Monday, August 29, 2005


Once upon a time, I was going through a box in the garage. I must have been in 8th or 9th grade. I the box I found a test. it was labeled "is your child an underachiever?" from the date on the test, I knew that it had been ordered when I was in 4th or 5th grade. I also knew that it wasn't for my older sister, who got pretty much strait A's, or for my younger siblings who were too young to be underachievers.
I had a lot of problems back then. My mom ws too busy having babies and taking care of them to pay attention to me, my step dad wasn't particularly nice. I estimate that this was the period of time when I really started raising myself because I didn't have very much positive adult supervision. Don't get me wrong, I had the basic nessecities, but really no one paid attention to what I did unless it was something bad, and no one kept up on whether I did my homework, or took a shower (that's a story for another day)ate breakfast or lunch, or any of the other things that children have to be reminded to do because really, they're lazy and need to be reminded. It got to the point in school where my teacher and my parents were in fairly constant contact and I was in trouble all the time. but instead of setting up a system to make sure I kept up, I would be spanked and lectured, put on restriction and sent on my way. At least, that's how I remember it. I was a C/D student until we fled. mostly because I was always able to bring the grades up enough to pass so I didn't REALLY get my butt kicked. My teacher wanted to hold me back in the 5th grade, but I chose to move on.
The sad thing about finding that test, is that it never occurred to my parents (it does to my mom now) that there were deeper problems than me being an underachiever. I'm sure you can guess that I am not. I wasn't an underacheiver, I was a non achiever. What's the point in trying when no one notices? I knew I would be in trouble for something anyway and I also knew that no one was really paying attention to what I did. I didn't matter. Finding that test really drove the point home. That I was expected to be responsible for myself, but the adults in my world did not feel responsible for me. They were hoping my problems were biological, not psychological. The test made me angry. which in hindsight was good. because when I was able to start over, I knew what kind of achiever I wanted to be. I never did get strait A's. and that's ok with me. but I was an A/B student and have accomplished a lot since high school.
Underachiever my ass!


jen said...

So one of the weird things about parents...they take credit for your successes, and pass the blame on your not so successful moments. I was an overachiever until about 5 years ago. It was at that point that the only one I had to prove anything to was myself. And I am kind of fond of the occassional slacking. I am REALLY fond of it. I think we all get to a point where we come into our own... "under achievers" achieve..."over achiever" slow it down... and non achievers? Well, I do suppose they turn into beautiful souls. ;)

Ginamonster said...