Round Peg, Square Hole


I never wanted to be smart. It hampered social interactions with the most desirable element. No cute boys were in my ‘brain classes,’ and friends I had since grammar school began drifting away, dividing like so many cells in a petri dish. (Never mind that these same ‘dorky guys’ ended up being far more interesting, and in many cases better looking, in later years. But that’s for another story.)

In high school, I actually elected to take a course that lay outside my ‘gifted’ program. I wanted fresh faces; new opportunities. It resulted in the only “C” grade I ever received. The class simply did not capture my attention, despite the plethora of new faces. What misery it was to discover my GPA falling like winter temperatures in that faraway place I was soon to call home, though little I knew of it at the time. Life was about to hang a sharp right, unraveling at lightning speed on several fronts.

Forty years later, these impressions seem lifetimes away, yet memories arise from time to time and I observe them as if animated in 35-millimeter frames. The film unwinds from the flat black metal reel; runs out. A small burn mark sears itself in the tail’s end, while the reel click-click-clicks until the projector is shut down.

Perhaps there is more truth than fiction to this analogy; for life, if fully and cognitively experienced, continues to surprise at every turn. Reflection is a fabulous tool to assess how cyclical is existence; how it catches us as we revolve around the wheel of opportunity and instruction.  Suffering seems less pointless in the face of one’s spiritual maturation.

I think humans learn best from what stamps itself into memory, much like holes singed in celluloid. Taking refuge in this knowledge, I discover redemption. Nothing is regrettable; all experiences ultimately culminate in gratitude.


2 thoughts on “Round Peg, Square Hole

  1. Hi Bela,

    I sense certain intrinsic beliefs in this post.

    What is being smart? Does this have to do with the ability to handle numbers? Is it the ability to take copious notes in class and then regurgitate it during exams? Or is it a kind of lateral thinking with the capacity to go down untrodden paths and derive new meanings out of the information provided?

    When I hear you say that you never wanted to be smart, you are actually saying you did not want to be perceived so as per the societal yardstick of the day. I would think that each one of us is smart when we follow our passion. Smartness is really about our ability to recognise where our energy lies. This “brain” area of yours may differ from mine. When you chose a class outside your “gifted” area, your “smart” energy would naturally not encompass it……

    So yes, we do learn what stamps itself inside us. And this happens in areas where our intrinsic energy flows,where our “smartness” resides.




    1. Shakti, thanks as always for your thoughtful comments. It’s always interesting to receive feedback; it hones my writing skills in that I need to be more clear, especially with these windows of time offered on this blog.

      The key to your question is “wanted,” the word being past tense. I was born with a great internal basket of gifts: intellect, intuition, many useful talents – abilities both profound and expressive. Being raised in the 1950’s where an emergent media was to shape our culture from that point forward, I was indeed a well rounded peg in a very square societal hole. I experienced much inner tumult as a result of my failure to be shallow (and thus desirable to the masses, for women back in those days – just view television commercials from that era); though I did try, for the sake of fitting in somewhere; anywhere. Without the cultural traditions and rites of passage of your home country, for example, American youth turn to the strangest things to fulfill the basic human longing to be included and/or rewarded for their innate gifts and talents.

      Now I am quite happy in my own company; content with my intellect and talents well in heart, hand and head, along with their expression. Age and experience confer these wondrous abilities, if childhood somehow pulls up short. And for that, I am most grateful.


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