This story is told anonymously. I have given the author the name of Julia (not her real name).
When did you know you were different from other children? Is there a particular event that stands out?
Probably around 3rd or 4th grade. I had lots of trouble making friends after moving across the country.
When did you understand that it was giftedness that made you different?
Not until I was an adult with my own children. I grew up thinking something was wrong with me. I was even different within my own family, even though I believe they were also gifted.
What are your primary areas of giftedness?
Intellectual and creative. I was late-blooming academically. Things became easier in college. I didn’t learn much prior to that in school. School tended to be on the boring side, but when I went to college I could choose classes (even harder ones) of interest and realized that when I was interested, I learned well.
Did you ever try to downplay your giftedness? Why or why not?
Yes, quite a bit. Mostly, I go through life wearing filters because I tend to be “too much.” I can do a good job playing dumb too.
Did your parents understand that you were gifted? How did they support you?
No and if they did, they wouldn’t have told me. It wasn’t (and still isn’t) a topic that should be discussed in my family.
Do you wish your parents had handled your giftedness in a different way?
Yes, I ended up depressed for 10 years as a preteen/teen. My family valued popularity over individuality. I wish they had found a therapist that could have helped me deal with differences. Instead, they thought that low-cut blouses and make-up lessons would help, lol.
Was there a teacher or other adult who impacted your giftedness in a profound way?
No. I went to a tiny church school. I did have a teacher for a few months (before another move) in 5th grade who gave us all our assignments at the beginning of the day. Once we were done we could go to the back of the room and learn what we wanted the rest of the time. I learned well when I directed my own learning. I can’t say it impacted giftedness, but it impacted my learning.
Was there a teacher or other adult who made your experience as a gifted girl more difficult?
Yes, I had a teacher who had mental problems at my tiny church school (unknown to me at the time, but later told to me by my parents). He fed into my perfectionistic tendencies and I overworked myself with busywork in order to please him.
What do you wish someone had told you when you were in elementary school? Middle school? High school?
Elementary school and middle school – It is okay to be different. Celebrate your uniqueness. High school – Hold on, your life is about to completely change. College will be totally different.
What brings you the most joy as a gifted woman?
My family. We have overexcitabilities galore, but things are real, deep, and fulfilling.
What brings you the most difficulty or pain as a gifted woman?
Relating to others, friendships
Do you or have you ever struggled with imposter syndrome? How do you effectively deal with it?
I’ll admit that I probably do have imposter syndrome, but I think it is minor.
Does your faith impact how you view your giftedness as a woman? How?
Yes, greatly. Although I am different, I know that I am never alone. God is always there.
What would you tell women who have only understood they are gifted now as an adult?
Learn what you can about giftedness. Get to know other gifted women, even if that means only virtually.
How do your experiences as a gifted woman impact how you raise and educate your own gifted daughter?
I am raising my daughter so completely different. I want her to be comfortable with herself and shine with her individuality. I make sure to communicate often how it is great for her to be herself. My parents often tell me how much my daughter reminds them of me. When I look at my daughter, I don’t see myself as a child. I see someone comfortable with herself. I see a highly sensitive, yet fearless leader. I see someone who doesn’t come close to thinking that something is wrong with her. I see a highly creative individual who is growing up in an environment where is it normal to be different.
What would you tell parents of gifted daughters?
Raise them to be confident in their individuality. Seek out peer groups who have shared interests rather than a shared age.