The Disadvantages of Playing Dumb

She had recently discovered the disadvantages of playing dumb – people begin to truly believe that you cannot accomplish things on your own. Although they still may see value in the work you produce in the end, they have never seen you complete a project on your own and believe that they need to be holding your hand throughout the entire creation process. Little did they know, that drove her fucking insane. The whole point of her falling into the role of spacey, blonde California Girl was so that people would pay less attention to her in the first place. She found that if she pretended to not understand something, she could throw a silly question out there that she already knew the answer to, and secure some time to think without speaking while her companion took the time to explain a simple idea to her simple little brain. She preferred to keep her intelligence to herself for a multitude of reasons – but most of all it allowed her the chance to fade into a background and not be noticed. She had a complex about others seeing her for the beautiful, strong, intelligent woman that she is. She instinctually preferred to stay anonymous and in the middle of the crowd, where she does not feel self-conscious. She fled from any spotlight pointed in her direction, and if she found herself caught in one, her face would slowly burn red, her hands become instantly clammy, and she would fight to control the full body shaking that was soon to follow. To cope with this obvious stage fright, she had become accustomed to attempting to blend in wherever she went – and no smart girl has ever blended into the background easily.

It had all started in elementary school, when she noticed that she knew the answers to the teacher’s questions every time, but refused to raise her hand out of fear of the classroom spotlight being turned on her. She then fell into the habit of quickly answering the question in her head, before any of the other children could have a chance to speak, and then sit in quiet observation as her peers eagerly vocalized their thoughts, whether they were correct or not. Her guise would only last as long as the time without a test, and upon consistent testing and completion of homework, her teachers would soon catch on to her scheme. They started calling on her when she never had her hand raised, because they knew that she would refuse to reach her slender arm into the air and voluntarily bring attention to herself. She cursed these teachers in the moment – why would they not just let her continue getting good grades in silence in the back of the class? But upon reflection at an older age, she would like to go back and thank them for not playing into her game of Hide-and-No-Seek. They knew that she had something to share with the world, and they refused to allow her to do herself a disservice and keep it inside her head. The teachers that she had previously cursed, she now wanted to thank for pushing her outside of her comfort zone, and making her share her thoughts, not for the benefit of others, but instead for her own growth. They recognized the potential in her and refused to let her shove that into an unobtrusive corner.

Nowadays, she has the preference to be sitting in a corner where no one notices her and she is free to observe in silent contemplation, but she realizes how stunting that experience can be for her growth. Human interactions and being involved in everyday moments are what adds character and experience to life. Although she may be thrown into an instinctual panic when edging near to spotlight of human focus, she realizes now that the anxiety induced is worth the expansion of her horizons in the long run. If she stayed in a corner her entire life, who would she call her friends? What life experiences could she reflect upon fondly? What stories would she have to share with her children? Would she even meet someone to have children with in the first place? Would she ever meet anyone at all? She knew the answer was an overwhelming no – so she now takes the chance on sharing herself completely with the world, on paper, putting her secrets out there for others to notice, should they so choose, and playing into the game of life versus playing into appearing dumb.

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