My kids and our life have opened up my eyes to the fact that I, too, am probably gifted. My intensity is palpable much like my oldest child and I don’t do idle. I need constant mental and physical stimulation and I like to talk about anything and everything with zealous enthusiasm while striking dance poses.
My firstborn, in particular, is my mirror. I never identified as being gifted growing up. I was smart, got exceptional grades and attained several academic accolades from various universities both here and abroad; however, I just considered myself bright like most of my friends. I was always a bit weird and like my kids I have always embraced my eccentricities. I have been called iconoclastic and many have described me as an odd bird who marches to the beat of her own drum. Ditto for my children. My boys and I have a lot of similar personality quirks and we are a lot to take in if you like calm energy. We are mentally exhausting to be around and serve to overwhelm unless you are one who likes a constant barrage of unsolicited detailed information thrown at you.
My children are providing the window into my childhood.
I am not one that hates or loves labels as I see their utility in succinctly describing a set of characteristics but I still feel uncomfortable referring to myself as gifted. With my children the term fits like a glove and it is necessary to appreciate in certain social situations. Throughout my life my normal was engaging with articulate, intelligent people of all ages. I never realized that while many things came easily for me, others were working hard struggling to achieve similar results. I was always able to just be really good at most things though I was only great at a few.
Creativity and a desire for originality fuel my passions but when a new interest area emerges the existing one vanishes immediately. I was never much for continuing on in an area once I lost desire. My obsessions came and went as they continue to do; the same is true for my children. Apparently, I was creating my own version of passion led living and my self-discovery keeps evolving through our radical unschooling journey. As a child my achievements were self-motivated. Grades were unimportant to my family but I was a perfectionist student that needed perfect grades to foster some image that didn’t exist. Perfectionism can be a powerful tool when wielded correctly. I was someone who hated school until I went off to college where I finally enjoyed learning at a level and pace that was stimulating. I didn’t struggle with much except espousing a willingness to conform. I just wouldn’t acquiesce to peer pressure or societal expectations and nothing much has changed. Well, I am a little more aggressively in your face now about non-conformity since I have my handy social media soapbox.
My issues in school or the workplace always centered around how I chose to express my staunch individuality through fashion, verbiage and my inability to bow down to authority. Corporate life didn’t suit me. I just cannot do it unless I have my own motives for playing the game. I don’t endure in-the-box thinking and mundande tasks well; however, I have a facility with the English language that affords me the privilege of getting my needs met in many situations. Verbal gymnastics is something my children excel at effortlessly as well. We are all born negotiators who enjoy the art of argument. Others find this talent particularly exasperating.
In day-to-day life, I am plagued by acute observational awareness. I miss nothing. I absorb my surroundings and break down everything in my sensual range. I would say it is overwhelming but it is a seamless part of my day. I notice the wrinkles on peoples faces and it affects me. I estimate how many chemicals are in skin care products and foods and want to educate those around me about the perils they are consuming. I am getting better at internalizing my thoughts and allowing people to live their life but I still take it all in and analyze it. With strangers I have learned to silently correct grammar faux-pas but within my family the grammar police is unleashed. It is just the way it is.
My husband likes stillness and anonymity and craves a “normal” life. He would become invisible if he could just to avoid people, conversation and noise; however, being part of a gifted family does not make for a simple life. We are the noticeably odd family wherever we go. Our conspicuous intensity permeates our surroundings. The conversations are depthful and touch on heavy subjects with no superficial chatter. Out in the world we sometimes elicit stares which, of course, is too much for my introverted husband but we are who we are and we express ourselves authentically regardless of environment. I keep our life complicated and chaotic and my children are loquiacious beings overflowing with extreme energy. We are far from “normal” and we don’t understand simple but life is never boring.