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How can I make myself more available to my community without making unfair concessions to my intelligence?

As a woman inspired by application of knowledge, I have committed myself to learning. There is a constancy to the pursuit of knowing that soothes me. But, despite the advances I've made in my own ideologies, perspectives and pursuits, I find that people are disconnected from me. I often feel alone, even walking around a city as sprawling and dense as New York. People rarely share my fondness for education. I feel alienated by my own vocabulary and interests.

What I have realized is that I will need to curb a part of my intellect in order to succeed in practically every domain of my life. My reasoning lying in my belief that success cannot occur without others' help. While I know that I am not a genius, I often find that those in position to help me are confused by, indifferent toward, or ignorant of information - in every domain, from who the hell Byron and Wordsworth are to why the moon is semi-shaded at points in the lunar cycle. Dumbfounded, I sometimes find myself insulted or even discriminated towards because of my mind. In the classroom, workplace, and even home, I am misunderstood and mocked.

What I am looking for is your opinion on how to remain an eccentric amid a disproportionate amount of seemingly-mediocre people. Moreover, I'd like to know your experiences in being discriminated against. How have you coped with the disparity between your and others' interests? How has this disparity affected your romantic relationships? When have you lost the edge at work to a charismatic, though shallow, coworker?


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    Oct 27 2012: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?" --Nelson Mandella

    When you say, "how to remain an eccentric amid a disproportionate amount of seemingly-mediocre people", it almost reads as if you are setting up eccentricity as an antidote for mediocrity, and drawing a correlation between intelligence and eccentricity. I think there may be a correlation, but eccentricity is a result not a goal. If there's any truth to that, then these mediocre people may perceive your eccentricity as a criticism of themselves, and that may be why you are not as available to them.

    Your words said something interesting about how you may think. You said, "how to remain eccentric" as if you value eccentricity as a thing in itself, rather than as the result of your own personal choices. Is there any truth to that or am I way off? I could well be way off? If that's the case, then I would argue you should be yourself whoever that is, and if you are eccentric, then so be it - but I don't think eccentricity should be the end goal in itself.

    Discrimination is making pre-judgements based on a persons's appearance or membership in a group. Looking at your lovely profile photograph, I would guess you are tired of people pre-judging you because of your appearance? Is that accurate at all? Or is that not a typical image of you?

    Thank you for raising this question - it's something I've struggled with as well.
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      Oct 27 2012: Last night I had a thought. I have felt rather isolated, seeing myself as a unit of a whole. I feel ignored and isolated because my input general gets cast out from consideration. It makes me feel powerless to affect change in anyone not already in my circle of family and friends. So, perhaps I needed a perspective change. I then considered what it would be like to envision myself not as a unit of a whole, but as an outside stressor. Perhaps my input is better regarded as the thing to trigger change and adaptation in my community.

      I don't mean to discriminate. I've actually only begun to consider that my viewpoint is at all worthy. Up to this era in my life, I have been that student that keeps quiet and gets on with my work to achieve projects and ideas on my own as I've been shut down my peers since grade school. I'm sure many of you have felt similarly and I wanted to know how you've framed your ideologies to embrace this, overcome it, and contribute. I suppose that's it. I'm looking for an ideology change! I know have so much to offer but I also know it is generally harder for people to meet me on my level of thinking. I've come to this conclusion many times and it has often shut me down, but I don't want that to happen again! I'm bright enough to see that my failure to contribute because of this is unforgivable. My ideas won't get anywhere without others' help.

      My remaining eccentric was simply me vacillating between "curbing my enthusiasm" or learning to adapt. I suppose I am seeing that I need to adapt to survive as well and that concession cuts me up.
      • Oct 28 2012: Yo I read quite a few of your posts and I really believe that your 'problem' is way more about how you present your knowledge (or yourself if you so wish) than with any of the things you believe them to be.

        I had this same problem. Where I felt like all my comments were so right that I just couldn't believe that people ignored them. In fact I had a project at a company where they didn't listen to me at first... had a group of around 6 people working on the project for half a year... and then finaly asked the question I asked in the 1st week of the project. Which lead to them realizing that the project was impossible to create withing 3 days after asking this question.

        Now that kept me wondering why they would blow so much money on it while I pointed it out in the 1st week... So I asked why nobody except me had asked this question already... but everyone seemed to have forgotten already that I asked the question and they kinda thought I was imagining things (even though it was in the documents that I said it).
        The problem I had was that I always "talked down" aka I would say: "The world doesn't work like that it works like this" and even though I was backed up by tons of research... the people in charge just didn't believe their own views to be wrong!

        Now the above story is filled with errors on my part... even though "I was constantly right".

        I have already pointed to the book by Dale Carnegie (how to make friends and influence people) in a previous post and if you can find yourself in the above story.... I would really suggest that you read it (or any similar book based upon it).
        There are quite a few books based upon it.

        There is nothing wrong with knowing more than everyone else... and you never need to hide it either! (although you'll probably find other people who also know a lot about stuff you don't know everything about :))
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          Oct 28 2012: I am quickly realizing I have a problem in communicating. I've been rather quiet all my life, bouncing around families and foster cares, so I feel like I am just now starting to tackle what kids learn in early grade school. I will check out that book by Carnegie, thanks!
      • Oct 28 2012: I hope you can find some of the answers you're looking for in there :)

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