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The New ‘Smart’

Written by Tabby Biddle

My husband is a smart guy. He is a writer, director, producer, and online media strategy wizard. He is a musician, photographer, yogi, chef, and fix-things-when-they-break master. In a conversation with him the other morning, he said to me: “You’re as smart I am.” I paused to take this in. Did he just tell me that I’m as smart as him?

Now, I know, I know. The feminists, or frankly, all women reading this might be offended. You might think: Of course you are as smart as him. Why would he say this?

Let me reveal to you that hearing those words, “You’re as smart as I am,” made me delighted, even euphoric.

You see, I know I am smart. But I’ve never really had anyone call me “smart,” and especially never a man. Even with my almost straight-A’s report cards in middle school, high school and college, I can’t remember anyone ever calling me smart. I think it was more like, “She’s a very good student.” So that’s what I considered myself, a very good student.

Can anyone relate?

Later that day, I went out with a girlfriend of mine and I told her about my euphoric moment in the morning with my husband. She kind of shrugged, and said, “Of course you are smart. In fact, you are more than smart. You have wisdom.”

Aha. I knew what she was talking about. This was a kind of smart that I related to. This is a kind of smart that lies within my body, and lies within my soul. This is a kind of smart that feels unique to me. This is a kind of smart that helps me see what someone needs to take them the next step further in their life. This is the kind of smart that allows me to “see” things by feeling them first in my body. This is a feminine wisdom smart.

So I started to wonder how many other women are sitting on top of their inner wisdom smarts because they don’t want to appear “not smart.”

It dawned on me that in order to finally admit that I am the feminine wisdom kind of “smart” and to give that kind of smart value, I needed someone I love to see me and say to me “You are smart,” to give up the un-ending race of trying to prove myself in the traditional paradigm.

So is this to say that I am not the traditional book smart that our culture prizes? No. I’m that kind of smart too.

Tabby Biddle, M.S. Ed., is a writer, editor, and writing coach dedicated to amplifying the voices of women and girls. She is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post on issues affecting women and girls, and works with women on writing projects to help them articulate their message, increase their visibility, and grow their influence. Ms. Biddle’s work has been featured by the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, NPR, Current TV and other online media. She earned her Master’s degree in Education from Bank Street College and her undergraduate in Political Science from Colby College. She lives in Santa Monica, CA with her husband.

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12 Responses to The New ‘Smart’

  1. Katharine Merriman February 25, 2011 at 6:45 am #

    Thank you!! You are a wise smart talented beautiful and inspirational woman!! 🙂 You GO GIRL!! xxoo

    • Tabby Biddle February 25, 2011 at 11:01 am #


      You are such a delight! Thank you for your cheering and support. YOU are an inspiration!!

      Have a beautiful weekend,

  2. Carmela February 25, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    May I have permission to respond? I cannot relate to writing because I am not a writer. Matter of fact I would like to take more English classes and a creative writing class to catch up to everyone else so to speak. What I can relate to is my boyfriend is Cuban and his culture thrives on being the best in everything. He is a great philosopher. He can speak to anyone about any subject. He is looking for a buddy that understands and can make a point to his argument. Maybe your husband. But on any note, who is the one to judge who is smart and who is wise? We all are one delicious apple. Peel our skin and get to know everyone amongst our sisters. Culture and traditions say a lot about a person. I know I love my boyfriend for educating me in all different subjects. Thank you.

    • Tabby Biddle February 26, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

      Carmela, of course you have permission to respond! I love that you are writing to express yourself.

      I really appreciated the point you brought up: “Who is the one to judge who is smart and who is wise? We all are one delicious apple.”

      It’s so true that we all have something teach one another. Thanks for sharing your experience with your boyfriend, and keep writing Carmela!

  3. Wendi Knox February 25, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    Well, first of all, Tabby I know your husband is smart…HE MARRIED YOU!!! I find this topic very interesting because I have to admit, I have always been told I was smart. In fact, I used to be embarrassed being so smart in school…In my Execu-woman role with all men, the inference was that it was surprising that I was so smart and “female.” But it wasn’t until recently that I felt valued for my inner wisdom intuitive smarts. In the world I was in (a much more masculine, corporate world) that kind of intelligence wasn’t valued. It wasn’t until I started valuing those qualities in myself that I have found my true calling, tribe and joy. Tabby, one of the things I most admire about you is your honesty and how you open the door to such stimulating thought.
    You are a beautiful balance of both kinds of smart.

    • Tabby Biddle February 26, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

      Heee, heee, heeee Wendi. I adore your first sentence above. Very sweet and true. 🙂

      I found it so interesting to read that you used to be embarrassed by being so smart in school. What was it about it that made you feel embarrassed? I wonder how many other women have felt this same way, and what specifically made them feel embarrassed? I’d love to hear more about this.

      I think that inference in your Execu-woman role with all men that it was surprising that you were so smart and “female” is probably still too common. I know some women have no problem with this, but others play down how smart they really are in order to keep from “disturbing the waters.” I think we all need to encourage each other to GO FOR IT and support each other’s smarts — book smart or wisdom smart.

      “It wasn’t until I started valuing those qualities (inner wisdom intuitive smarts) in myself that I have found my true calling, tribe and joy.”

      This is beautiful Wendi!!!


  4. Christine Lewicki February 25, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    I seem to really relate with your articles lately. I too have been struggling with thinking that I was not SMART enough and my Husband telling me that I am !! what truly happened for me is that I always thought I have to think something NEW, different, Innovative to be smart or I always thought that other probably think the same as me but better ! and then I started to blog and found out that what I deeply think, what’s important to me, matters, is important, is SMART and that people are interested by my take on things. I am not holding back anymore !

    • Tabby Biddle February 26, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

      Oh Christine, your comment made me so happy!!! I loved hearing how when you started to blog, you started to find out that what you deeply think, and what’s important to you, MATTERS, is IMPORTANT, and is SMART.

      “I am not holding back anymore.”

      WoooHooooo — when I read this, it made me feel so refreshed and energized! Go Christine!!!

      You are SMART!

  5. Jen Frances February 26, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    “It dawned on me that in order to finally admit that I am the feminine wisdom kind of “smart” and to give that kind of smart value, I needed someone I love to see me and say to me “You are smart,” to give up the un-ending race of trying to prove myself in the traditional paradigm.”

    Beautifully put Tabby. It strikes right to the core. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with the world!!

    • Tabby Biddle February 26, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

      Jen, thank you for the reflection, and thank you for sharing your voice that carries such divine blessing & light!


  6. Lisa Araquistain February 27, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    I was a smart kid, awards in math starting early on. Then it was recommended to me that I go into engineering school. I ended up in an environment the that was not supporting my true intelligence and my femininity. Yes men were intimidated and I did turn it way down. But when I recognized that I could change my career and apply intelligence in more feminine ways- I got really happy! Now people from my past look at me like I’m crazy, but it felt so good to break the rules and create my own path. Also, it’s funny how people attribute money to being smart. I cut my salary in a third when first changed careers, but I have more abundance now than ever. Since I don’t have traditional wealthy things yet like a house and a luxury car I don’t appear to be smart. Again, it doesn’t matter, it’s nice to clear that judgement from my space and have fun with my new freedom and creativity. I am now a healer and a coach and teach women’s meditation retreats and help people while I help myself. Thanks Tabby for your inspiration and honesty!

    • Tabby Biddle
      Tabby Biddle March 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for sharing your experience on this topic. I love how you “broke the rules” and created your own path, and you have “more abundance now than ever.” This is a really great lesson for so many women. I am so happy to hear how you are having fun with your freedom and creativity. The world is a better place now that you are applying your intelligence in more feminine ways and have claimed your role as a healer, coach, and meditation teacher for women. I am excited to spend time with you at the upcoming Divine Feminine workshop!

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