A Deviant Little Creature (or, The Obligatory Introductory Post)
When I decided to name my blog “Three Standard Deviations,” I thought of about a hundred ways in which I am “deviant”: intelligence, politics, geekery, being a female minister, personality type, and on and on. This blog is going to be about all that stuff and more, but I figured that I would start with the origin of the name:
I’ve always known I was intelligent. I was bored in school, so I argued with teachers and considered most homework a waste of time because I wasn’t challenged by it. I read non-fiction books for fun, get excited about politics and science, and I have yet to figure out why anyone finds Duck Dynasty entertaining. However, I’ve always seen myself as a little-bit-above-average on the intelligence scale. Surely I wasn’t that much more intelligent, because I am forever finding more and more things that I don’t know.
I was wrong. I hope you don’t find this arrogant, but I’m not just a little intelligent. The last time I took an IQ test, I was sleep-starved and wrecked with anxiety, and even in that state, I tested three standard deviations above the norm (hence the name of the blog). In other words, my IQ is in the top <1%.
That terrifies me. That feels like a lot of pressure. That places me in what sometimes feels like an impossible place.
I’m a pastor, a calling that pushes and pulls me straight into the path of people – people who are looking for me for answers, guidance, or a listening ear. My heart is in it. I cannot imagine doing anything else and yet, I can think of only a few careers that would be more challenging to me because more often than not, it feels like I am in a different place than they are, speaking a different language. I love logic and thinking, and I am stymied by the intensely emotional places from which others seem to operate.
The Big Bang Theory is one of the most popular sit-coms at the moment, and most of the people who watch it seem to love Sheldon. For the first few years of the show, we all laughed at and with Sheldon as his incredible intelligence gets in the way of his social interactions with the rest of the cast. He doesn’t pick up on most of the emotions that others are displaying and he takes everything as literally as one can manage. For a while, I thought “yes, that’s me!”
Then came the character of Amy Farrah Fowler and I felt like I needed to check my home for hidden cameras. Amy, like Sheldon, is phenomenally smart, but unlike Sheldon, Amy wants desperately to “fit in” with her friends. She is eager and honest to the point of awkwardness, and at least once an episode, we all cringe as Amy misses the mark. Most of the time, I feel like the “Amy Farrah Fowler” in my social universe.
I am part of a denomination, but I was recently told that it is likely that I have the highest IQ in my region of my denomination (the US Midwest), and that most of the rest of the clergy are either at the norm or a little below (NOT to imply that there aren’t others with higher-than-average intelligence or to associate value with intelligence; it is merely to point out where I am an odd duck, so to speak). Holy pressure, Batman! Are you kidding me? What this has meant is that interactions with other clergy are murky. Even though we are all called, we have very different personalities, interests, gifts, and political leanings. I want to have deeper friendships with them, but I get in my own way. I am too intellectual, take everything too literally, dive into a debate that the other person takes as a personal attack… Those who seem to share my interests and aren’t pushed away by my intelligence all live far away, so Facebook and blogs is the extent of our interactions.
I’m working on figuring all this out. Not every post will be this serious, but, as you have probably already figured out, I’m a fairly serious person. I’m not sure what I’m going to accomplish with this, or who, if anyone other than my parents, will read it, but if nothing else, I will do it for me, because I like to write.