Testimonial from Julie, Mum of a happy family of zebras!

I’m not weird, I’m gifted!

I “met” Julie in a Facebook group, a zebra group 🙂
I posted an “ad”, I really wanted to complete this project of testimonies and experiences of other zebras. I think it’s really important to share our experiences and feelings, to forget that there are so many of us in France and abroad (between 2% and 5% of the population is considered high potential).

We’ve all had that feeling of being alone and misunderstood, so by sharing together and also with others it allows us to let go of guilt, and just be ourselves! To understand that this difference is a strength, not a hindrance… Because it’s difference that makes this planet so rich, in every culture, in every species… This allows us to evolve and adapt!

Like many other zebras, I recognize myself in certain parts of your testimony! Particularly the part about adolescence and high school! And it’s funny because with each new testimonial I read, I laugh and think, But so much!!!! “Like what, at the same time all different and yet also so similar!

Thank you Julie for your funny and sincere testimonial! I hope it inspires other zebras, that it helps non-zebras to understand us a little more. Thank you for this wonderful collaboration and for sharing your thoughts on the blog without us even knowing each other.

Thank you very much! 😀

Gifted, High Potential, Zebra, Gap and Difference!

I’ve always had this feeling of being “different”. As a child and teenager, people thought I was “weird” and I felt alone. I felt I was beneath everything. When I was a teenager, I put it down to a classic age-related lack of confidence.

And yet, two bells had always been ringing in my head:

– “you’re weird” which for others turned into “you’re a hyper-intelligent girl, you’ve got a heart in your hand, courage, you’re cultured, you’ve got everything going for you! …. I don’t understand why you don’t have self-confidence, it’s blocking you.”

This second interpretation seemed to jump out at many people. Close or not.

There have been times when I’ve wondered if I wasn’t just crazy.

At school, I had good results, which my teachers emphasized with the same remark: “unfortunately without effort”.

Looking back, it’s true that I wasn’t really working at the time. But I wasn’t bored. School was compulsory, so I did what I was told. I did my homework and got good results. I couldn’t see any further. I had a lot of extracurricular activities, so maybe that’s why school and my daily routine didn’t bore me.

In middle school, when I was young, strangely enough, my strangeness didn’t bother me. I was seen as different but strange. I went to a secondary school in a priority education zone, “badly attended” as some people would say, and social diversity helped me to fit in better. Everyone had their place. The best years of my schooling.

As I moved into the more “adult” world, from high school in fact, the echoes I had were a little different but not necessarily more pleasant; I was no longer “weird” but “haughty”. I didn’t understand why. As a result, my friends could and do be counted on the fingers of one hand. These are the people who have made the “first step”.


Giftedness and high school

Strangely enough, my giftedness started to cause me problems in high school.

I was severely bored. I picked up the phone. I had a lot of extracurricular activities, and I resented having to limit them because of my school schedule. Especially as I still felt completely out of step.

I quickly realized that what was covered in a 2-hour class, I could assimilate and retain on my own, in 15 minutes.
So the math was quickly done, I couldn’t claim 48-hour days and the 80% of my typical days were boring and felt like a waste of time. So I began negotiations with my father to continue my high school years by correspondence.

As an only child, a loner, and with a huge lack of confidence, the sine qua none he set me was:
You go for a check-up with a neuropsychologist to realize that you’re smart and that you’ve got everything you need to succeed, because you’re going to need confidence to pass your baccalaureate on your own.”

In my mind, I thought my dad was cool. I said to myself, “No problem, if that’s all it takes”. I felt I had won the deal!

I met this lady, who made a big impression on me. I took what turned out to be an IQ test, but what I remembered most were the discussions I had with this lady. A Holocaust survivor. I found her fascinating.

On the day of the results, I took note of my “score” and concluded “well, I’m no more stupid than anyone else, so much the better”…

Ahhh this habit of telling myself that if anyone can fail it’s me. No confidence, I tell you!

The years went by and I continued to find fault with myself. Except ONE: intelligence. I KNOW I’m not stupid! So yes, I’ll take all the flaws on Earth, but not that one!

Later, I met a man who seduced me with his repartee, his culture, the philosophical, literary, cultural and social debates he was capable of holding. FINALLY someone capable of grasping my undertones, my references, etc. What a pleasure!

We’d known each other for 48 hours, then one morning I left for work to find that he’d slipped an article on the social difficulties of gifted people into my bag before I left (I’d told him about this feeling of not fitting in anywhere, of being out of step all the time, I’d always thought “another one who’s going to tell me I’m clever, that I’ve got everything going for me but that my confidence is ruining everything”)….

As it happens, he was. But he, not lacking in confidence, knew he was “above the rest”. Difference of ego!

Life turned this man into my husband and the father of my children.

Our zebra family life
My first will be 5 next month, and I think it’s thanks to her that I’ve come to appreciate the zebra attitude and become aware of it all.

In character, it seems we’re totally identical… two born troublemakers! I question everything all the time, I’m not satisfied with one point of view or one viewpoint on a subject. I always play devil’s advocate. Which can be a pain, but at least allows me to make up MY own mind.

My big one’s the same!

At a very early age, she was doing 50/100/150-piece puzzles, even before she started nursery school. Petite section where she couldn’t wait to go, to learn lots of things…

In other words, from the very first day of school, we find a frustrated little girl who’s bored and finds the other kids “bofbof”, so she’s angry all the time.

She sleeps extremely late because existential questions never leave her:
– How does a mosquito breathe?
– How did the first man get here, since if he was the first, he needed a mom and dad? And since we’ve walked on the Moon, why don’t we go there for our next vacation? … And the list goes on!

Our first instinct was to take her to see a child psychologist. It was radical; “it’s obvious to me that your little one is zebra-striped”. and then, in the course of our discussion, she told us “above an IQ of 130, we’re talking gifted”. EUREKA !

Everything that was supposed to help us help our daughter had the first effect of making me leap forward!

I thanked my father a thousand times over (unfortunately he died shortly after I graduated from high school) because I understood that he knew, and that he hadn’t just wanted to put me in a box, but to let me make my own way. “I’ll teach you to fish, but I won’t bring you back any fish! he used to tell me!

More than a year has passed since that revelatory discussion.

After the revelation of giftedness

Since then, I’ve had a lot of doubts. What if my daughter didn’t have zebra stripes? What if I was the one passing on my anxieties and stresses to her? After all, she’s my daughter, so of course I think she’s great!

Hence my emotional reaction when we got the results of our big… We’re in the thick of it!

Did I mention hyperemotionality? The slightest thing makes me cry. Joy, anger, sadness, everything!

I think that’s where it’s most obvious is when I see someone going after what they want.a successful sportsman a sporting feat, a committed citizen who gets things done, while on the other hand, I assert myself, for example when someone passes me at the checkout, even if there’s no ensuing argument, I’m trembling and totally feverish ! ri-di-cu-le!

For my part, the revelation of my daughter’s shrink gave me wings; I felt incapable of anything.

Since then, rather than feeling incapable, I feel like I have untapped potential. And with confidence building (you get there little by little as you get to know and understand each other better), I took my driving test and got my license! (Incredible!! if only because of the Code: typically the kind of exercise where I’d like to add a “Yes but…” box)

I went back to school and started my own business! I combine everything with my family life and my children, who, like any self-respecting zebra, demand a lot of answers and patience!

So yes, I’m exhausted, yes I still feel different, but YES I’ve realized that I have a superpower in my hands, and that without using it, I won’t move forward.

And finally, my big one, detected early, will be able to be guided in the best possible way! Above all, I can help him, and I refuse to let him believe that being gifted means being unhappy! No !

I’m developing my skills and I’m bursting with ambition, and I’m counting on her taking note and using it all as an example !

And what about the others?

The others? I try to understand them, but if it’s sometimes difficult…

I put things into perspective a lot more and no longer waste time letting myself be destroyed by stares, or reflections on my apparent strangeness – after all, they too are strange in my eyes!

Julie, Paris

You can also find more information, resources and tools on Giftedness in Mel POINASbook. With a lot of humor, Mel tells the story of the discovery of her giftedness and the routines she put in place to finally find her place!

Le livre

Écrit par une HPI !
Un témoignage et des solutions concrètes pour découvrir, comprendre et apprendre à vivre en étant HPI.

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