The thinking man

This is a bit me, the odd one out. I stick out because I’m not quite like the others. I don’t like communicating with the herd of conformed pencils, for starters. I’d rather not be in the pencil box at all.

I am a very thinking, philosophical person and these days I am thinking a lot about how to describe myself. Who am I really? I have a suspicion that I miss out on a lot of help because I haven’t been able to present myself with the correct name.

I just read the Icelandic adventure Watchful and His Brothers (this is my own translation). It is about five brothers who do not have a name. One day they were home alone an old woman knocked on the door. She asked for some water to drink, but had nothing to give back, except names. They got their own names with the properties they described. That’s how they got the names Vaktsom (Watchful), Holdfast (to hold something with a firm grip), Hoggtil (cut or stab), Sporfinner (Tracker) and Fjellklatrer (Mountain climber).

When I read this with some of my pupils, I asked them to find a name that described what they were good at. It was difficult to begin with, but specific interests like singing, dancing, forestry, zombies etc. eventually emerged. I could describe some of the things I like doing myself, but right now I was thinking more in terms of my disabilities, such as nonverbal learning disabilities. I have tried to find out a little about myself. Not that I would present myself to every single person I met as Mr. Thinking, but one of my difficulties is to express and describe my challenges when I have the chance to do so.

There are two names that fit well on me, think and write. I believe I have shown that I can write, and I am even a better thinker. The problem is that no one can see or hear that. Everything looks perfect in my head, but getting it out is another matter. It seems that talking takes up so much of the brainpower or focus, that I more or less get blackouts. I jump here and there during a presentation and forget much of what I have planned. It has always been this way, but it has got a lot worse in recent years.

My brain is more than happy to leave for a holiday in the middle of a presentation. I’m probably not among those worst affected by this. I manage to save some of the presentation, but not enough. It may look to others that it’s pretty empty in there, but the truth is that there is much activity in my brain. There is a lot of blockage, though. When I prepare for work everything looks perfect. I can be funny and knowledgeable, I can draw comparisons between different subjects, I can come up with good evaluations, and advice, I can be aware of how my pupils respond, but something happens when these thoughts are expressed through my mouth rather than through my fingers. The brain works in a different way when I write.

It is really incomprehensible that I chose a profession that requires a lot of verbal communication. It was not really a choice I made. It was something that just happened. I love to study, but has some limitations. Had it not been for these, I had probably gone as far as possible as historian or theologian.  Not that the teacher education program is easy either, but it’s not a doctoral dissertation when you spread it out on many subjects. It is just as incomprehensible, at least to me, that I cannot get any help either. The way the authorities see it I don’t need any help as I have an education. The fact that my disability makes it hard to function doesn’t seem to bother them, so I’m attempting to do it alone.

I have the great pleasure of being the thinker, but don’t know if it is as useful to society that I am where I am. I will be more than happy to change name to the writer. It remains my goal to change career. Hopefully I can organize my thoughts well enough to tell the right people about it.

Meanwhile I’m blogging and hope this can help me a step further.


3 thoughts on “The thinking man

  1. Hi, John, I just read this post and wanted to reach out to you.

    I understand the fustration of having an extremely active thought process. I am a highly sensitve introvert who struggles with it myself and the few clients I work with, (I am a Business Organizer). I also know all too well the feeling of having to go it alone.

    Please don’t give up just because it seems like no one is listening. There is a group out there listening and reading.


    PS – I did this post awhile back and maybe it would help you.

    1. Thank you for the comment. I appreciate hearing from someone who understands. Interesting entry you wrote in 2011, by the way. I suppose people decide that we introverts are extremely simple people, but as you pointed out that’s far from the truth. I totally understand your sentiments about winter. I live inside the arctic circle. It’s bad enough in the south, where I am from, but I had to go north to get a job.

      I was always told that life was very convenient for teachers because this education was very versatile. We teachers are supposed to be the potatoes in society, we can be used for anything. It’s not excactly true. Everything is so specialised these days, and my training seems to be too general. But I am probably going to leave teaching and hopefully I can find something that matches my personality better.

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