Why the Fourth grade Smart Girl is key

I truly believe deep down, we know what we are supposed to do with our lives, whether you day dream about it or not, or struggle with finding what is meant for you, follow the signs and early memories. Here’s why:

Life has a funny way of telling us what it is that interests us without our conscience really knowing in the first place. Don’t believe me? Think about this, and really take a moment to think: Do you ever look back on something that you’ve always felt was ‘meant’ for you, and suddenly realize that all these little signs pointed to what eventually happened? Maybe when you were little, eating ice cream on a hot summer day you remember a person who intrigued you, and from then on that person who resembled that intrigue followed you throughout your upbringing. You can apply this to almost anything – and if not, sorry, stop reading right now.

I knew deep down what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and I didn’t put the pieces together until recently. So recently in fact, it was only a few short years ago – two to be exact. One word came to mind to sum up all of what I’ve wanted to do but never knew how. Storyteller. That word felt the best to sum it all up. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do, it just manifested itself in various ways.

I knew deep down, but once I started figuring it all out I finally realized I had to get out of my comfort zone, and in a way that would lead me to the place that felt like no other home I had ever been to.

Growing up, since as early as I can remember, I had to make people laugh. Anyone who would listen to me babble on and on, really. From the time I was two years old, with no real words that made sense to begin with I had a need to talk, to connect. Despite being welcomed in a family that was dealing with a high amount of loss and pain, I seemed to feel the need to take on the role of making others laugh. I probably did crazy and outrageous things to get the attention I wanted, but as I got older I realized the actions and words I used that connected more with people had more to do with being honest, sometimes brutally honest, vulnerable, and becoming open enough to let people into my “tiny, little weird world” – as Robin Williams  put it circa 1997 Good Will Hunting.

I was in the fourth grade, Mrs. Lewis’ class, last day of school, on the bus ride home, and making people laugh. When you look back on those days, making everyone on the bus laugh was no biggie, and at that time I had no concept of needing to please, nor did I care if others found me humorous or not, I was connecting and loved the feeling of knowing that my commentary on life was making others smile, if just for that day. But even to this day, I remember knowing when the only other person’s opinion I cared about on that old, beat up bus was the smart girl in my grade. That is exactly right, y’all, the smart girl couldn’t stop laughing, not that I had just noticed on that particular day, because I didn’t, no, what I noticed on that particular day about the smart girl was what she said.

The smart girl – who still lives quite close by, and is still in fact quite smart given her chosen university of study, was intellectual even then on that old, beat up school bus in 2004. The girl was reading The Da Vinci Code then, at ten years old. Years later when I saw the movie, even then I didn’t fully get it. This girl foreshadowed my chosen career path, or at least the career path that drew me in – the path I was meant to take. She was like my little fortune teller. A little Stephen Hawkings, Einstein, psychic-palm reader all wrapped up in the smart girl who was probably thinking about AP classes, advanced placements, and ivy league schools before any of us ever really figured out how to do long division. This girl had a sense of humor all her own, may I point out, too. Her little group of the smarter friends, that would occasionally crack an intellectual, witty joke from time to time, but one so far past my own understanding it went right over my head, always way past my IQ level.

I remember going over to her house around the holiday seasons, we would spin a dreidel on her kitchen floor, her mom had a tray of various foods and treats I had never seen before. She would come over to my house, and I would show her the tree completely decorated with lights and ornaments, “This is a Christmas tree-eeee” and she would have the facial reaction of ‘Yeah, Kira I know what a flipping Christmas tree is, I live in America.’

I was making usual jokes that day on the bus – probably super hype it was the last day of school, in which everyone was in a good mood, and the positivity and jokes came easy. She’s laughing loudly, and really couldn’t contain it, and without a need to make her giggle, I suddenly became aware of my love for making others laugh – there is no greater feeling than knowing you put a smile on someone’s face. That day the smart girl told me I should do this for a living. I was probably so caught off guard and didn’t really fully understand what that even meant. “What? Do what for a living?” Was probably my reply. What, ride a bus for a living? Specifically, she said I should be a comedian. I didn’t even know what a comedian was most likely, but I remember the impact of her words, and her validation that I was doing something good in this world.

It may sound completely silly or vague, but the smart girl – as she should be called – really set the stage for what would peak my interest throughout my life. Of course, it is my decision to make use of it and turn it towards a career, but she still gave me the ok to do so.  I enjoy connecting with others, as everyone does, but that is how I knew how I could connect it with a career path, what I was meant to do, whatever you would like to call it. Everything I had ever done, up until this point has indirectly lead me to what she said – I should make others laugh, or at least tell as a story, be real, tell my truth, allow vulnerability in for a second, make someone smile, or captivate them with a story.

It made total sense. Storyteller can have various titles – but it all came together and made perfect sense for the entire childhood and adolescence spent making people laugh, planting myself in classic films, great books, asking my mom for an agent at the age of eight. It all suddenly made sense. I just want to tell stories. The direct and exact title of that career path may not always be the same but storytelling made perfect sense. Once I figured that out, that is when everything I ever did all added up in my conscious mind.

High school and college courses spent taking film studies, drama 101, 102,103, creative writing courses, declaring my major doing something that always terrified the sh**  out of me – public speaking, journalism courses, then writing for the newspaper on various positions, – all this was me gravitating towards what I deeply wanted – to tell stories. That is how I connect. That is what I need to do, and that is how I realized, I always knew, but never figured out until recently.

So for that I thank the smart girl – the fortune-cookie-bearing Einsteinette if you will. So if you are reading this and considering if this childhood memory applies to your childhood or adolescent life, think about another peer that may have stood out to you that may have had an impact or whose opinion, (besides your own young idiocy) seemed to have an affect on you. That smart girl – or boy – could be the answer – or atleast gave you breadcrumbs to your future. The kid would was thinking about graduate schools all before middle school, the kid who had straight A’s and did so without boasts or toasts, the kid who was the TOP student, the child prodigy – whoever that person is, you try to remember that baby Einstein and think about any significant impact or boost to your confidence they may have left you. And if you were that kid who got straight A’s and was reading books way past the rest of our Boxcar Children series, your so smart you are probably already halfway there to your own chosen path, so cheers to you, and most importantly, thank you.


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