“You’re cerebral because you’ve had to be.” A family member said this to me awhile ago….and no I don’t even think about the fact that that word is the first half of my earliest impairment, cerebral palsy.
And I just had to break it down in pieces, in my head, because even though it was meant positively and factually….it made me twitchy somehow.
“You’re cerebral.” A straightforward acknowledgement that I have a brain…that’s why I love my family…it’s a place I can go where it’s automatically assumed that I’m smart, that I’ll be able to keep up.
(full disclosure: I don’t always act smart about food or money, but the rest of life I pretty much do.)
“because you’ve had to be.” I think this part of the sentence means that as a bright kid, when physical disability placed limits on physical activity, I got moved over *without much choice* into primarily mental activity. But I had a choice to be active: my mother was a fanatic about adapting the right excersize to me…I could have cheerfully partnered up with her in that, instead I stayed inside and read books.
When the whole sentence gets put back together though, “You’re cerebral because you’ve had to be.”
It sounds like there’s something bad about being cerebral…in other words if the speaker could choose one or the other,they wouldn’t choose being cerebral….
And the seeming ambivalence about smarts also plays into a scenario… Let’s say I’m researching an issue, arguing it politely with facts…and not being taken seriously *because I’m a woman* and/or *because I have disabilities* or even a third reason if I’m discoursing with family: Some of them….even as I am 51…see the cute little four year old kid in leg braces…and therefore cannot possibly take me seriously, when you put that plus gender plus disability all together.
If I was a character in a role playing game, would I have the biggest brightest magic wand ever, and sulk because what I really wanted to inhabit was an aerobics video? I think not.
And in that role playing game, would I be the only character who would see and realize the number and quantity of dragons slain or wrongs righted, while the other characters walked around lamenting: “Geez where are the warriors?”