Lately, the feeling of incompetence has lingered with each onset.
I used to have (I guess what they call) “drive” I thought I could accomplish so much effortlessly because I naturally had the ability to accomplish many things well. If I could just list all the things I used to do as a child with passion, with no encouragement of an award from a parental unit, it would stretch long distances.
Years ago, a stranger could easily pick me out from a group of little urchins and have a hunch about my abilities. I was the gawky child who stood out because I had ill-fitting glasses, crooked teeth, frequent bloody noses, the tendency to rarely make eye-contact, unflattering/fashion-backwards clothing, and terrible social skills. In short, my physical appearance and mannerisms offended most of my peers (I was the strange nerd, with a small circle of friends, who were also geeks but with better clothes and superior skills at picking up social cues). Unsurprisingly, I lived my life wanting to please the adults who were more tolerant of my appearance and always delighted to have someone my age willingly wanting to win their approval. During that time of my life, despite having an immeasurable amount of naivete (I didn’t have sex-ed until the fifth or sixth grade, so most of the jokes and innuendo went over my head, and lacking cable I also found myself confused during most group conversations) I was at the pinnacle of my genius. I wanted to be smart and I was more than willing to absorb all I could. My childhood marked an era where I had few distractions and nothing to lose by yearning for mental acuity.