Me and Carissa. The best dancing partner I ever had.

Intelligence.

Funny thing, really.

We try to assign value to it. We try to label it. We try to measure it.

My late sister Carissa, beautiful, blessed with Down Syndrome, did just that.

If you ask “smart” and “credentialed” people, they would tell you that her IQ was probably around 65. With that number, they would attempt to let you, and I, and everyone else know just how little we should expect from her. These people would come to these conclusions based on tests and studies that they themselves created to measure intelligence in the way they want it to be measured. The way they feel it should be measured.

Silly, really.

They didn’t know her. They didn’t know her mind. Her spirit. Her soul.

I did.

I’ve also known many people with incredibly high IQs.

Some of them are very intelligent.

Some of them are dumb as kicked sludge. And I can tell you that Carissa knew and understood way more than some of those people did.

She understood that if you were sad, you needed a long and meaningful hug, not a barrage of questions and solutions.

Carissa and me.
Carissa and me.

Many people with high IQs don’t get that. They think that emotions and feelings are things to be fixed with words and action plans.

She understood that frustration was better shared than buried. When she felt injustice or a disconnect from reason, she would stomp her foot, curl her hand into a fist, and hit her leg repeatedly. It was her way of saying, I need help because I can’t figure this out on my own. She understood that if she just let others know of her inability, a working solution would surface.

Many people with high IQs don’t get that. The thought of not knowing something or not being capable of something fills them with pride and arrogance, and they cover it up, leaving things unresolved and unfixed.

Carissa understood that laughter was far more powerful than anger. If she felt things getting tense between two people, she’d crack a joke or say something she knew was silly. She understood that usually a little bit of funny, injected into a tough situation at just the right time, could diffuse everything most of the time.

Many people with high IQs don’t get that. The thought of replacing anger or tenseness with completely random silliness doesn’t appease their need for justice or resolve. And so, things often escalate to where they’re much harder to fix.

Two amazing sisters.
Two amazing sisters.

Carissa also understood that appearances are extremely overrated. She knew she was beautiful and she expected no lesser thought to escape the minds of others. Because she knew it and because she expected it, all who knew her, knew her only as beautiful.

Many people with high IQs don’t get that. Logic to them is that the nicer your hair, the skinnier your body, the fancier your clothes, the more beautiful you become. They neglect to ever comprehend that real beauty comes from the smile on your face, the warmness of your soul, and your sincere appreciation and gratitude for others. Because of that, many high IQ people who look the part, never are beautiful at all.

Carissa understood that when she danced, she danced for Carissa. She did not care how gracefully she moved, how much she sweat, or how perfectly she connected to the beat. She understood that dancing made her happy, and so she danced.

Many people with high IQs don’t get that. They dance for others, and if they fear that others will judge them for their dance, they don’t dance at all. They feel that dance is a science. That muscles have to fire in perfect order. That feet have to hit the ground at the exact perfect time. That everything must be controlled and fluid. And because of that, they don’t ever know what it’s like to feel their soul break free in the way that only uninhibited dance will let them.

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Dan Pearce is an American-born author, app developer, photographer, and artist. This blog, Single Dad Laughing, is what he's most known for, with more than 1.4 million daily subscribers as of 2017. Pearce writes mostly humorous and introspective works, as well as his musings which span from fatherhood, to dating, to life, to the people and dynamics of society. Single Dad Laughing is much more than a blog. It's an incredible community of people just being real and awesome together!