Of IQ tests and pastel houses

Posted on October 9, 2015

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I took an IQ test before. I don’t mean to brag, but the test classified me under the “superior” category.

Based on this test, I would go on to do great things. I would run a multinational company. Be the genius head of some fancy tech start-up. Win hundreds of court cases. Write the next great novel students of the world would be required to read for English class. I’m supposed to be the kid parents would brag about in funerals or dinner parties. I’m supposed to be the success story.

The thing is, I don’t feel this so-called “superior intelligence”. I don’t feel intelligent at all. Besides being completely unsure of what I’m supposed to do in life, I let one little thing interfere with my way of thinking. Every single time.

A little thing called my heart.

It is such a mystery how people are able to abandon all logic when it comes to following their hearts. I used to think I was using my head in all of my life decisions, but the thing is, I never really did. I’m more of a heart-over-head kind of person. I’m the type of person who would jump into a train if she feels as though some place is not for her anymore. I’m the type who dies inside doing the same thing day after day until I lose my own sense of self. I’m the kind of girl who would choose something small and meaningful over something grandiose and shallow. Sometimes I think my heart may be too independent for my own good.

Just recently, my family moved to a neighborhood of pastel houses. It was a quiet, provincial neighborhood and everyone inhabiting it can probably be classified under the middle-to-upper-class bracket. It was a gated neighborhood, and every house looked the same.

Same, same, same. Small community, no variety. Everybody lives inside a gated community of comfort and silence. Is this all there is? Is this how and where I am supposed to end up? Am I doomed to live a life exactly like my parents’? It’s so dull. It’s so boring. Every day, I start to realize that no, this is not me. This will never be me.  Every day I realize how controlling living with my family feels. They think of me as the good girl, the girl who is still so innocent and naive to the evils of the world. The girl who is deeply Christian and puts religion at the center of her life. This is the girl they know, and they want me to remain that way. They have no fucking idea what I am really like.

They don’t know that I’m dying inside because I have to keep on lying about who I really am. They don’t know how trapped I feel doing things I never really wanted to do. They don’t know that I’m deeply in doubt when it comes to my faith and the existence of that big guy upstairs. They don’t know how badly I want to live life by myself. They want me to live their dreams, not mine.

I don’t even know if I’m supposed to feel this way. What if this is just a phase? What if, should I live life on my own and everything goes wrong, I come running home to mommy saying I was wrong? What if I end up the prodigal daughter who let herself get carried away by her heart and didn’t even use her blessed brain to think about her life decisions? What if I was just too selfish to even consider my own family?

Family. People throughout history proclaim the sacredness of family. I live in a highly collectivist society that puts importance on balikbayan boxes and extended relatives. In this society, living with your parents at age 35 is not even frowned upon. That’s the problem, I’m an individualist stuck in a collectivist society. I’m born in the wrong country. In every single fucking decision, I have to consider what my family will think about it. I sound selfish, but I’m tired. I don’t want to do it anymore. I want to live life by my own decisions and ideals. I don’t understand how it is impossible for someone to have different ideals from their family and still remain at peace with them. I just want them to accept that I have a different life view and it’s not a bad thing.

For once in my life, I want to be sure about following my heart. All my life, I’ve been taught to use this so-called “intelligent” brain to be not like my disgraced peers. I want to use my heart this time, now that I’m starting to realize how beautiful love can be.

And it bothers me that there are people getting tired of it, while I’m here just starting to discover what it really means. Judging by the way I’m dealing with it, I guess I’m not that intelligent after all.

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