I’m setting up this post, not quite knowing what the point of it will be. I’m just sat, confronting my keyboard, with too many thoughts charging round my head. So here’s an attempt at setting them free.
For what felt like the hundredth time, I found myself stuck today. What over? An essay. Again.
I feel like all I ever talk about is essays, but my life is dominated by them at the moment. And it’s not that I can’t handle it – it’s just that with every single one, I reach a point before I’ve barely even begun where I just…stop. I start with my planning. I plan to the extreme. I write pages of notes and pull out quotes from every source available so that once I’m ready, I’m set, I’m confident. And yet I’m not. Because what if it’s not enough? What if I’m just not intelligent enough? And that – that thought alone – is what hits the hardest.
I’ve come to realise that over everything, it’s education and intelligence that I value most.
Personally, I blame Hermione Granger. Now you can roll your eyes at the standard shouts of “Harry Potter changed my life! / Harry Potter made me who I am!” because I know it’s a cliche. But I can’t explain this without doing so.
Picture a 7 or 8 year old girl. She adores reading, she visits the library every week. The school’s book sale days are her favourite day of the year. But it hardly matters anyway, because going to school genuinely brings her joy every single day. At that age, she is enthusiastic about homework and holds every intention to work on it immediately because she wants to “be like Hermione”. She writes pages of notes, she collects sheets of homework, she reads every book she can because with every single word she feels a little more like Hermione Granger, the person she wants to be when she’s older. She will forever remember the times when people complimented her with that exact comparison – “you remind me of Hermione” would echo through her mind and bring a beam to her face for years.
Well, that girl turned into me, and I don’t think that desire ever left. It’s become ingrained in my very core, this incessant need for knowledge. The people I aspire to be like all seem to hold the common theme of intelligence, and my longing to be so too never appears to dissipate.
And so within me is this constant coil of tension waiting to be sprung, because I’m fully aware of how rocky a situation that is. Of course I can’t know everything. But I don’t want to, I just…want to be intelligent. I want to be like Hermione Granger. Instead, I’m glaringly aware of how little I know about the world in general. Geography, cultures, and general world history definitely aren’t my strong point, having had a white-washed education which only ever seemed to focus on Britain in the World Wars or the Victorian period in the humanities subjects (as for Geography, I think we had about a month’s worth of lessons and then they just stopped? I never knew why). I’m forever grateful for my education – how could I not be? – but I just wish it was diverse. Now, I’m working on this myself, but it’s slow going when you don’t know where to start. Nonfiction books are a favoured method at the moment, but still, where do you start? *
Even smaller situations, like when I’m transcribing the subtitles for my booktube videos and I realise I repeat the same phrases over and over again instead of actually giving insightful feedback. Or in class, when I can’t express my point in a comprehensible way, or the entire class seems to know this tidbit of history that’s relevant to everything we’re studying and I’ll just nod and pretend sure, I knew that too.
Every recurring nightmare of memory relating to the times I “failed” in life leads to my lack of intelligence. I feel haunted by the time I failed a history exam because I panicked – causing me to drop the class entirely, stay “behind” a year, and start again – even though I know full well that I don’t get along with exams, AND I certainly don’t judge others who have gone through a similar route or think of them as any less intelligent for doing so. But we’re our own worst critics, right?
And so I’m stuck. Again.
But it’s an endless cycle, and I know that by the end of the week things will probably be moving forward again.
It took me awhile to even start this blog post because I immediately started thinking it’ll come across all wrong. Even now, I’m debating not posting it at all. I don’t want to sound attention seeking. I’m not asking for compliments or confirmation in any way. I don’t want to seem snobbish, like I desire to be better than everybody else. No – I desire to be like everybody else. It’s this community that inspires me every single day. All it takes is for me to scroll through any form of social media to become motivated to do something productive. Seeing your interactions, what you’re reading, writing, studying, creating, your mind sets and thoughts as you go about your general days…all of it inspires me in one way or another. And to me, that’s nothing short of incredible.
I strive to be intelligent. I value my education most of all. And while that seems a pretty standard outlook, to me it brings forth an intense and constant well of determination that almost feels painful at times.
Still, I wouldn’t give it up for the world.
* If you have any recommendations for nonfiction books that cover cultures outside of England and/or are history based across any time period (and are actually interesting reads), please let me know!!
Until next time…
Come and visit me!