Musings on Musing

(January 12, 2005)

The inside of my head is filled with everything but thoughts - riots of sound and colour and texture, conversations both old and yet-to-be-had, hopes and dreams and fears. I'm starting to think that this is problematic, because none of these things lead me anywhere, really, and it seems rather like a disability.

See, I'm smart. That's not ego, and it's not even something I understand or particularly appreciate; I just know that throughout my life, anything I've wanted to understand and/or do, I have, usually without any particular effort. When everyone in my high school was tested for differing intelligence types (logic-based, linguistic, etc.), I scored equally high across the board. Not quite at the top, but pretty damned impressive anyway. And yet, where is this mental capacity lurking? What makes it qualitatively useful? Most of the highly intelligent people I know spend time thinking about things, putting their gifts to productive use. I don't, really.

If something engages my mind - a person, a book, a website, a scene, a smell... - I analyze it, take in as many perspectives on it as I can, and draw silent conclusions that don't really register so much as they just fall into place. However, unless I'm triggered in that way, there's nothing going on inside of me except for that noise and sense of existence. I get caught up in minutiae, living out my days with little fantasies and colour-poems winding their way between my ears as I plug away at schoolwork or scrub the bathtub. (Admittedly, the latter doesn't happen too often.) Occasionally theories and ideas hit me like pebbles thrown by Coyote, but they're rare - or at least, I think they are. It seems like other people have a whole lot more of them.

Sometimes I feel like I don't have a whole lot to offer as a thinking being. Don't take that as a statement of low self-esteem or anything ridiculous like that - that's not how I mean it. But I go to classes and listen as other people spontaneously develop theories about the books we're reading, and while I can consider their words and understand them all, I can't do the same thing. I read a book and it becomes a small part of me, there to access and write about, but when it comes to epiphanies about the author's view on, say, postcolonial theory, there's just nothing for me to draw upon. When I come up with ideas, they're always the ones other people think are odd - the use of the colour red as a nexus of mysticism and reality, as one example - and always manage to miss things that seem so obvious to everyone else. Most of the time, though, I don't come up with anything at all, when reading or otherwise. The more I progress in academia, the more my perceptions seem to be lacking the complexity and depth they ought to have, and yet I'm still considered more than clever enough to be here.

Why is this? I fall into the present and stay here, exploring concepts in a mainly reactionary fashion. Well, that's not completely true - I explore completely random concepts, but never take them anywhere, never reach any conclusions that can then be translated into words and handed to someone. Is it the result of a lazy mind, a permanent lack of inspiration? How can I think more, when I don't really think at all so much as mix shapes and images until they form a little idea? This is why I fight to talk to people, to pounce on their minds and use what comes out to jumpstart mine, but that's doomed to failure as well... after all, when I'm not thinking about anything, it's hard to start a discussion, now isn't it? I need a daily e-mail, containing even just a single word, something to start my processes, but that's rather sad. Of what use is intelligence, if it's so limited?

I usually end up grinning and saying that it's none too easy for an ocelot in a girl's body to formulate typical emotions and thoughts, but sometimes I wonder just how much of a joke it is. I wish I knew how to have a normal mind with normal functionality - maybe then I wouldn't feel like a genius who can't complete her PhD because she doesn't know how to develop a strong internal opinion on anything. It's all so beautiful in here, but it'd be so much sweeter if I could just e-mail my sights and sounds and feelings to other people. That's why I try to write, but this problem also applies to creating plotlines, so I end up with snapshots of specific moments, places, and emotions... which is fine, but not good enough.