So you all haven’t heard from me in a while, I apologize. I’ve been going through a inexplicably difficult time recently, and I was fearful that my depression was returning. As you all can probably imagine, that fear was debilitating on its own right. Add to that fear, the increasing pain in my back, and the uneasily low mood together and I was more or less non functional. I went to work, put on a brave face, as I’ve grown accustomed to, and just made it through each day. Which wasn’t particularly difficult, as I rather enjoy my new job now, and I am am expert at concieling my true emotions. However, getting through the day was the utmost that I could do for the past week and a half. Again, I apologize that I haven’t written, it’s just that my brain wasn’t functioning at the level I’ve grown accustomed to.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the “meat and potatoes” of today’s article. As I’ve stated, probably, I believe myself to contain a high level of intelligence. I have always believed that I was the smartest in my class, while I was in school anyways. I was recognized as “gifted” at a young age, and placed in higher classes. My school called this program R.E.A.C.H, though I’m not sure of what the letters stand for anymore. However, it was my third grade teacher that believed that I had an Attention Deficiency Disorder, also known as ADD. However, my father being a rather stern man during my younger years, dismissed this notion, as how could I be so successful in school if I had ADD. Though he had a rather good point, he was severely mistaken. I was just incredibly intelligent, and was able to grasp things in usually one explanation. As those of you who have been through schooling, things that are taught using lessons, usually repeat things for some time, in an effort to have everyone understand. However, as I said, I usually grasped new concepts in a single explanation, meaning for the rest of the lesson, I was already above my classmates. This allowed me not only to get high scores on all my tests, but also to be brought into my elementary school’s gifted program, REACH. However, things got increasingly difficult as the homework aspect of school increased. Though I would be able to complete the homework, more often than not, effortlessly; I spent my time on things that I enjoyed doing instead. You can probably see where things are going, no? As homework became a larger part of school, my grades began a steady decline. That being said, I would still score excellently on tests, but as homework was a larger part of the overall grade, I often got terrible grades on my report cards.
Now, if you had met me before my depression truely took ahold of my entire life, I would have told you that I believed myself to be a genius. This was really until I met Sora and Shiro. Those who know these names, know what I’m talking about, for those who don’t, let me explain. Sora and Shiro are a pair of siblings, seven years apart in age, with both parents passed away. While Shiro is a genius on the level of Albert Einstein, the brother Sora is still incredibly intelligent, more than most. The two of them live together in Japan, rarely leaving their home, playing nothing but video games. Now I know how this sounds, and believe me, I know. These two could often be viewed as the lowest form of human there is. They don’t work, they aren’t in school, they aren’t in training, they live off (what I suppose to be) governmental assistance, though that is never stated, so it really is just an assumption. The two of them, together, form one of, no THE best team any game has ever seen. Their record has never been tainted by a single defeat. They are unparalleled in skill at any game they play, even beating cheats and hackers. They have never lost a single match for as long as they have been together, 8 years. Though, what you probably didn’t see coming, unless you know the pair I’ve been speaking about, is that they are not real. Yes, they are fictional characters, in a novel series known as “No Game, No Life”. I myself was introduced to this story by the animated adaptation of the novel series, of the same name.
A quick bit of backstory, I was just beginning in college, and my roommate had moved out due to the inability to live on his own. So I was alone in my room, suffering from borderline agoraphobia, and extreme social anxiety. I turned to my sole companion during those early years, Anime. Or to be more expletive, Japanese Animation…don’t call them cartoons, because they are so much more than that. It was during this 3 week period that I did nothing but watch anime, occasionally sneaking out of my room to eat. Staying up all hours of the night, drowning myself (and my sorrows) in fictitious worlds, and amazing stories. I was completely lost, and using these stories as an outlet to escape my current life, rather than ending it. It was one day during that period, that I discovered the show “No Game, No Life”. It belongs to what the anime community calls the Isekai genre. Where the main character(s) for one reason or another are brought from the “real” world, to a fantasy world. In the case of Shiro and Sora, they were brought from “real-life” Japan, to the mythical land of Disboard. A realm where every dispute and confrontation was settled by playing a game. That’s a simpler explanation, but a concise one. Being the best gamers of “our world” the “god” of Disboard, brought Shiro and Sora to his world because he was bored, and he lost to them in chess, but that’s beside the point. This story, “No Game, No Life” is wildly popular in the anime community, though only has 12 episodes, and a movie adaptation.
However, to my point. It wasn’t until I met these fictional characters, that I realized how truly far from genius I was. I had been pretending to be a genius due to the fact that I was smarter than almost all the other kids in my classes. Yet I truly paled in comparison to these two fictional characters, who were the sole embodiment of the word “genius”. It has taken me a while, and while I am still smarter than most, I can admit that I am a far cry from genius. It still stings when I say it, or in this case type it. However, it is the honest truth. I am no longer ashamed to admit that I am not a genius, but I am smarter than most. That there are things, scholarly things, that don’t come to me as second nature. Like calculus, and advanced chemistry, just to make a few. That I have reached the limit my “natural talent” could go. I now am in the same boat as everyone else when it comes to learning these more complex things. Pretty much until college I excelled at learning, not doing homework, hid this fact from just about everyone. Though I did have one teacher that acknowledged my intelligence. He asked me how I could not take a single note during his lessons, not do a single shred of homework, but still score above 90 on every quiz and test. I told him, simply because I understand what you are teaching. He was baffled but also impressed by this response. Not only did it mean I excelled as a student, but so did he as a teacher. Though my overall grade in that class was probably more around a C or D (between 66 and 79) as I did not do any of the homework. So, to everyone who just looked at the overall grades, I was a below average student, but to those who looked more closely, they were pleasantly surprised.
To wrap things up, I no longer have a superiority complex about my intelligence. Yeah, I am smart. But in comparison to the intelligence of these two fictional characters, and even to those who exist in reality, I am incredibly inferior. I am nowhere near the level of genius. And I accept that now. Like I said, it still stings a little, but I have to accept it to move forwards. I am no longer convinced that I have hit the ceiling of my ability. I believe that through hard work, and some natural talent, I can reach heights that I’ve only dreamed of. But of course, as with all things, there is a limit. However, the difference now, is that I believe I set that limit myself, rather than it being pre-determined. So for all of you out there that believe that there is something you can’t do because it’s just not possible, I say this; our species has done the impossible numerous times over. We have traveled the world, just because we didn’t think it was possible. We have flown through the skies, with wings of steel, once thought impossible. We have sent people to outer space multiple times, even landed on the moon, just because we wanted to. Simply put, the impossible is only that way until someone does it. Humans, as a whole, are rather unspectacular. It is because we were born this way, that we strive for greatness. So long as you put your mind to it, the impossible can become possible. That is the gift that we have been given. So, from my mind to yours, Alan Wolfgang, signing off.