Silent Tiger: sneaking up on giftedness

I am socially exhausted. For all of my unrelenting energy and crazed-brain-spin, I am completely and utterly shattered after a week of being social and talking to humans. My face hurts from focusing on my expressions and my brain has decided to hit interpersonal snooze. I need silence and I need it quickly.

Every personality seems to have a rally cry and bumper sticker, so here is mine: I am a confident and practiced introvert who adapted into a slightly insecure and over-compensating extrovert to appear more normal in social situations where being completely candid proves disastrous. Um… hear me roar!?!?

Okay, so it doesn’t have the bumper sticker ring.

It can feel awfully lonely when all of the people around you share their brilliance so magnificently while I find myself shrinking back and fearing a whistleblower. I affix a smile and know that at any moment a good gifted citizen is going to find out that I’m a fraud and call bullshit. I attach one after the other childish overexcitability to the moment and over-think, over-internalize, over-anxious my way through picnics and parties.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely thrive on great conversations, but my mind puts so many ridiculously stringent rules on them. To begin with, there must be comfort, low noise, temperate weather, no socks, elastic waistbands, planets must be aligned just so, and there must be multiple escape routes, both literal and mental; then, and only then, will it be possible, and by possible I mean slightly more likely, to converse in a normal fashion.

I’ve come to many conclusions over the years and I’m sure there is some sort of spectrum reasoning or twice-exceptionality milling around in my character. I’ve frightened myself with many nights of research and reading on the subject. Why are gifted adults so afraid of sharing who we are and what we know? Is it because knowledge begets an image of elitism? Perhaps. Is it because we are hyperaware of the fact that no matter how large is our store of knowledge, there is still someone, very possibly the next person who says hello, who knows more than us and a mistake is more frightening than saying hello in return? Possible.

I think the most appropriate answer for me is that I have been taught that it is offensive, in bad taste, and snobbish to share what you know. All around us the world shares and explores in a dance of mutual growth, while those of us who have passed that point hold back for fear of stepping on their toes. Our children are regaled with tales from storybooks and quotes from motivational posters which tell them to reach for the stars, no question is wrong, dive in and share, but to a gifted child we slow it down and say, “Hey now, don’t brag! Don’t go too far! Don’t hurt feelings! Don’t share everything!”

This morning my daughter was talking to me and kept using the term GT. It was completely innocent yet I found myself looking around to make sure no one heard her talking. I mean, come on little one, there is most likely some sort of Normal Police following closely behind and you have just ensured I’ll be ticketed for talking grandiosely in an average zone.

How am I supposed to parent these three amazing gifts through their life journey when I can’t talk candidly to those closest to me or share open-heartedly at a small event? More importantly, how are they supposed to embrace their giftedness and truly spread their wings and take off into the world at the level which they are meant to soar if we can’t utter an acronym without anxiety?

The truth is that I am neither an introvert nor an extrovert. I feel as though the definitions assigned to them are too narrow and they fall very short when used to describe the complex social system which evolves in and around the gifted child and adult. When you toss twice-exceptionality into the mix, and at times I feel as though all gifted children have some special need even if that need is their gifted qualities, then you have a nearly indecipherable blend of social signals and precepts which then mix indelibly with the heightened emotional obstructions each of us has built to effectively interact with his or her world.

I have never been one to leave questions unanswered, so I have decided to spend a little time travelling another direction with my blog. I want to explore sending out into the world images of real gifted, real self, and see what returns to me. I will shrug off the introvert and extrovert titles and never look back. I will enjoy talking when the planets align and hit snooze when it’s all too much.

I am the face of gifted. So are your children. So are you. We are flawed and perfect, knowledgeable and pliable, fearful and capable, beautiful and different, normal and present. We are gifted! Hear us roar!!

Yes, that’s better.

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