Photo: Trees in Winter

Trying not to be smart

part of: Postcards to the World

by Celeste Roth

I spent a fair amount of time and effort in my life trying to make other people convinced that I was smart-smarter than other people. I answered questions quickly and made insightful comments. I volunteered to lead groups and nailed the performance as spokesperson. I guess my efforts were successful because now when I walk into rooms, people seem to already know that I’m smart. No convincing is required. In fact, it is just the opposite. They tend to defer to me and agree with me. And I don’t like it. I want people to think for themselves, not listen to me. I want them to realize that their own minds are capable and to trust their own judgements and conclusions, not just ditto whatever I say. Now it seems that I want other people to think that they are smarter than me. Now I’m spending my time trying to figure out how to make people think I’m not so smart. Funny how life takes these kinds of U-turns.