The 20%

An unanswered question, well not exactly, it has been asked plenty of times and the replies I get are always treated 50/50. I had looked for the better part of 35 years to find out what was wrong with me? What was different? I could see it, and I could sense it and felt it in reactions from others. When I was younger I was just a weird kid, that could be explained away. Yet, as I grew older and the separation was larger and more pronounced throughout the years, damn… what was I? I was a raging alcoholic, and I smoked more pot than most Jamaicans, and that is never good for any mental state. Now that I am clean and sober though, those same things I tried to drink away became more acute, reappeared and basically said with a loud pop! Here you are.

Over my lifetime I had been medicated for a number of conditions, all associated with depression and anxiety. I ended up self medicating and “functioning” for a number of years until I couldn’t function at all. When I first became sober I was unemployable, I couldn’t find a job, and the stress and poor diet caused severe health challenges to begin my sobriety as I went from a 220 lb worker, to a 143 lb bag of bones. In the process of losing my muscle and mass, a number of other health issues arose. During that time though, as I was going through the worst part of my life health wise, I was also going through a spiritual and personal awakening. Still looking for that mental illness that people were saying I must have. I had studied, and seen the experts on a number of conditions, they just never added up all the way.

I was a part this and that, but not this part and definitely not that. I had depression, but who didn’t? It was at a campout with a bunch of other sober drunks that a good friend said that I was too sensitive, something I have always heard. My reply was that he was under-empathetic… He was right of course, and within a few days of coming home from that trip, after a few exhausting days of reading and searching, I found it. Like I stated at the beginning though, what to call it, how to see it? Is firmly as subjective as the belief system of the persons dealing with it. 20% of the population has this, so it is too big to be a condition or disease, and only about 2% know they have it. Modern Psychology is still indifferent to many of the methodologies, yet they are in consensus on the overall premise. People with acute intellectual gifts have certain detractors that come along with it. I discovered I was in that category, and every part of it fell in line, not one iota of the information didn’t fit, I had found the missing 20% of my psyche and I cried.

I guess I had/have some innate talents and abilities that enhance some aspects about life, and are the impetus of others that make it difficult at times. Some call it gifted, some call it high ability, while others wish to classify it with antiquated Freudian norms. I can write anything from a hit song to a novel, I can draw and paint, sing and dance, and have been called a Renaissance Man more times in my life than I can count. Uber creativite is what one friend says, I just feel curious. I am wise and naive, and will ask even when I know the answer because I am so afraid of failure. In my beliefs, I haven’t accomplished anything, in reality I have to be reminded that I have. I invent and build, repair and interpret, and am always looking for something else that I don’t know. I am a constant thinker that delves deep into those places that people don’t like to go to in themselves, to pull out the truths that can make me a better person. That is about all of the ego I have, those things I like and my approach to life leaves me distant from others, and my esteem at a downward tilt most of the time. I acquiesce too easily, and yet at the same time know already that I am not quite the hardnose leader that some need, and not the too nice of one that most suspect.

So after getting sober, cleaning up my act and putting myself back together, albeit in a very different form. I am in college classes, and the same old fears and insecurities are returning. So I am learning to deal with those old/new feelings with what I know now. The horrible part of it is that the school has somehow gotten the idea that I am less than mentally astute. At least that is the indication that I get from my Engineering classes because of the horrible grade I received last Summer in an easy math class. So, I really went into a funk about what to do with my education. In trying to explain myself I actually probably made it worse as there was an instructor in the engineering class that dealt with students that needed extra attention. She speaks with a certain condescending manner as you would do with Middle School kids, I don’t think she knows she does it though. Then she asks questions on behalf of some of the students that bring the level of discussion right down to kindergarten levels… I feel what IQ I must have taking a serious nose dive, and question why I am paying for this class?

I looked at an AA degree or just some kind of general degree, and I did what I do, I pondered it. But I thought about the engineering class and all of the things that I already knew before I got there, how uninteresting it was making it. Then I looked at the things I don’t know and all of the things that were ahead in the degree program… I thought that if the engineering was kind of boring so far, then any art or creative efforts would also be as frustrating and boring to a certain degree. Yes, I feel they are just trying to teach me to be a Boeing bot and learn how to be a company man. In the meantime, I can explore a few other career opportunities not associated with aerospace. It is difficult trying to be in the job building college market when you already have your own plans and retirement is already clipping your toenails. I put myself out there for a select few and anyone who may follow, to be an example. I have no idea what that example will ultimately take shape as, but for now it is as a student in a technical field. I do not want to quit because of difficulties as that is old behaviors, and my resilience has already been pointed out to me.

I am going to go to a Buddhist Temple with a dear friend of mine. Spend some time meditating and talking, and not talking… When I start the Winter quarter I will be directed even better in my journey, in my purpose of spirit, and to the example that I am creating for all of those who came before and after this single soul of the 20%.

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