Someone told me once that I thought I knew it all but I thought wrong.
In fact they gave me an awesome black tee-shirt with those 3D rubbery (you know the sort) words which they had printed in florescent pink and orange printed on the front and back. I thought I knew it all (front), and You Thought Wrong (on back). At the time I thought it was funny and cute and wore the tee-shirt to death at college.
It was only years later that a friend told me that she thought the tee-shirt had been nasty, that they had been poking at my self-confidence and general knowledge through a certain schadenfreude in spirit, but I had been too naive blur sotong and too trusting of the world to realize that. I still have that that tee-shirt now, it is all faded and grotty and it is amazing that I did not pick up on that at all through one year of college and three years of university. The three people who had given it to me had been my best friends all through pre-law and law school.
Ten years later, I am still friends with only one of them. The other two and I sort of drifted away after college because we were obviously very different people with very different value systems...or we just grew up into different people, not the sort who hang out together or enjoy schadenfreude on demand.
The third friend, aaah, the third friend...of the three we were the least close but the most civil to each other...we stayed friends, our families stayed friends, and we coasted along somewhat happily for ten years. Now and then there were absences due to the vicissitudes of life, me with mine and she with hers, but recently, in the past year or so, we have found our friendship again. I am sure, even without asking, that she never had a hand in coming up with the wording on that tee-shirt.
I had even forgotten that the tee-shirt ever existed, but during some holiday spring-cleaning last week and this week, I came across it in my bedroom cupboard. Folded neatly in a corner. I am still deciding whether to throw it out or to keep it.
Why such sensitivity about the tee-shirt?
Well, it was a happy present when I received it, and now it is coloured with the stain of hindsight. That nothing is as it seems to be. That my friends saw through my insecurities and in fact knew I was less knowledgeable than I made out to be. That I have insecurities about the size of my brain ever since Mensa decided that I was the dumb one of my family (dad, bro, mum all have ostensibly higher IQ scores). That I have been trying to prove myself by being the "general knowledge Queen" and annoying those around me is testament to this insecurity which I need to work on. Not everyone wants to know everything about everything. Not everyone wants to know the little details.
I must stop throwing my brain at people.
I apologize if I have done that to you in the past. I hope my brain did not poke you in the eye.
I will keep the tee-shirt.
As a sign to always be humble no matter how high I fly, and no matter the scales of success that I reach.