Welcome to another installment of DEAR GIFTED ME, featuring our very own, Jen Merrill. Take it away, Jen:
Dear 7 year old Jen: I see you have a book in your hand. Again. Good. Keep reading. All those kids who can’t believe how much you read, and that you started reading so young? Eh, to heck with them. Stick with the friends who read as much as you do, and absolutely take that creative writing class. Someday you’ll wish you had taken more writing classes, so take that one and remember how much fun it was.
Dear 10 year old Jen: Second year of a pull-out class, huh? Last year was an in-depth study of advertising, this year it’s law. Not quite the full-time gifted class you’ll wish you had had when you’re older, but certainly better than sitting in language arts wishing everyone else would just just shut up and learn it already so you could move on. Sadly, you’ll have to continue to cultivate that patience in school, everywhere but in math.
Dear 13 year old Jen: You should’t have listened to that idiotic high school counselor. You love science, yet you let him talk you out of honors science classes because of your weakness in mathematics. Then again, because you had more flexibility with class scheduling without the honors, you were able to take a science elective with a teacher who so loved teaching that he was the reason you chose his class. And you learned more in that class than you thought possible.
Dear 15 year old Jen: You’re trying so hard to fit in, not be any different than any other 15 year old girl. But. You want to show the world that you are different! You’re not like any other 15 year old girl! You love learning about other cultures, you love deep discussions, you play Dr. Beat the Metronome with your band geek friends! And yet you only show that side of you to those closest to you. That’s something you’ll struggle with for the next 20+ years, and wish you had let your freak flag fly earlier. You would have been a lot happier a lot sooner.
Dear 17 year old Jen: I know you were hesitant about that college choice, that you felt you should have tried harder to go to a larger and more prestigious music school, but it was absolutely the place for you. You were able to succeed there in a way you wouldn’t have been able to anywhere else. Living in the honors dorm with others with deep and quirky thinking was delicious. Oh, and you met your husband at that university, so probably a good thing that’s where you went.
Dear adult Jen: You, my dear, are gifted. You can ignore it, you can refuse to say the words, you can call it something else, but that’s how it is. If you truly believe gifted = wiring, that gifted ≠ uber-high achievement, then you’re as wired as they come. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, you know. So it’s time to take the advice you gave your 15 year old self: let that freak flag fly. Celebrate the oddities you love. Quit hiding your light under a dirty bucket. Be the you on the inside to everyone on the outside. You’ll be a lot happier for it now.