In the first grade of my elementary school experience, about half way through the year, I got a B on a spelling test. It was such a big deal that the teacher threw a party for the whole class. I can still remember the styrofoam cup with two layers of chocolate chips at the bottom. This was my teacher's impromptu celebration. I know the teacher was being supportive but I felt so much shame, being in the spotlight, highlighting the fact that I was in a league of my own. It wasn't a good league. No one else ever got a party for a test score. Ever.
By the time I was in 3rd grade I was in special education. I stayed there a long time. I had a rough time with academic endeavors. Spelling was part of everything that was not math.
I'm 40 years old and the stigma still lingers. I shared recently in a group about being in special education when I was young. A beautiful older man with the best of intentions came up to me afterwards with encouragement. It was condescending and a little bit frustrating. I wish I could be seen for who I am and what I do, not how I stack up in a classroom. The trouble is most of who I am and what I do has nothing to do with anything that can be tested.
I get subjective validation every day with my friends and in my work. But part of me wishes I had just one single A+ to go up on the refrigerator of my childhood.
Tonight I took an IQ test. It is not a real test but but it is enough to put on a refrigerator. This site is my refrigerator. The father of my inner child would be proud.
So it took me about 2 days to realise this A+ on my refrigerator did nothing for me. It resonated with some ideals or structure that is not part of me. It was a beautiful moment to step back and consider the attributes that do resonate for me. The things that I want to put on the altar of external affirmations (refrigerator) are vulnerability, courage, integrity, kindness, connection, creative power, sensitivity, resilience, flexibility, and consciousness. These are the attributes that I hunger for, that I long to cultivate and manifest in myself and others. Thank you for the clarity. I love you.