Really? Are you sure about that?
Look, I get it.
You aren’t the first woman to make that proclamation. And it’s not like you don’t have legitimate reasons for doing so.
You don’t have the creds—you were never identified, hold no higher education degrees, have no lofty career aspirations.
You were identified, excelled, achieved, and earned that Ph.D., but now you’re “only” a mom, volunteering at your kid’s school, serving on nonprofit boards, caring for an ailing parent, unable to find meaningful work that pays, but honestly (and a bit embarrassingly) feeling like your life has enough meaning already.
You did lousy in school—daydreamed, checked out, prioritized boys before books. Then you moved on to college and found a way to juggle time in the library with that spent on your love life, and achieved a killer GPA in the process. But that was a fluke—anyone could have done it.
As for all those opportunities that arose as you approached graduation, they were due more to luck than to any talent you possessed. Merely the right place at the right time.
You were labeled all sorts of things—shy, sensitive, a pleaser—but never smart.
And, after seeing the way smart girls were sometimes teased and made to feel unattractive, there was a part of you that was relieved. Driven by the labels bestowed, you worked diligently to mold yourself into society’s notions of what a girl should be. Alas, by the time adolescence hit, you were nearly a pro at hiding your braininess in an attempt to fit in.
Gifted women have their acts together. But you make a lot of mistakes, don’t have any direction, can’t keep a job, won’t play well with others—don’t, can’t, won’t, repeat.
Here’s the thing…
Each gifted woman—just like each gifted person, or each person for that matter—is unique. And your giftedness manifests itself in its own way. Believe me I understand the tendency to deny or keep it hidden. But, at some point, while you’re busy attributing it all to your child’s father, you may be forced to concede, “He gets it from me!”
Note 1: I know there are plenty of men who also practice denial, though I’ve heard it less often from them—or, perhaps, they’ve chosen not to share it with me. And they have reasons of their own, but that’s another post.
Note 2: I flipped a coin to determine which pronoun to use in reference to the child in this post; “he” won the coin toss, but “she” came in a close second. Feel free to read this post using either one. Goodness knows I’ve heard both!
Follow the links below for information on gifted girls and women and the traits related to giftedness in this population:
- Smart Girls in the 21st Century: Understanding Talented Girls and Women
- “The Imposter Syndrome: Feeling Like A Fraud”
- “Beautiful and Brilliant: A Lesson for our Gifted Girls”
- “Gifted Women: Identity and Expression”