All my life, I have felt different, weird, not like other people. I knew I was smart, I wore my heart on my sleeve, I handled criticism very badly, and I thought about more things, more deeply than most people around me. But, I didn’t know why. And then, a year or two ago, I found a label that fits. And I still can’t believe it.

It turns out that I am highly gifted with underachievement issues stemming from Overexcitabilities, Perfectionism, multipotentiality, lazy work habits due to being under-challenged as a child, and Imposter Syndrome.

I first suspected after reading the following in “The 10 most commonly asked questions about highly gifted children” by Kathi Kearney:

  • Many gifted adults today have long had a nagging sense that they were “different” or didn’t fit in a school, but did not know the reason why.
  • For many complex reasons, exceptionally gifted children are not always high achievers.
  • Gifted girls may let their abilities go “underground” during junior high school, and may adapt to their environments in other ways so that they will not appear gifted.
  • Of all the special problems of general conduct which the most intelligent children face, I will mention five, which beset them in early years and may lead to habits subversive of fine leadership: (1) to find enough hard and interesting work at school; (2) to suffer fools gladly; (3) to keep from becoming negativistic toward authority; (4) to keep from becoming hermits; (5) to avoid the formation of habits of extreme chicanery

After reading that article, I found myself looking into the differences between moderately gifted individuals and those who are more highly gifted. And I found myself revisiting the intellectual achievements of my life. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it so say that in addition to other suggestive but not easily quantifiable data points, I discovered that my score on the SAT, for which I did not study, is just shy of the admission requirements for at least one high-IQ society open to people with documented IQ scores in the top 99.9 percentile, putting me squarely into at least the highly gifted category.

I still don’t really believe it, but every time I read an article about the vulnerabilities of highly gifted children as opposed to moderately gifted children, I recognize myself and wonder whether I could have been raised and educated in a way that didn’t leave so many scars. I had started hiding in plain sight by the time I was 5 and it took me 30 years of underachievement to understand why.

I want to know, what can we do to encourage identification of highly-gifted children before they start shutting themselves down?


52 thoughts on “What? I’m So Weird Because I’m Highly Gifted?

  1. Thanks for such a stimulating post. What a great title – feeling ‘weird’ is something many highly talented, exceptional, eccentric, “outsider” people can relate to. The pleasures and challenges of being ‘extra intelligent’ and ‘extra intense’ are themes of my various sites – thanks for linking to one of my multipotentiality posts.

    There are many other posts and articles (by myself and other writers) on my main site, plus related sites such as High Ability site – and Facebook page

    1. Maybe the biggest problem with our “modern” society is that people with special viewpoints are not always easily accepted by the mass. To be understood and accepted, you have to fit in one of the molds provided… But for really different people, that can’t stop feeling the need to remain honest with themselves, fitting in is not always easy…

  2. OMG that first paragraph says it all!! I work with gifted kids and have two of my own at home. I have always known I had gifted tendencies but with a diagnosis of bipolar always put my weirdness down to that. Learning as I go about Giftedness, I have learned so much about my self and then this article made me go…yep that’s me! Now if only I can accept it 🙂

    1. That process of acceptance is so convoluted. And I am sure that the diagnosis complicates things.
      I was misdiagnosed as a child and the journey to self understanding after that process has been complicated. May you find companions along the way who nurture and support you.

  3. I feel as though I could have written this article. Though I’m not so sure about the “highly” gifted part for me. I’ve never taken the SAT, but I am sure my math scores (especially now, so many decades after any math classes) would have been ridiculously low.

    1. I continue to be amazed that there truly are people like me in this world. I have a tribe.
      Yay us!

  4. I too have felt like this. As you described yourself, I kept saying, “Yep, that’s me too!” I remember being in gifted classes in elementary. We were pulled into a little “room” where we did extra work and missed out on the fun stuff. I quit. Don’t know why my mom let me quit, but she did. (How her denial and depression impacted me is another story.) I stopped doing homework and stopped caring. I always thought it was due to family issues (I’m sure they were part of it) and the fact that I am, in my soul, a writer. And let’s face it, us writers are just plain weird! LOL! Thanks for the post. It is nice to know I am not alone in my brilliant underachievement!

  5. What I feel right now is an ineffable connection to your words and everyone else who has gone through a similar life/educational journey. This is definitely great “food for thought” as I fall asleep tonight and it will keep me thinking, humble, and more aware for my own gifted students.

    THANK YOU. You are NOT alone.


  6. What can we do to encourage identification of highly-gifted children before they start shutting themselves down? . . . . . Listen to their parents!!! It’s well documented that if parents think their child/ren may be gifted that they are usually right. Unfortunately even when they, the parents, try to politely discuss the fact with teachers they are seen to be one of those pushy parents who think ‘their’ child is wonderful when all other academic signs point at best to an average child.

  7. I think we must be secret twins, Christine. With the exception of the SAT (for me it was UE English which I sat after I left school, attended no classes, and just did the exam based on my own knowledge and wide reading and scored 96% for), my story is very similar. The scars last a long time and I am still risk-averse and pretty much ascribe my successes and achievements to luck rather than ability. As for handling criticisms, well they are like a knife to the heart … It does, though, help that I now understand why I am the way I am.

    1. I am surprised by how much understanding myself has helped me both be more compassionate with my weaknessess and accepting of my strengths. It is still hard, though.

  8. Gifted adults (those who discover it as adults) amaze me. Such untapped potential, so much unknown about themselves (I should probably say “ourselves”). I still don’t see myself as gifted, though I’ve been told I’m insane to not think I am. 😉

    1. I have a crazy amount of anger at the pyschologists, psychiatrists, and administrators of the gifted program I went to who failed to help me and my parents connect the dots between my gifts and my OEs. A huge amount of pain could have been avoided by a little understanding. And the folks who are associated with the gifted program my kids might go to talk a good talk about asynchrony, but don’t seem to be any better on OEs. Drives me nuts.
      I can’t dwell on what might have been different in my life, but I’m bloody well not going to let the school ruin my kids.

  9. Oh…wow…you have said and shared something powerful here. In another place I’d say, “You have no idea” but you obviously do have such a clear idea. We came from similar places it seems. Thank you for this.

  10. I have a daughter who has been through so much in her 10 yrs of life so far. She had been reading almost anything by her 3rd birthday, beginning with sentences @ 18 months old. She had all the signs of being gifted; as a parent, I just knew. I have a vivid memory of being at a mommy and me class (when my daughter was 2 yrs old) and she would read the posters around the room. One mom suggested that I call Oprah to let her know about my daughter’s “gifts.” I was so excited, as I began to realize that there were no kids her age (at least from the many that I had met) that had skills like hers. I thought that once she would enter the school system, the teachers would be amazed by her and truly appreciate her. When my daughter had read directions on her cousin’s homework one day, at age 3 yrs(cousin, grade 2) and had done the assignment correctly as well, my thoughts began to change to, “what are they gonna do with her?” Well, sad to say, my bright, outgoing, creative, full-of-life little girl had been neglected by the school system and given remedial work, despite both my husband and my efforts to give her what she had needed. She was bored to tears and expressed her boredom to her father and I, and her teachers as well, as the remedial work would be sent home, and as the staff would continue to assure us that her needs were being met. Our daughter felt like a lion in a cage, being forced to do work that she could do as a toddler. She resented her teachers and would speak up about it; she became a “behavior problem.” My child, I believe, became labeled in our area. The “gifted” program is a joke at best and only meets once in awhile beginning in Jan. of each year, where the kids are presented with an open-ended question. My girl meets other kids easily wherever she goes. Her issues were resentment towards the adults (teachers) in her life who had truly failed her. Unfortunately, speaking up to them to try and get her needs met, caused parents to believe that she’s a disrespectful child with issues. They, of course, don’t have a highly gifted child in a regular-minded school system. My child feels lonely now at school, although I believe things have gotten better a bit, yet she’s so social, caring–the best kind of friend a friend could have. It’s so sad for me.

    So, when asked what could be done for these amazing kids? I say, they truly need a quality gifted program in the public school system. We need to care about these kids on the opposite end of the spectrum; they have “special needs” as well. We are failing the future generation of kids who could contribute so much. My daughter has never had to work hard, and now barely cares at times. The school system never cared about her needs; they’re too busy focusing on the “No Child Left Behind” issue. I can only hope that some teachers down the road find something special in her that helps ignite the spark that she once had.

  11. I loved your post! Your feelings and voice about being “wierd” resonated with me! I have a 6 years old son and he is twice-exceptional. We have been on a 2 year journey and have seen several experts. We were told that there is nothing about him that “is on the bell curve” since his IQ is on one extreme and his social skills are on the other extreme. He doesn’t relate to his peers and prefers being with adults. The school doesn’t get it and we find ourselves educating them on what 2e means and the strategies that work the best. I have started a blog about our journey and I think you might enjoy it! Hope that you check it out! Blessings to you!

  12. People keep calling me out for my weridness, and im starting to doubt myself. My confidence is something i battle with everyday. I have to tell myself im not retarded, but i dont like to tell myself that im special. Being raised by a single mother gave me that delusion and i hate it.

    My confidence is so broken now that i can hardly explain my thoughts properly anymore, ive become the hermit, antisocial, hate filled bitter young man who gives into alcoholism and other avoidant behaviours.

  13. Couldn’t agree with more with what you’ve written. HIghly/profoundly gifted people are not lazy. We get bored with a project, etc., and need to go on to the next one. Look to Sherlock Holmes as an example. Experts calculate his IQ at over 200. All best, Gita

  14. There are probably +100 times more gifted underachievers than geniuses. They don’t have to be social outcasts, can be as happy as most people, be functional. But a lot of us aren’t. Among the most vulnerable are probably the long time singles. That’s why I’d like to found an international organisation for highly inquisitive and analytical, sensitive, intense and complex but reliable and communicative singles.

  15. Thank you Kate for your article. Talking about you, you really describe me, too, and it’s such a relief to see that I’m not the only one like this! I’ve always felt different, weird, I’ve just recently understood what being gifted is all about, and I really had no idea about all this. I don’t know how to manage my giftedness. I belong to Mensa, but even there I find some of the members boring, always talking about their professional success. So I’m looking forward to reading what you people here are discussing. And Blueplusgreen, you’re not the only one whose confidence is broken, but I’m convinced something can be done about gaining it back!

  16. Tonight, I am feeling like if I could simply reach some soul that could even start to understand what the heck I am talking about, this might somehow help me and, with any luck, help somebody else. I am one of these weird people that spent most of their life wondering why they did not feel right with most around them. Came from a small village, parents divorced when I was 6, moved about 12 times in different cities and schools between the ages of 6 and 12, was always fighting to fit in but barely survived the ordeal. Then, some forty years latter, I (accidentally?) came upon an intriguing text published in some very high IQ society. For the first time in my life, I had the impression that I might not be alone. Never having tried an IQ test before, I decided to start with a simple one on the web. After drinking lots of beer (in case things went wrong…) I sent my answers. The result came two days later: IQ>145! Then the thought: what would have happened without the beers? Second try, I spent 1.5 hours reviewing the test and sent my answers. Result: not sure, after explaining that I had taken alcohol in my first attempt and that I was wondering what the effect of alcohol was on people’s IQ, I sent my second attempt, almost sure that I had maxed out the test (selling IQ 160). But, for some reasons, the corrector (and society founder) decided, at that exact point, to stop correcting the test.
    Not satisfied with the still unanswered question, I went on to try what was described as one of the most difficult IQ test on the web. Took 3 or 4 weeks to complete it and sent my answers. Two weeks passed, then the verdict came back: The second highest score ever recorded on the test. There it was, no possible error this time, I really was one of these strange people.
    To cut the story short, I eventually made a second attempt on the same test (to please my ego) and ended up sharing the highest score with one well-known high IQ individual on the web. What as happened since then? I meet a wonderful woman that now shares my life and makes me very happy. Professionally, not much, I simply realized that people like me are not readily promotable (we tend to threaten people above us) even though we always end up fixing problems that nobody else could… So in short, I feel well and am now in peace with others and myself.

    1. It is so good to hear that you have found some peace.

      I, too, have found that self-understanding leads closer to peace with myself. With others, I have simply learned to recognize the people who understand me most as my most significant source of companionship and to expect less from my relationships with others. This has lead to more ease with my relationships.

  17. Finding out I was gifted, based on a sufficient score on the Mensa-test, was a relief. I knew that I was intenser, complexer, smarter, an underachiever, a loner, but I really needed the “proof”. But it hasn’t changed things in reality. I seem to have not that many things in common with my siblings and their spouses, and avoid them. I gave up on having a job, and am more or less content with 1000 euros a month. Have no friends. Never had a girl friend. Became moderately depressed, anxious, neurotic, pessimistic. “Lucky” for me there’s the web, and I can explain my weirdness now by Attention Deficiency Disorder, which can be confused but also occur with giftedness.

    The next year it’ll be a positive turn or the end of all dreams: founding a radio for “disabled” people like me to give them a job and bring less commercial tunes, and maybe an international organisation for bright, inquisitive, supercomplex people who don’t mind supporting others, and who might otherwise never the break they so desperately need amorously or otherwise. I criticise Mensa for judging people on just a score – 129? sorry, stay out – and not a whole combination of characteristics that are so much more vital for relating to people: openness, humour, moral principles, a dialectic and critical approach to everything, … Because I just know that so many highly intelligent people out there care about status, money, power, illogical ideas like religion, … and not for the wellbeing of mankind, and the world we live on. They can join Mensa, and so many others who didn’t have the chance to educate themselves on the highest level, not?

    1. Dear Gordy,
      In 1998, I passed the Mensa test because I’ve always felt so different, being too fast, too sensitive, too extraordinary, too altruistic, too clever – you name it. I met up with other Mensans and thought: “my god, if this is being a gifted person, I don’t want to be like this”. You are right, gifted people fall into the same traps as everybody else concerning wealth, money and power. There were power struggles at the top of Mensa, and I was greatly dissapointed and quit the association. Ever since, I’ve been struggling with myself, my professional and social life, making efforts to try to ‘fit in’ but it’s absolutely hopeless. I can’t even earn a living, being an immigrant in a country that denies me higher ambitions than being a cleaning lady, even though I have a solid education and work experience behind me. I’m however very lucky to have my husband who is not gifted but who is above average. He gives me lots of support and thinks I’m a fantastic person while I underestimate myself all the time and judge myself very harshly.
      So two years ago, I decided to stop making efforts and just be myself. I joined Mensa again, without much hope of finding people like me but to my big surprise, I found great people, both older and younger, with whom I have alot in common. Of course, there are still those same ones struggling for wealth and power, but I let them do what they want with their lives, I don’t want to fret over such things anymore. I have found my own creativity and thrive on that, even though it doesn’t pay and is not understood at all by the rest of society. I have read a few books about gifted adults and am so glad that I’m not the only one to be like this. If my brain works like this, I can also influence it and consciously change things so I can feel better. I have decided to find a therapist who can guide me through the whole process of accepting myself as I am. That is a great relief. So there is always hope, but sometimes it takes more time and alot of suffering before you find your own path. Don’t get too isolated, give others a chance, reach out to those that you feel in tune with, even only slightly. They are probably just as lost and desillusioned as you are. I have developed one very deep friendship since I decided to be myself, and that compensates all the misery experienced with other people!

      1. Thanks for your story. Although we seem to have some things in common, I can’t do what you do. I don’t feel at home in groups in general, and I don’t think I’ll ever will again. Even Mensa. I have too many negative feelings, like anger, shame, frustrations, that are hard to understand, unless you have the same background, the same ADD characteristics like procrastination and chaos, perfectionism and doing nothing out of fear to make mistakes, the same extreme loneliness that goes together with being not intimid with anyone for so long. Even the fact that you’re a woman and I’m not, can make a difference. Since I’m not at ease with talking about emotions with a man, need the mutual caring and at the same time vulnerable feelings that only (some) females give me, and at the same time it’s hard to have friendships with women, both single and not, because they “overexcite” me, but not necessarily in a good way. Because I have stronger opinions about them, expect, fear, fantasize more and usually get disappointment …

        You see, I’m in a prison, or better, a ivory tower, which I can’t leave. Having no armour, and always seeing danger at the horizons.

        The only good thing: I have more empathy for people who don’t deserve what they get than most, and can be an amateur shrink for them. But that’s only a very small consolance, and leads usually nowhere.

    2. Gordy,

      Those goals for 2013 sound great, but really big to manage in one year. I hope you can treat yourself with compassion if things are slow to get going. I would hate to see those ideas fade to nothing because they take more time than you imagine.
      Good luck.

  18. I’ve had enough compassion, now it’s time for action. 😉

    The radio, could be matter of months. All I need is the help of the minister of Culture, not by money, but the power to persuade others to not dismiss my plan, which is excellent and needed, even if I say so myself. I’m trying to get to her, but need a spokesperson, because that is not my forte.

    Concerning the other thing, I could use your help. I need fellow travellers, who want to combine their motivation, ideas, connections, … In my mind, every intelligent person knows that a factual monopoly, like Mensa has, is not healthy. And out there must be tens of thousands individuals who feel outsiders for more or less the same reasons or causes, and wouldn’t mind or even would like to communicate with others like them via internet to start with, maybe especially one on one. This could make the difference between making the best of life, or never being happy. Yes, I do it to eventually meet the woman who can make my life meaningful instead of empty. But also to save so many others from misery. Single or with somebody, educated or not, well off or poor, … as long as they are inquisitive, honest, humanistic, idealistic, empathic, communicative, … all welcome. But how to find them?

    You could place some kind of appeal on this blog/site, or send a mail to all your contacts, to tell them about this potential initiative. Every person counts, because one of them could have the right means, ideas, network to get started.

  19. I’ve always felt misplaced and I don’t do well in school because its all so boring plus all the people in class try to distract the teacher I’m really bad at math but my reading and comprehension has been college level since sixth grade I’m only 16 now but I don’t really have friends because most people are below my normal conversational skills its really agitating because I would like to fit in but I just don’t .

  20. Wow, I found your blog while doing a search about homeschooling. The first paragraph of this article is such a portrait of my experience. I feel like I’ve spent the majority of my life hiding myself, trying to change to fit in but never succeeding. Now at the ripe old age of almost 35 I’m breaking out of my cocoon and ready to spread my wings and soar!

    I can’t wait to explore the resources you mentioned about highly gifted people. I’ve come to terms with my procrastination, fear of failure and ‘lazy perfectionism’, but I never knew that there were others like me. I’ve always done just enough to get by without really stretching myself. So I scored As and Bs mostly throughout my academic career without trying too hard. I got a 32 on my ACT but i took it late my senior year so missed out on a lot of scholarships and other opportunities. College required more from me due to my lack of organizational skills but I still graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science and a minor in math.

    I come from very humble beginnings, the oldest of 5 kids raised by a single mother. I had to learn how to code switch very early in life since I stuck out everywhere that I went. In the ‘hood,it wasn’t safe to be a smart little black girl who ‘talked white’ and always had her head stuck in a book. My mom sent me to schools out of the neighborhood, where I was usually one of the few minorities there.

    I wonder sometimes how different might i have been if I hadn’t felt compelled to try to be ‘normal’ for so long. How many years have been wasted of my life? I see such exceptional qualities in my two children and have decided to pull them out of traditional school in order to help them reach their fullest potential. I’m blessed to have a husband who supports me fully in this endeavor. I’m scared and excited at the same time! I’ve had some sort of paying job since the age of 14 so this will be really different for me. We have to learn how to live on one modest income. I will have more time to work on my weaknesses like cooking, cleaning, etc. Most importantly, I get to invest all of my time, energy, gifts and abilities into my family.

    1. Good luck with the homeschooling.

      And good luck finding your own way to soar!
      I am thrilled that you are breaking out. I hope the resources are helpful.

      Breaking out of my cocoon has been scary and thrilling, and way out of my comfort zone, but I am excited about life in a way I wasn’t before.

      I wish you all the best.

  21. Okay the sources cited on this page have no evidence to them whatsoever… everyone commenting and the writer of this article sounds like they’re trying to blame their shortcomings on “giftedness” so they can feel special and different without actually being remarkable at all.

  22. I’m wondering if someone suffering from ADD and wondering at so many ordinary things – which causes people to think he’s slow or even stupid – can be intellectually gifted as well. Do you have any experience with gifted people “suffering” from ADD? (I don’t mean the typical ADD symptoms many gifted have to get along with, but intellectually gifted AS WELL AS highly creative – or, as some people would say, with an extra brain disfunction that causes attention deficits and therefore permanent confusion, which again implies a high creative potential). All books and internet sites about giftedness I’ve read divided gifted people into at least two classes; the highly creative and the intellectually gifted (plus the „high achievers“ in some cases) – lacking the combined version of the first two. As for me, I’m truly interested in many academic areas such as philosophy, history, languages, and psychology, but also a permanently wondering mind tending to confusion due to all these observations and thoughts my head is full of. My math skills suck, but at online and book IQ tests I got significantly varying results, 107-145. In addition, I’ve always been a really nonconformistic person, never considering something to be true just because many people think or say so. There are many aspects of intellectual giftedness that suit me well, but also aspects of a high creativity that cannot be explained by intellect. (Sorry, but English isn’t my first language) Do you have any idea? Can someone seemingly stupid like me really be intellectually gifted? Thanks in advance!

  23. Wow- I found this all very interesting to say the least. Here all these years of being different, not feeling like I fit in and what I found to be all 100% completely NORMAL- its actually called “GIFTED” I see this in my children as well I must share this with them so they can better understand who they are. thank you for your blog.. check out my webpage I have a actual webpage and a facebook page as well. I have a article I posted on my webpage sensitivity were discovered at an early age, society and science would profit” (pp. 87-88). Moral Sensitivity and the Gifted The values endorsed by Dabrowski are seen frequently in parental descriptions of gifted children: R is honest — will tell the truth even if he gets in trouble; sensitive — shows concern for others’ feelings; sensitive — easily hurt; has a clear sense of right and wrong… P is quite sensitive to the feelings of others and has a well developed sense of justice. She befriends the outcasts in her class and will not tolerate cruelty from other children. She comments to me if she feels her teacher is not treating children consistently. N is very sensitive and she is easily upset by criticism or by ignoring her suggestions. She is very mature for her age. She is compassionate, and very aware of other people’s feelings and needs… of fairness… of moral issues and values. She forgives easily those who have offended her. A has a world awareness and consciousness and a well-developed sense of morals and values that goes beyond rules. She thinks about what is right in this situation, this circumstance. B has a strong sense of right and wrong. It almost seems that she came this way. We have been guides and examples of strong principles but B knows what is good and what is not by instinct. Having observed the development – See more at:

  24. I’ve been known to be an intense person. But because many people don’t understand this, they keep saying “calm down”,”stop worrying” etc. These are just false feedback that encourage misunderstanding to the gifted person. But In those cases where the gifted person was allowed to burn out, to let that intensity run it’s course, they achieve great things.

    I read and worked on computer, well into the night. Usually sleeping with a book or my eye dry from pulling apart a system. Every night, I had the freedom to burn out. I became computer certified before high school and worked on super computers during university.

    Another area I was able to burn myself out was in music. here also, during high school, I was able to go as far as my body allowed me and achieved great things.

    In university, The workload was way too much and too cursory for my taste so I lost interest. Instead, I worked on my own things in the labs.

    Giftedness – I see it in the intensity and passion and instead of giving them a dose of verb downer drugs, I ignite that flame even more until they become unstoppable. It’s the only way they feel live and engaged in life. Mediocrity is boredom is death to them, and to me.

    SET THEIR PASSIONS ABLAZE. And the best place to do this is homeschooling or extracurricular activities. Provide focus and help manage their interests preferably by redirection. If their interests get expensive, seek a patron.

    Public (and private) education is based on the principles of manufacturing and standardization. Each student is ‘produced’ in lock step and checked for ‘defects’. For each progression on the line, there are various ‘quality checks’ by the school or the state. After the ‘product’ passes quality checks, it is given a stamp of approval and date of manufacture.

    This progressive, Prussian system just simply fails when is outside the norm. In fact, it’s cruel.

  25. Hi Christine, I am a Masters student at the University of Ottawa in Canada, conducting a small research study on gifted students. Would you be able to help me out by participating in the study? Please let me know! I could conduct the interview via email and you could type your answers. Thanks a lot!

  26. lol, i was gifted too and extremely weird. it’s how i pick out the other gifted kids from the crowd, but what if “gifted” is just something they tell us so we don’t feel bad about being so weird :p

  27. Wow. I am almost 60 years old and have only learned about giftedness (in terms of the emotional/behavioral tendencies) this past Friday!

    I always knew I was brilliant. Tested top 90th percentile in the nation on the ASVAB test for mechanical engineering and I went to a special summer program for “gifted” kids. But in real life, I was bored stiff with school and practically delinquent (still managed to graduate with a C+ average even though I cut 5 weeks’ worth of school!).

    I had no direction or inspiration in life. Dad left when I was 10 and mom worked herself into an exhaused angry heap every day. My grandmother offered to pay for college but I didn’t want to go because school had been sooo boring. (How I regret this now.) I pretty much did nothing because I could do everything (if that makes sense) so I became bored. Yet, ironically, if something presented too much of a challenge and I wasn’t motivated to persist, I would blow it off. I tried to go back to school as an adult but couldn’t decide what I wanted to be when I “grew up.” So I never did get a degree.

    Fast forward 20+ more years and find me working at middling administrative jobs (usually as a temp, because either I’d get bored or there were social unpleasantries that made me not want to stay). Multi-tasking was easy peasy (these days, however, it’s feeling more like ADD). I marketed myself as a “problem solver” because I was able to create order out of chaos (all the while creating my own brand of chaos due to my intense personality). I ran into a lot of issues described here, most notably jealousy and intimidation in others. Yes, intimidated was a word I heard a lot.

    Honestly, looking back, I was an imperious jerk. I saw mistakes all over the place and didn’t hesitate to speak up about them. Practically zero social skills for many years (thanks, Mom), but with an incredibly intense empathy toward hurting people. So strongly I could feel their pain. Often, I’d be crying when they couldn’t!

    But I really shone in music. I can find a harmony in anything. I figured out the theme song to “Exodus” on the piano by ear. I picked up a 12-string guitar at 12 years and taught myself how to play. I have a picture of myself at 14 playing and singing for a group of kids sitting at my feet. Surreal. But the looks on their faces was priceless. Most of them looked confused. Not awed and excited. I was probably singing a song about complex emotions or making a social statement of some kind. Ha! Always the odd duck…

    Words are my other forte. I love to write and can spot a grammatical, punctuational, or spelling error at 20 paces. No joke. Often I will look at a page and my eye goes right to the mistake. However, I am often aghast when, after carefully crafting a pithy post on Facebook, I reread it later and find a spelling mistake. After it’s already posted, of course. Funny, huh? 🙂

    I had kind of resigned myself to being an outcast of sorts. Way too intense for the average person. Much too detailed in everyday conversation. I am a voracious learner. I can’t even get through a movie without researching some tidbit on my laptop about the storyline, the actor, whose voice is overdubbing, where was it filmed, what does that foreign phrase mean… seriously. And I talk as if other people are interested in learning too. They’re not. Yet when people talk to me like that I eat it up. Now I don’t take it so personally when people’s eyes glaze over mid-sentence.

    My son and daughter-in-law recently sat me down and talked to me about this. How I tire people out by going into excrutiating detail about things that they’re not even interested in. I must say it hurt, but I didn’t have the framework of “giftedness” to understand that 1) What I do is normal–for me and 2) I am the odd duck and everyone else is average (I mean that empirically, not derogatorily). I had accepted this a long time ago when I would get impatient because people didn’t “get” things as quickly as I did. But that pertained to skill level. Now we were talking about my personality and emotional makeup. Who I am as a person.

    How reassuring it is to now discover, after all these years of hurting (and hurting others), that I am not fatally flawed. That passion and intensity (and everything that goes with it: Good, bad, and ugly) are GOOD things. They are just not COMMON things. And they must be channeled appropriately.

    So, my next research project is… drumroll please… me. But this time I believe I finally have the correct lens to see clearly. Over the years I have tired myself (and others) out trying to understand why I act and feel the way I do. I know I probably seemed insufferably self-centered to most people, but I was desperate to find the key that would somehow make it OK to be me. Honestly, if I hadn’t found the love of Jesus and the hope of His calling years ago I probably would have killed myelf out of sheer despair. My faith kept me from becoming suicidal in the true sense, but even so I did think about it every once in awhile.

    Well, big long post. On and on. But it is so very liberating and cool to find a forum with folks who can (finally) relate to and understand what I’m talking about.

  28. Hey I know this was like forever ago but thanks! I’m 16 and I feel under-challenged all the time at school. I’ve tried to talk to my parents but they are like then why don’t you have A+++++?? I’m good at school I know that, but I basically spend 9 hours a day feeling lonely and extremely bored, so I pay little attention to class. I never study but I’m still top two of the class, it’s just that I don’t know how much of this I’ll be able to take before I explode. What should I do?

    (Please excuse my typos, english is not my main language)

  29. Well into my 60s before I could really “discover” my giftedness (68 now). Before that I slogged at boring jobs and finally did a uni degree and graduated on my 69th year. Parenting filled the space before the study, I wanted to be a perfect parent because I had very bad ones myself! Well I think it pretty much worked as I have a gifted son and a lovely family. So now I can allow myself to follow my intellectual bent independently and find what makes me tick.
    So grateful that now this info is out there and we can all get on with our eccentricities and difference !!!
    May the others learn about us and catch up. 😉

  30. what about a person considered highly-gifted,that through wierd twists of fate ended up,at a young(pre-adolescent)age,literally living on the wrong side of the tracks?where there abilities where not ignored,but ridiculed? hilarious,huh?i lived this life,and rebelled againsf the bullying to the point of being the bully-est(?)completely gave up on school,dropped out,got in fights…lots of fights…ended up in jail…several times…and did every other thing imaginable to hide their gifts and fit in with the lowest common denominator…and now has to live with all the “what ifs” and “if onlys”? a life not wasted,but certainly not what could have been?lol-its taken me the better part of 50 yrs to come to grips with my(until now) unique situation…i didnt even know what to call it until i read this article…thanks for letting me know im not alone…but you’d think with all those large i.q.’s,you could have got this to me a little sooner…great article/post and comments…and yes!we need to get to these kids before any more of our future leaders follow in my footsteps! sorry this is so ramblingly(?)erratic,but im actually excited for once!(but still gonna keep this hidden from 95% of th world)

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