B for Brains- Obsession with being smart

Jackie’s A to Z

Hello Wild Ones 💑,

I hope you are doing great and that you are living the life!!! I am currently struggling to stay true to this plan. I wrote the prompts before and I really didn’t feel like engaging with this topic today. But I set out to do this so I will. But first, a public announcement❣❣❣

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My name is Jackline Wanjira Njagi and I am recovering addict of intelligence. Ever since I was a small kid, how well I did in school was such a big part of who I was. In Kindergarten, I remember my then best friend refusing to play with me because I wasn’t number one. I remember my teacher scolding me for not being as smart as my brother and sister who were a few years older than me. Then finally the Lords of intelligence shone upon me and I started being in position one and I never stopped. I was the smart girl. I was the one people came to with hard questions. I was always taking number one presents at home. My mum’s cabinet was full of my presents and everytime she removed them to clean, I would stand next to her just to count my achievements.

Being the smartest girl in the room opened doors for me. I got a free pass for my horrible handwriting. I barely answered questions in class because I allegedly always knew (I will not be commenting). People just wanted to be my friends. I got leadership positions in school just because I was number one. Teachers doted on me and I was always getting free snacks and money in boarding school. This sounds like a great life and it was. Now imagine the shock when I went to high school and I was no longer the smartest in the room. My whole existence was shaken. I spent four years buried in books trying to find something that made me worth looking at. (This was so bad, I barely took care of my looks, my high school pictures are a nightmare) I had no intelligence so why would anyone love me? I just wish someone had told me there was so much more I could offer. This spilled over to my university days at the University of Nairobi and even hit harder at African Leadership University.

You see at ALU almost everyone is trying to look smart and on the first days, most people have this huge plan on how they are going to change Africa. Well, so you can imagine my embarrassment when I kept finding myself not having an answer to the question “So what are you going to do for Africa? What is your project?” I was just a girl running away from Kenya’s horrible education system and now I was in the midst of possible African Leaders with no plan. If there’s a time I questioned my smartness it was then. Of course, eventually, I figured that I was actually smart and also some of my classmates were just full of bullshit but that’s a story for another day. It was during this time that I figured my deep obsession with being smart. How my conversations with people are filled with fun facts because that’s all I thought I could offer. For example, I once spent hours telling this guy about Sigmund Freud and his theory on Electra complex and Oedipus; how we became friends after that was a miracle.

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The truth I am obsessed with smartness because I have somehow convinced myself that’s the only way I will get someone to talk to me is by being smart. To be honest often when I am reading, I find really weird facts and say to myself ” This is a great conversation starter.” But I am learning that people can be loved even without many gifts in their mother’s cabinet. That I don’t need to say smart facts to have people look my way. That I don’t need to conduct lectures about object permanence and Piaget to get someone to like me. I just have to be me, compassionate, a little petty, a little snarky, a whole lot of bossy, and very sweet.

I don’t know what you have got from this rumble but I hope you got something. If you didn’t I hope you know that you are amazing just the way you are and someone will love you just like that. Anyway, I would love to know what you are unlearning in the comments.

In Other News What am I wearing!!!

  • My afro hair… This was wash and go
  • My peyote beads… You know the story
  • My anklet….as Usual
  • A very cute blue dress… I always need help to wear it… It has buttons instead of a zip # what was the designer thinking.
  • My Maasai sandals ….. I just didn’t want to be barefoot.


Today’s Tip

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With Loooooove and Sunshine 💖🌞💖🌞, Jackie

17 Comments Add yours

  1. As someone who highly prizes intelligence and was praised for the same throughout childhood (one of the few positive feedbacks I received), I understand your post very well! I too try to let go of my attachment to intelligence and focus on more important traits like kindness and compassion.

    1. jackie says:

      I am glad you related to the piece. Thank you for stopping by.

  2. Msdedeng says:

    You have such a beautiful blog. I see where I will be spending much time 🙂

    1. jackie says:

      Thank you so much. I also love the work on your blog. You are so inspiring.

      1. Msdedeng says:

        That is a sweet thing to say, thank you.

  3. Msdedeng says:

    Lol, thanks for the laughs!

    1. jackie says:

      Thank you so much too for stopping by.

      1. Msdedeng says:

        Of course!

  4. joycengugi says:

    Hello,🤗.. so, as I continue reading your blog, I feel inspired. I want you to know that these are not rambles and that sharing is actually really important. It has a way of making someone else examine and possibly make positive impact in their life. 💫👏🏼Great work! 🤗

    1. jackie says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words.

  5. I related with this story so much. I had also for a very long time defined my worth according to my intelligence. Unfortunately for me, I was also trained to belief that it was reflected by the grades I got on paper. And when they were not up to per my self esteem suffered. Mostly in high school and uni. Still trying to undo that. Thank you for sharing.

    1. jackie says:

      I am glad you related. Thank you for reading and engaging!!

  6. GlendaLubuto says:

    Wow, I also discovered I had this problem, right in my first year of Uni and it took such a toll on me….

    I’m more self aware now, so whenever I notice I’m falling back, I remind myself about everything I’ve learned so far on this healing journey….

    It’s hard to unlearn things that seem part of you… but it’s definitely worth it✨

    1. jackie says:

      True!! Unlearning some things is hard but worth it.

  7. Haha Lords of intelligence indeed. There’s actually a word for people who’re attracted to intelligence or smartness but I can’t think of it now… you’re lucky, cos if I was that guy I’d have probably dozed off. Haha. Just kidding.

    1. jackie says:

      🤣🤣🤣 Trust I am a great storyteller. You would have loved it.

      1. 🤣🤣🤣

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