Clever Girl

I was born clever and it was a curse.

Firstly, I was cleverer than my father who was a self educated oaf. He lacked logic and sophisticated intelligence. He had relied, all his life, on a deep rage to fulfill his desire for dominance. He was always depressed because his insecurities could not be rationalised. He was not intelligent enough to understand his shortcomings and to work with them. But he was clever enough to escape his surroundings, although eternally embittered by them He was what one would call, a self-made man.

We had constant run-ins about politics and sexuality. For me, a clever girl, home was a battle ground. I was just the daughter, second best in everything including the inheritance, but I was also expected to balance gracefully on that elusive gender plinth that became the symbol of doom for girl who had been born expecting absolute equality. My father could not cope with my feminist ways and I wanted freedom from his sexist ties.

Later, away from home, I had come first or second in a woodwork exam at boarding school, I fail to remember the exact rank. But I had beaten a particular boy who had been a good friend. He took umbrage that I was better than him at woodwork, a predominantly male class. He was unable to relinquish pride to a girl. He sulked and we were never friends again. It was another lesson that, as a clever girl, I best 'button it' or 'curb it' because unhappy boys would make my life Hell.

Once I matured physically and I started having relationships, I realised that the way forward was to pretend to be stupid. Men hate clever women as much as boys hate clever girls. I was still of a time where clever women were a threat. If men were ever unhappy my life would be made miserable almost immediately, which, when you are in fear of a battering, is what concerns you the most. One kept an axe handy and warned he would cut my clitorus if I strayed. One would headbutt me if I so much as disagreed with him. I have been thrown down stairs more times than I can count. Violent, manipulative men were to be my life. Be under no illusion, a clever woman tows the line for the children until she finds a way out. And be under no illusion too that a clever woman cannot hide and is a red rag to a stupid man.

Stupid men hate clever women, but they still desire them.

Later, as a parent, cleverness became a thorn in my side.

Bringing up children is easy when they are young and you can run an army camp. You use management skills, plan ahead, and employ cunning. But at some point the daily rigmarole becomes as dull as the laundry water. Your fingers fade in the murkiness of it and there is nothing more to see. Home becomes another battle ground as burgeoning personalities conflict. Clever mothers are a curse for average teenagers and it is a two way dysfunction. Holding onto intelligence without inspiration, surrounded by leeches and with no financial support takes its toll.

But you won't keep clever down because clever shouts loudly in the cocophone of the mundane.

Clever makes plans. Clever makes good it's escape.

Memoirs from the Marina

© 2019 Pasha de la Mare

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