Growing up, I didn’t know what some words or phrases meant because my parents didn’t grow up in American culture. I didn’t know what a lot of swear words were and therefore I would sometimes be tricked into saying words at school that apparently meant something VERY BAD. I also didn’t know certain hand signals meant bad things too. Example: I got into trouble for sticking up my middle finger. I was tricked into doing it and then the kid tattled to the teacher. The teacher didn’t believe that I had no idea what it meant to do that and put me in time out. To this day that annoys me that happened.
I also don’t like not knowing things when people are talking. I don’t like looking dumb so if I don’t know what something means and I don’t HAVE to know it in order for the conversation to continue, I make a mental note to look it up later. I don’t know if I’ve just experienced rotten luck with this but a lot of times I feel like when I ask to explain something, the other person gets frustrated and annoyed that I don’t already know. I did have several teachers do this to me growing up and this may have created some underlying fear to this day. So to prevent that, I try to make sure I know either know things in advance or I don’t let my ignorance show. I don’t want to be a bother by asking questions. I want to learn but I don’t want to feel like I’m annoying you because I don’t know it already.
I really do like learning things. This is why I read A LOT. If I start becoming interested in something, I usually spend the first few weeks trying to cream in as much knowledge as I can. When I want to get to know a person and I find that they like something that I don’t necessarily know much about, I’ll learn about it so I can keep up the conversation. This is how I rack up so much useless trivia in my head and can crush you at Jeopardy and Trivial Pursuit (and the occasional geek trivia night). I don’t necessarily TELL people I know things though. I’m not the type of person that acts like a know it all.
But I think the main reason I did this was to make up for all those incidents when I was a kid and got made fun of for not knowing things. And I wanted to fit in.
Though now lately I feel the opposite. I feel weird sometimes now that I DO know things that my friends don’t seem to know.
Example: My friends and I are a big fans of the game Cards Against Humanity. I also happen to know about 95% of what the phrases and terms used in the game mean. I’m not entirely happy that I know so much but going to public schools for my entire schooling career plus a healthy dose of lots of entertainment and having a wide circle of friends will do that to you. Nothing really shocks me in the game even when I do learn what 5% of those words mean because I have seen and heard worse in real life. I have a quite a number of friends who don’t know what a lot of the terms mean and it can be quite amusing explaining to them what they are. And yet, sometimes I wonder about myself, is it better to have been sheltered and not know these things? Is it better to be ignorant in some cases? Should I feel bad for knowing these things?
Also I realize that opposites attract and you don’t want someone who’s super similar to you because that would probably get boring all the time. But I tend to notice that the interests I have tend not to be desirable interests in the type of guys I want to date. They seem to go after women who don’t have these interests and therefore they have to explain everything to them. I realize guys DO like feeling knowledgeable of things and it can be a big ego booster for them to share that knowledge. It just makes me feel inadequate because I already know these things and feel like that’s a disadvantage for me. I don’t know necessarily if I would want to date a guy where I had to explain all these things to him and not be able to have a conversation on equal footing. This could all change one day and I’ll eat my words. But it’s frustrating because that’s one of those situations where I wish I didn’t know what I’d know.
It doesn’t really matter either way. I obviously don’t know EVERYTHING. And there are still times when I feel dumb compared to some of my friends because they know things that I don’t. And then I feel bad for knowing things that other people don’t because I wonder if it’s a waste to know these things.
It all comes down to just accepting myself. I am a person that has many interests that are not going to be the same as everyone else and who has had life experiences that aren’t the same as most people. It’s ok to know things and it’s ok to not know.
Because after all: