There is this song that has been playing in my head for over a week now. It is a rap song buy a group I am not super familiar with, and I am not sure how I came upon the song. It just showed up in a playlist one day, got my head bopping and my toes tapping, and I have had it on repeat ever since. It is called Smart Went Crazy by Atmosphere. Now, a lot of the lyrics speak to me and some of them don’t make a lot of sense, but the beat is infectious, and the title, well, you can see that it meant something if I am here writing a blog using it.
Here are some things you will find on my Tik-Tok algorithm: witchy stuff, funny cows, liberalisms, corny jokes, and a ridiculous amount of neurodiversity videos. The latter is what I will be writing about today.
When I was a small child, I was very gifted at reading and writing. I went into kindergarten already doing both, while my peers were still learning the alphabet. Nowadays, most kids go to kindergarten already knowing these things, but back in the ’80s, it was not normal for a 4 year old to already be able to write their name, and certainly not with the penmanship of someone who had practice for q year already. I don’t remember not knowing the alphabet, but I do remember the first time I sat down with a pen in my hand and a piece of paper and my grandmother Lois asked me to write her a story. I was three, so of course I wasn’t going to actually write anything. Instead I made loop-de-loops on the paper to mimic Gran’s cursive handwriting. Then came the library, which I have written about, and which opened the doors of reading for me. It was a secret code that only adults knew, and I was no child in my mind. I figured that code out as soon as I could and I used it to break down the doors at school.
By the time I was in second grade they wanted to put me in the Gifted and Talented program. I was light years ahead in reading, and able to do the simple math in my head- mostly because my memorization skills were really good, and this was long before New Math. My parents did not put me in the program however; my mom told me once that it had something to do with them not wanting me to feel different than the other kids. I remember her saying that and me thinking “but Ma…I AM different than the other kids!”
Anyway, with the exception of the more difficult math as time went on, as well as a Spanish class that was forced upon me, I did bizarrely well in grade school. Then I got to high school, where I was told I was now a little fish in a big pond. Instead of me trying to fight for food to become a bigger fish, I just adapted to little fish life and made a lot of little fish friends. I spent more time with my fish friends than I did on the food fight, and nobody thought I was gifted and talented anymore. What they didn’t realize is that I was glad to have found people that I could relate to, finally. I knew that relationships were more important than grades from the get-go, so I chose to work on something I have for the rest of my life instead of something that went away when I graduated. The best part of my high school experience is the people I shared it with, and yes, I went to a really good school and I got a really good education that I did struggle for at points- particularly that math. It was hard for me to reconcile that at one point I had been years ahead of my peers, and now I was falling behind, but I didn’t feel bad about it because of the relationships I was forming
So, the point of me telling you all of this is so that you are aware that my brain advanced early. As I age, some things that would qualify as intellect dulled, but other aspects have ramped up significantly. For instance, there was the day that we went to the football game and I had explained that my shoes were too hot. That was the moment that it occurred to me that my brain was a little spicy, and not just in that Mental Health way. I know a little bit about Autism, but when I was working with kids it was still a very new diagnosis. I worked with a few kids who had Asperger’s Syndrome, and they really reminded me of myself at their age…except for the fact that they were all boys. Then, neurodivergency in general became a topic, and I started to see signs that maybe my brain did a few loop-de-loops just like the cursive I was trying to mimic at age 3. I spoke on this with my sister and cousin, who both firmly believe that most of our family is neurodivergent, and the more I think about it the more I believe it, too. The more TikToks that fall on my page, the more I say “I do that! Or Bernie does that! Or dad does that!” Here’s an example: last night my father said that he couldn’t eat yogurt because he had a problem with eating live bacteria. Which is a weird thing…but then, he is talking to a girl who once said she couldn’t eat a sausage patty because it tasted too “green.” Do you see what I’m saying? That’s not normal brain behavior. Like, typical people don’t think like that.
Anyway, I started out telling you about this song because the title of it is Smart Went Crazy, and that is how I feel about myself. I don’t want you to think that I mean that in a bad way though, because I fully embrace the title of crazy and wear it is a badge of honor. I’m just saying that my smart little kid brain went a little crazy in her teen years, and it took until she was nearly 40 to realize that she was still both of those things- smart and crazy, I’m proud of it.
Smart went crazy, the rubber band went snap,
This goes to those that hold it down ’til I get back-
Hold on to me, grow along with me,
I don’t know where I’m goin’ but I’ll end up in your arms.