A really good friend of mine turned me on to a new artist by the name of Banks ( not Lloyd Banks people ). Banks is just an amazing artist that is haunting and strong; I’m pretty enamored by this artist but the song Brain really sent me over the edge. The song really spoke to my whole life trying to fit in and doing what was needed in the moment to seem cool. I think it’s something we can all relate to but these lyrics in particular cut like a knife: ” Always try to calculate, Trying to look smart, but not too smart, to threaten anything they say”. What would anyone diminish their intelligence for others? Why do people consistently fear other people’s joy (click here for the answers)? Why did I stop myself from real growth for so many years so not to outpace those I was associated with? I tend to have more questions than answers, but on this topic I have a some answers and new strength to push things forward.
I’ve written a few times with, ” Can you not be so Buddhist?” and ” Fortune Cookie” about my struggles being myself to the masses. I don’t want to sound like a broken record but I still don’t have it and it still bothers me. I must say in no way do I feel I am this exceptional mind that you mere mortals have to bow down to. I will say I enjoy how my mind works, and specifically how it attempts to turn everything into a teachable moment, and a spiritual one. I receive compliments often on my outlook and the few pearls of wisdom that arises from living in the moment as Buddhism has offered me. Can I say I might have a leg up? Yes I will say that but it’s not just available to me. The wealth of the Buddha’s knowledge and teaching are their for the willing; if not in this life then maybe the next.
So I’ve gotten my typical Buddhism reference in, now for some frank talk. I’m pretty annoyed at the constant requests from those with a less than positive outlook on life and knowledge. It bothers me those who enjoy learning and pushing their mental capabilities are called nerds and ostracized by really the ignorant. I’m actually doing my best not to insult for I am a Buddhist and really it helps no one, but I am less than thrilled at the notion of being smart being threatening. Real talk, how about being friends with the smart guy because you might need him someday. In reality the benefits are huge from assisting your own knowledge to maybe getting a job from the “egghead” who just made another million. This fear of the smart guy is irrational and insecurity.
I actually hate when I am writing and I figure out where my anger comes from and the solution halfway through the piece ( really I love it ). The source of all of it is insecurity. It is the ego that tells a person to fear or resent another for what they have and you don’t. It is competition that others try to champion as strength and drive that breeds these negative emotions, thus leading to those with strong minds to diminish themselves so not to be a target. It’s the outsider role that often times is seen as James Dean in ” Rebel without a Case ” when outsider means so many different things. I’m not on a Harley (yet), protesting in Washington (yet ), or even stirring up local trouble, but I’m an outsider just the same. I’m a black gay Buddhist who is also HIV positive and optimistic about humanity and my contribution. If that’s not an outsider, I don’t know what is; but I had not pieced all that together to recognize the strength that is on all four of my characteristics.
I’ve heard more times than I would have like to that I am intimidating. It’s not that I look scary or I come off aggressive but that I have a presence that shines a light on other’s shortcomings. I feel it might have something to do with my speech, my posture, my joy, my energy and yes my brain. It would seem some have encountered me and felt they needed to either step up their game or step on mine in an attempt to bring me to their level. I fully admit the latter worked on me more than enough times but with self-love and self-awareness the tide has changed. I will never see those qualities as the bad thing I had been made to feel they were again. I will also never exalt them over anyone as I see them as characteristics having the same value as my eye color. But I will not let anyone’s fear and insecurity be my own, I have plenty.
I hold my tongue a lot. I am never trying to be rude or cut someone at the knees but being observant does afford insight others might just not have been aware of. I make strong attempts not give unsolicited advice, but there are times even solicited advice has been without my full brain and passion to be of service. I take the hit for that; for letting others have more control over my words and actions than they should have. But I’m someone with a big brain and an even bigger heart, walking the way of the Dharma as best I can; and like my ancestors, I will not be moved.
So I will finish with this: ” I can see you struggling, boy don’t hurt your brain, think of what you’re gonna say.” I think therefore watch the hell out.