I go from here.


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