Here's a fact most people here don't know about me: I'm what most people refer to as "highly gifted." It's not something I always like to mention, but I thought I would write a myTake about it. When most people think of highly intelligent people, after you think of the scientists like Einstein or Stephen Hawkings, their minds drift to characters like Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory. While I'm sure some highly intelligent people are autistic and asexual geniuses, from what I've experienced, that's not an accurate representation of life with high intelligence, and I thought I would elaborate a few things
1. Things you think are obvious, are almost never are.
I'm sure we can all agree that the sky is blue. That's pretty obvious, right? Now, imagine that you came across people in everyday life, who didn't know the sky was blue. You'd be pretty frustrated, because it's insanely obvious to you and you can't see how it wouldn't be obvious. I experience that all the time. I had to give a presentation on pulsars to a group of my peers, and I had my sister review it. After the third time I had to explain what I viewed as incredibly obvious, I was ready to trash the presentation, because I didn't know if I could explain anything else without going insane. I love explaining things, if I know it's a concept that's not obvious, but if it's something I can't understand not understanding, I don't know what to do. On a similar note...
2. You learn things before your peers.
While that itself is not a bad thing, you naturally want to talk about what you've learned. I don't know about you, but I didn't find it very easy to try and explain 4 dimensions (space-time) to friends in 5th grade, or string theory with 11 dimensions in 9th. I find both concepts, especially space-time, incredibly easy to grasp, so I have a hard time understanding why people don't understand it.
3. We have some common issues, both mental and physical.
Studies, and my own personal experience, have shown that those that are highly intelligent are more likely to suffer from certain mental illnesses. Depression, specifically existential depression, is a big one, as is anxiety, especially OCD, GAD, or a phobia. I myself have arachnaphobia (plus certain insects), and not a mild case either, I've had complete meltdowns over a cockroach. We also are more likely to have sensory processing issues, from my experience, and I've noticed quite a few of us have forms of synesthesia. I associate colors with weekdays, and my friend, colors with shapes, which is cool; I've also made a bet that there's a connection between synthestesia and sensory processing issues with one of my neuroscience buddies from camp. We also, for some reason, have an inability to open packaging. Those things Moon Pies come in? I have to get other people to open them. Want to eat a banana? I literally have to find someone to open it for me. I want crisps? Well, off to find a friend!
4. You feel bad talking about your intelligence.
You probably find that surprising, but it's true. I swim, and I've noticed that everyone seems really comfortable talking about how good their child is doing in sports, and bragging about how good a child is at whatever sport they do, and if someone mentions their child is gifted at a sport no one bats an eyelid. My mom talks to the other moms about me, and sometimes mentions things, like when I went to CTY (Center for Talented Youth) at Johns Hopkins over the summer, and will sometimes say I'm gifted.
The other parents always try and bring us, me specifically, down by saying things later on like "my son is intelligent, but I wouldn't say he's gifted" or "so and so got an A in this class, is she gifted?" It makes me feel really bad and worthless because adults are trying to make me feel bad about being gifted, so I don't talk about it if I don't have to. It probably doesn't help that...
5. You constantly doubt that you're gifted.
Might be another shocker, but we almost constantly doubt we're gifted or special in any way. To us, we're normal. We've been this way all our life. It's nothing different to us, it's not likely suddenly a switch flips and we become highly intelligent, we've always been like that and don't know anything different. I took the SAT in 7th grade and got a 1850, with a 700 on the English and 630 on Math, which I thought, and to an extent, still think, is a low score, even if I remind myself that I was just finishing pre-algebra when I went to take the test. Even if I agree that the score was ok, I sometimes think it might have been a fluke or a mistake, even though I took a second test, the SCAT, and got placed in the same scoring percentile. On a similar note....
6. People who don't know you think you're stupid or mentally disabled.
We act a bit differently, so I don't exactly blame them. I've seen some of us throw a fit in the middle of a classroom because they can't understand a difficultly-worded problem, in the same manner an autistic child would throw a fit. One of my buddies, who was fifteen when I met him but now eighteen, is going off to Harvard to study biochemistry with a full ride, got a 2400 on the SAT, and is a musical genius on both the violin and piano, is a big, quiet guy who I still remember watching cry because someone kicked over his violin case (people were NOT nice to him in 9th grade, I remember that) and honestly, most of us a quiet, get frustruated easily, and listen to (in my experience) metal, punk and many of punk's subgenres (grindcore especially.)
When I was in preschool the teachers thought I had a speech defect, which turned out to be a combination of me speaking with my dad's accent and refusing to speak to most of the kids because we simply did not get along. I still don't get along with most of them, being incredibly sarcastic and sharp-witted, but I do have a number of good friends now.
7. People expect us to be perfect.
That's something I don't get. We're human too, and all humans make mistakes. Sure, we're good in the intelligence department, but everyone's good at something, whether it be sports, theatre, social situations, or dance, what difference does it make? People react so badly to me messing up I don't open up to people, or admit I'm haveing a problem with something, and it's a problem. We're not infallible. Everyone is, to some degree, broken, but we get overlooked and we have feelings too. I'm afraid of losing those I love, I'm struggling with guilt and anger after a suicide attempt by a close friend, and still carry the sadness from the lose of loved one previously. We're not Vulcans, for God's sake. Everyone seems to think the intelligence makes it so that you can *have it all* and when we don't, people look down on us.
Despite all of this, being highly intelligent is both a blessing and a curse, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I enjoy being able to pick up new material easier, and understand sophisticated topics more easily than the average joe, and the positives definitly outweigh the negatives.