I’m feeling down today for no real reason, so I’m going to talk about things I’m good at in hopes it’ll make me feel better. Okay, if we’re being honest, it’ll mostly make me feel like a jerk who has no right to say nice things about herself, but I think it’s a useful exercise anyway.
I am smart. It bugs me a little that this is the first asset that springs to my mind because it’s all my family ever valued about me…but it’s still an asset. I taught myself to read at age 3. I was in gifted classes all through school. I graduated from the #4 high school in the United States. I was a National Merit Scholar and got a full academic scholarship to college.
I’m curious. That isn’t necessarily linked to being smart–I’ve known smart people who weren’t curious, and they bored the hell out of me. I want to know things and understand them. I’m interested in the world around me, from linguistics to politics to cosmology. I love that there is still so much we don’t know. I love that there are still mysteries because those are beautiful.
I care about people. I don’t want to hurt people, even if I hate them and think they’re morally reprehensible. I may daydream about murdering them, and I may threaten to whack people–but I would never actually do it. Seriously. After my sister disclosed our father’s abuse, a friend of the family who’d been in prison pulled me aside and offered to put a hit out on my father. He was dead serious, and I told him thank you but no. I think there’s enough suffering in the world, and I don’t want anyone to hurt more than they have to.
I’m articulate. I have always been good with words; that’s why I majored in creative writing in high school. I’m good out loud (most of the time), and I’m even better on paper. I think before I speak and make sure I’m saying exactly what I want to say. My freshman year at Bama, I had this crazy Irishman teaching my integrated honors seminar. When we wrote papers or discussed our readings in class, he’d always bellow at us, “Define your terms!” I nearly had a nervous breakdown every time we had a paper due, but he was the best professor I had. He made me even better at saying precisely what I mean.
I am passionate and opinionated and stubborn. I have an opinion on nearly everything, and I will argue you into the ground about it. I enjoy debates–so much, in fact, that I sometimes have to remind myself that most people don’t like to argue about everything all the time. I am good at arguing a point. It’s one of the few gifts my grandfather gave me–from the time I was little, dinnertime would be debate time. He’d pick a subject, see what side I took, and argue the opposite side. As I got older, he’d make me argue the opposite of what I believed. It was exhilarating then, and it’s exhilarating now.
I fight, and I survive. Sometimes purely out of spite. That’s why I’m still standing–because I get pissed off and refuse to back down or give in to anyone. I don’t break. I used to hate that about myself. I used to think it would be so much easier if I could just give up and kill myself, or even just passively let myself die. I hated myself for not being able to do it. But now…now the depression is gone, and while I still have plenty of other problems to work through, I am damn glad I was too stubborn to give up and die.