To Not Know Is Okay yet not Okay

You know that thing where experienced people share 45 things they learned in 40 years or so. I could do that but my version would be in the 30 things I’ve learned circling the sun 30 times.

I’m not yet confident I’ve learned that much so let me just stick to this one idea or wisdom I wish I’d learned sooner about life and choices.

When we were growing up and even now, people look at you with one kain eyes when they ask you about something popular they feel everyone probably knows.

Like a popular book or song or movie or something.

You say you don’t even know what they are talking about and instantly, you can feel the shame as they label you an outcast. I’ve had my fair share of that.

For instance, I didn’t have access to the books and movies my age grades in literary and everyday life had.

And I remember that sometimes I’ve been asked what books I read or movies I’ve seen and because I didn’t know the popular ones, I felt embarrassed by my asker’s sudden shock.

The same thing happens when some conversations crawl up and you appear to not know what the heck they are talking about.

I wish I could go back and tell my younger self that it was okay to not know what’s popular. To not be versatile or even know a fraction of the topic in every room. To be less knowing.

I wish I learned early to stop wanting to measure up or feel dumb for not knowing what Avengers or The Originals or Sarafina is.

To boldly say I don’t read that genre, I don’t know that author.

To not be tongue-tied or feel stupid because I don’t stan celebrities.

To be okay with saying I watch Zee World series and it doesn’t mean I’m an idiot.

To not feel less of a smart millennial because I’m not a feminist, but nonetheless believe in a society where everyone is treated fairly with kindness that fundamentally, every human deserves irrespective of their gender.

To accept that minimal knowledge is okay and knowing maybe just what you know and like to know is enough.

I can’t change some of these things but I can own the single wisdom that all of us can’t fit into the same mold and that in itself doesn’t make any of us stupid. At least writing about the things that count to me is proof that I am not overtly stupid.

Since I can’t change the past, I don’t gloat over it. Instead, now that I know what I do and keep off things I don’t desire to know.

I enjoy the spaces I’ve chosen to identify with like a steamy cup of hot chocolate, and let others in other spaces teach me new stuff when we chat.

I come to their universe of knowledge as an alien and don’t flinch when they ask the awkward question because really, ain’t nothing wrong with saying, “Wow, I’ve never heard of that before.” If they are kind enough, they will explain. And if not…I’ll not be ashamed to not know.

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