Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Just Average

I got my grade back the other day for my post-Masters International Business class that I took this session: B+. That makes it the second B+ I have gotten in this program so far. It really speaks volumes for the path that my life as taken. All my life has really been is one giant series of B+s.

When I was 2 years old, I taught myself to read. I baffled a woman on line at the bank once when my dad had me in the baby sling and we were having a full-fledged conversation. (My dad loves to tell this story.) He says the woman tapped him on the shoulder and asked him who he was talking to. When he showed her me, she just couldn't believe that tiny little me was talking in complete and intelligent sentences. She told my dad that I was a brilliant child and would succeed one day.

I started school early and was always a year younger than my peers. It made me feel special and elite because I was younger and smarter. I was reading on a 5th grade level in 2nd grade. When my parents moved to Westchester and wanted to put me in public school for 3rd grade, the school wanted to put me back in 2nd grade because I was so young. My parents knew I was too smart for that and needed a challenge. So, luckily, I got into one of those super fancy Magnet schools for advanced kids and continued on with 3rd grade. Except, now that I was in a public school with other kids, I started to not feel as smart anymore. There were other kids excelling at the same level as I was that made me feel inferior. I had to take aptitude tests to see where I stood since I had been in private school up until now.

In 4th grade, students who were above average could be admitted to TAG - the talented and gifted program.... And I didn't get in. It really discouraged me. I thought that I was definitely in that group. I was on that level intellectually. So how did I qualify as "talented and gifted"? A few other parents, as well as my mom, caused an uproar over TAG and in 5th grade the program was revamped as "Kaleidescope", and I finally got in. But because of my exclusion the previous year, I still didn't feel like I was competing with all these other students in the group. I just felt average.

When middle school came, we were all divided into 3 "Houses". The Green House was all the super-duper smart kids, the Red House was the athletic and popular kids, and then there was me, lumped in with all the leftovers in the Blue House. I kind of became resigned to my fate. I never stressed out over assignments. I never studied for tests except finals. Everything just came naturally to me. But because of that, I was always just a B+ student. Even in High School - I probably could have tried studying more and working harder, but it just never occurred to me to try. I only applied to 3 colleges, all of them in Boston. My top choice, Boston University, I failed to get into. Why? Because I was just average. I didn't have a long string of extracurriculars. My SATs were a 1230. I came from a middle-class family. I just didn't stand out from all the other B+ students who applied.

College was more of the same. Switched schools a few times. Switched majors a few times. Settled in the familiar and graduated with a 3.0.

But the rest of my life has always been B+ status as well. If I found a guy I liked, he wound up liking my friend. My friends always had boyfriends before me, lost their virginities before me. They were popular and pretty and I was just average. In my relationships, I never came first (literally and figuratively). Guys played with my heart strings because I was easy, vulnerable and average. I wasn't that breathtaking beauty that could twirl them around my finger and keep them coming back for more, to keep them at my command. At work, I don't win awards or get to sit in on important meetings. I just hang out in the background making sure things are still getting done and winning silent praise when necessary.

I am just a pattern on wallpaper, not the centerpiece of the room. I have always been just average.

And.... I've kind of gotten used to it. Sometimes drawing too much attention to yourself just highlights your flaws, makes your small faults greater, puts more pressure on you, magnifies your weaknesses....

Maybe its better to just fly under the radar and gain sporadic recognition than to always be in the spotlight.

Maybe sometimes, it's ok to just be average.


  1. i'm not sure why you're complaining... being B+ isn't so bad, and it's certainly better than being a C or having a life that sucks.

    it sounds like your "averageness" is of your own making because you said it yourself, you could've studied in school to get an A, but you never did cuz you could just easily get a B+. hey, i was the same. only difference is, i really don't care about getting As or a fancy job. i do make myself stand out in other ways though.

    i do think it's ok to be average... IF you're okay with it. it doesn't sound to me like you are... so maybe you need to figure out what you wanna be, and then try to get there. good luck!

  2. I meant to go back and elaborate more on why I don't mind being average and why being above average might suck. I kind of was feeling like, sometimes you think that you should be putting forth more effort, to be striving for that A instead of the B+ - and pursuing that same kind of mentality with the rest of your life. (ie. work, relationships, friendships.) Sometimes I said to myself "If only I had studied harder, tried harder, done things this way, things would have been better." But sometimes it's just easier to go with the flow and not think about things too much because they turn out to be just as good.

    I think I'm kind of stuck in limbo between what I want and what Society expects of me. (I wrote a bunch about this in my private blog) If I break it down more, I am in certain ways above average. I'm the first person in my overall family to get their Masters and in my immediate family to get my Bachelors, too. I was a Manager at my job by the time I was 22. So, in that way, I feel like there are a lot of expectations from my family as to what I should be doing with my career and my future - when in reality, I just wanna hang out and be happy and live a stress-free life doing something that I enjoy. I know that in the end, the sun is going to shine out of my ass to them either way, no matter what I do, but sometimes I still feel pressure to be above average.