“I’m not stupid.”

Ask me a stupid question.  Go on.  Ask.  Now watch closely, as I go from ‘functioning adult’ to ‘toddler-mature’ in 0.5 seconds.  It’s amazing how defensive I am.  Just, pathetically, incredible.  My dad can ask me something like, “Did you take out the trash?” and instead of responding with a simple, “Yes,” like a normal person would, I have to act like a total brat with, “Do you see any trash in the trash can?  No?  That’s because I took it out.”  Wow.  I’m so proud to be me right now…

It’s even worse with my boyfriend, though.  He’ll warn me against some illegitimate action or negative mindset and instead of thanking him for being kind and sweet enough to look out for me I snap at him.  “I’m not stupid, I know how to do this,” is the general response.

What gets to me isn’t my constant lack of maturity (although it probably should).  What really gets to me is the fact that no one has called into question my level of intelligence.  No one has assigned me the label of Dunce, nor has anyone placed a cone shaped hat of shame upon my head.  Why, then, am I so amped up?  Why do I feel like the ultimate victim?

Part of it, I’m sure, is the insurmountable obstacle that is my gender.  I’m a woman.  I’m always going to be a bit on the defensive because I abide in a male-dominated society.  That small bit of feminism aside, another aspect of my abhorrence of seemingly “stupid” questions is the implication that I’m not capable.  But, ultimately, it’s the overwhelming need I have to take every comment personally.

If I stood back for a moment and evaluated what has been said and the tone that was used I would see that the question, regardless of what it asks, was simple.  It did not carry an undertone of malice.  Am I so insecure that I see enemies in the people who love me the most?  Am I so unstable that I can’t hold a normal conversation?

My biggest fear, of course, is that I’ll never overcome this insecurity.  This suffocating idea that I’m an idiot.  I know that I am not.  But when I behave like a child in order to defend my intelligence against attacks that have never occurred...well, I kind of look like an idiot.


My name is Chelsey Mick, and this is how pathetic we get as an adult.