Don’t Give Up Late Bloomers!

The gifted adult: a lot going on inside

Growing up, many people with exceptional ability and multiple talents experience themselves as too different to fit in with ‘normal’ groups.

As adults, some do become the high achievers that Malcolm Gladwell writes about in his book Outliers: The Story of Success [see the post Outliers and developing exceptional abilities.]

But there are many internal barriers to prominence and achievement for gifted and talented people.

Researchers on the psychology of giftedness and gifted adults, have detailed these dynamics, and many are explored on this site, including the High Ability section.

Social reactions

“They realize they are intense, driven, and complex, but they have been taught that their strong personalities are excessive, too different from the norm, and consequently wrong,” writes Mary-Elaine Jacobsen in her book The Gifted Adult.

She adds, “In a culture that often equates different with wrong, it’s inevitable that gifted adults point a critical finger toward themselves as the source of their discontent: Why can’t I just be like everyone else? Shouldn’t I have outgrown this type of identity crisis by now? Why can’t I (overcome) this nagging sense of urgency? Will I ever feel satisfied? What’s wrong with me?”

Complex and deep thinking

Lesley Sword, Director of Gifted & Creative Services Australia, declares, “It is the combination of complex and deep thinking and rich and intense emotion that produces the gifted persons’ greater potential for high achievement.”

[From her article Psycho-social Needs: Understanding The Emotional, Intellectual and Social Uniqueness Of Growing Up Gifted. See list of articles by Lesley Sword.]

On the Gifted Adults page of her  site, she notes: “There is no magic age when giftedness disappears. Gifted children grow into gifted adults with the same unique attributes and life issues.

“However, gifted adults are rarely aware of their giftedness. Some misinterpret their complex and deep way of thinking as ‘craziness’.

“Some mistake their emotional intensity for emotional immaturity or see it as a character flaw. Because they have never been given information to explain what is “normal for gifted” they frequently experience frustration in the world, alienation, anger, self-blame and emptiness.

“Gifted people have characteristics that transcend the boundaries of age, nationality, gender and occupation.”

Some traits and qualities

Here are some of the characteristics she lists, with links I have added to related pages on this site.

* Are you a perfectionist?

* Do you have strong moral convictions?

* Do you have a passion for justice?

* Are you highly sensitive?

* Do you have passionate, intense feelings?

* Do you have a great sense of humor?

* Are you intuitive, perceptive or insightful?

* Are you fascinated by words or an avid reader?

* Do you often feel out-of-sync with others?

* Are you very curious or a good problem solver?

* Do you have a vivid imagination?

* Do you often question rules or authority?

* Do you thrive on challenge?

* Do you feel overwhelmed by many interests and abilities?

* Do you love ideas and ardent discussion?

* Do you need periods of contemplation

The Lady in the Park with Gray Hair

The lady in the park with gray hair and an old dog suggested I was lonely.  We were talking and walking and not thinking, being that we were strangers making conversation, enjoying the first warm day in Providence since October, 2008. The lady in the park was easy in her gait, baggy of clothes, calm in voice, steady and strong in a resolve, a mysterious resolve, something relating to her age which turned out to be ten years older than mine.  We were older woman together, at dusk, in a dog park. Without secrets, we struck up a conversation that turned easily to the personal. She was a retired mental health professional. She was strikingly beautiful, and we talked about beauty, the loss of youth, the loss of the beauty card. “Being beautiful was like having a credit card with a billion dollar limit.” I said. “I didn’t spend wisely, but whatever I wanted, I just threw down the beauty card and voila, there it was.”

“I got two husbands out of it, but it didn’t pay the bills. I was always falling for the tortured artist types” she said.

“We could be sitting pretty in  Greenwich, Connecticut right now” I told her. “Divorced, maybe, but with a settlement that guaranteed at the very least a classy rest home.”

“We might have killed him. You know, the banker, and be in a prison without parole  instead of a dog park.”

I have a friend whose mother was beautiful. Through the years she’s said, ” My mother was beautiful and she said it was hell.” I must remember to tell my friend that, yes, it may be hell, but it isn’t as bad as not being beautiful.”

Ah, the slimy, sloppy envy of my less beautiful friends. Even now, as I age and sag, they still give me a hard time. I must remember to dump those bitches one of these days. They come to no good. They’ll get you in the end.

Anyway. The woman in the park with the old dog suggested I was lonely and I could not comprehend the fact. I have so many friends, so much love and support in my life. I am blessed beyond measure, and yet I had to agree with her. “Shit” you’re right. “I’m lonely. Deadly lonely. I’ve found contentment with my own company but the truth is, if I never saw any of my friends again, I would not miss them”

How can this be possible???? Am I a socio-path?

Every three or four months I call the cell phone company and change my phone number, determined to disappear and not be bothered again by people who make me sick-or worse, bore me to death. Inevitably, I call them and my new number appears on their cell phone and I’m once again at risk. Recently I told everyone I know that I had moved to New York City. I have remained in Providence, but my phone rings less often, being that nobody thinks I’m in Providence. My friends in New York still think I live in Providence. Where do I live? It seems I live in my own little J.D. Salinger world, struggling to survive the idiots that circle me like vultures, wherever I relocate.

It is shocking to me, having been beautiful, that I am also brilliant. This brilliance separates me from the mass of dullards who infringe on my freedom with their mundane passions and, worse, their humanitarian faux pas. Their determination to live comfortably by denying reality. Their insistence on being lead cheerleaders for extra-small teams. Teams that have underlying rules demanding soul surrender for the sake of the herd.

There are a few exceptions. Some intelligent signs in my universe. Susan, Judith and Barnaby and Irene. Elliot. Mike and Elaine, Genia. Anne. Matt. – and now, the lady in the park with the gray hair… who has suggested that I am lonely and now my loneliness has been revealed to me, and wearing my mother’s perfume, in order to be near her, has been diluted.

I am lonely because I have not understood myself. And that will change.

Stop It!

Stop it! Stop trying! Stop the Vaudeville Monkey Dance! Stop “stooping to conquer” – it’s over, the game, the dream, the plan, the linked-in, Facebooked, You Tubed You.

The end of hope is the beginning of art. It has taken me 56 glorious failures in 56 confusing years to figure that out. Now I get it…and I get it good. If they don’t get it, you don’t want them to get it.

Kidnapped by FACEBOOK

The reason I seldom visit my blog is that Facebook has become my website, my blog, my performances, my diary, my escape – like solitaire… easy, don’t have to dress, speak, walk, type, smile. I have quit FACEBOOk several times but alway sign up again within 24 hours. My so-called friends don’t visit my blog, they visit facebook, and the talent it takes to pull them to your Facebook page with a one-liner is fascinating. I have discovered that bad news or a personal confusion encourages friends to contact you immediately with a virtual back pat and Anne Landerly advice.   I’m sorry, I am so tired tonight i can barely type. Last night, insomnia, today, locked out of apartment, dog walked into sewage/tar puddle up to his ears. Still 48 degrees at high noon, here in New England – a chilling, consistent wind slapping at us unsuspectingly, as we turn a corner away from the sun. Just awful. Bone aching spring.  Feels like my bones are separating from my muscles. what kind of illness is that? I know you may be uncomfortable joining facebook and becoming my long lost never met friend from, say, Greece or Syracuse, but until I get my addiction under control that’s where I’ll be— thinking up one-liners as swiggling worms on a hook thrown to the middle of nowhere.

Bringing back the Salon

Performance Artist

Laurel Casey

Fluxus Cabaret/First Oil Paintings

April 10th, Pratt Hill, Providence 2009

Host: Elliot Garcia, Pratt Street Townhouse, Providence RI

Pianist: Kent Hewitt

Guest Call-In: Madame

Consultant Artists: Matt Macintire, Judith Tolnick-Champa

Art Speak Bull for Grant Purposes and Ass Kissing: “I liken what I do to a life game, an adventure in absurdity, an adult fairytale in which people are engaged as much with themselves as with me. The audience decides what’s going on and what’s to be learned from the experience, if anything. Everybody is a participant. I am not sure whether my performances are art because they crucify each individual art form for the sake of the whole. They are more of a synthesis of live experience as I set up events and situations in relation to the present audience. In the case of group activities, such as painting, the act of art IS the art.” – Laurel Casey

Laurel Casey is a devotee of “FLUXUS” – an art form similar in spirit to the earlier art movement of Dada, emphasizing the concept of anti-art and taking jabs at the seriousness of art. Fluxus artists use their performances to highlight their perceived connections between everyday behavior and art. Fluxus art is often presented in “Events” or “Happenings. Laurel’s preference for Guerilla Cabaret in main stream bistros, restaurants and lounges is predicated on her belief that an audience should be “pure”- lacking instruction on how to relate to the performance. (i.e. audiences preparing to laugh at Comedy Clubs) No matter the environment, Laurel’s performances consist of a minimal instruction, opening the event to accidents and other unintended effects. Also contributing to the randomness of events is the integration of audience members into the performances, realizing Casey’s notion of the viewer completing the art work.

Marsha Tucker, New Museum of Contemporary Art