No Longer Operating at 130 Percent

When I was going into third grade, my mom had me tested for the gifted program at my school. I met with a child psychologist and had to push together and solve a whole slew of different puzzles in a certain amount of time. And at the end of it, I was found to be a young girl of above average intellect who poured everything she had -- and then some -- into everything she did. The psychologist found that I regularly functioned at 130 percent of my capacity.

My mom shared the results of that test with me once I'd grown older, and I wasn't sure what to think when I learned this news. I'd always performed well and stood at or near the top of my classes. I wanted to believe all that effort and all those results meant I was, in fact, a genius. But in truth, I wasn't. I was a smart, capable girl who applied herself wholeheartedly.

Now many years beyond my discovery of those test results, the greater significance of that IQ test continues to demonstrate itself. It amazes me still to realize that seven-year-old girl who took that test had already discovered and readily inhabited her false-self mold. It cannot be clearer than it is for me today that it was my false self that showed up that day and every other day beside it. Only a false self learns to operate above and beyond the actual capacity of a person (or below it, for that matter).

As I shared in my last post, I've been discovering a new rhythm for my life these days. It is slower than I'm used to, and that has been both wonderful and hard. On the one hand, it feels self-honoring to take things slower, to be more intentional about how I move through my day, to let thoughts and impressions sink in deeper, to let my responses come when they're ready, and to know that what is building in me as I do this will, in the end, be more solid and sure and substantive, a more true offering of me.

But it is humbling, as well. When the world is flying past me at 100 miles an hour, when everyone else has something to say, when it takes me longer to ingest the fullness of a thought than time always seems to allow, when witticisms abound and I don't always catch them on the first go-round, it's hard not to feel like some large, lumbering ox slowly moving across a free expanse where gazelles quite naturally frolic.

These days I have to trust that the real me gaining strength as I let it form organically these days is a better, more true, and healthier fit than the me that drives a world running at 130 percent throttle. As enticing a world it seems I would gain if I keep that speed on my radar, my deeper self just can't abide it. My deeper, truer self wants to be simply, unequivocally who she really is.