Uniquely Me

 In Weekly Forum Discussion, Writer in Residence

Written by: Collette Cottingham; Creatively Hip


I am not smart. This wasn’t something ingrained in me as a child. I grew up knowing I was smart. I enjoyed school, although it didn’t come easily to me. I had to work hard and I enjoyed the rewards. My hard work paid off.

In college, I excelled as well. I didn’t need anyone to compliment me. I knew I was smart. I also knew I wasn’t smart at everything—that was impossible. I was smart in the areas I know or have studied.

I jumped easily into conversations. There wasn’t a group or conversation I was afraid of. I enjoyed conversing.

Over a twenty-five-year marriage I heard daily how incompetent I was, “What were you thinking,” “Are you stupid, “Idiot,” “Just stop.” These phrases were accompanied by bad language which I omitted.

After a while, I believed him. After all, he knew me best. I stopped conversing. I was afraid of all groups and all conversations. I became withdrawn and quiet.

He is gone. I have spent the last few years rediscovered who I am. The process was too overwhelming. Instead, I went into my past. I am remembering myself at nineteen.

I have a lot of growing to do. I am not where I want to be. I am patient. I am working at my own pace. It took twenty-five years to get here, so it is realistic that it is going to take time.

I worry about overthinking, being afraid of groups and my shyness. I don’t know what the future holds. I might never get past these areas.

When I have my “not smart” moments I remind myself that no one is smart at everything, use this as a learning opportunity and be honest with yourself. I am not going to be something I am not, this is who I am.

I replace the “not smart” with unique. Each person is unique in what they know and what they learn. I appreciate everything I learn and the education I receive. I am not a connoisseur of big words. That is okay, I am uniquely me.

I can’t be anyone else. I can only be the best “me” possible. Look out world, I am uniquely bouncing through!



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