Today, Sophie Baron gives us her vision of giftedness through the “gifted interview” and thus continues my new series to share on Giftedness. Thank you, Sophie! She is currently in a professional transition to becoming a filmmaker (documentaries, films, …) and lives between Singapore and Taipei (ROC).
.IF I COULD CHOOSE, WOULD I STILL BE GIFTED?
Yes, without any doubt.
.WHAT (MY OWN) GIFTEDNESS MEANS TO ME
It is the promise of complex life, rich in colours and challenges.
.IF I HAD TO CHOOSE AN IMAGE OR A KEYWORD THAT SUMS UP WHAT GIFTEDNESS MEANS
One word (often used in the Gifted ‘language’): intensity.
.HOW LONG HAVE I KNOWN ABOUT IT?
For two and a half years. I was 27 years old.
.WHAT PHASES HAVE I GONE THROUGH SINCE MY DISCOVERY?
It was an experience similar to mourning. There was rage, denial, questioning, tears, and then acceptance. The anger phase was particularly virulent because my parents had actually known that I was gifted since I was 8 years old, but they chose to keep it to themselves. At the time, I resented them so much… They wanted to make me a ‘normal’ person when I wasn’t, and it was not without consequences.
However, once the acceptance phase was over, there was a lot of joy. What a joy to finally have a better knowledge of oneself, and what a joy to learn that one is not that stupid!
.HOW DO I EXPLAIN IT TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER HEARD OF IT?
I would say that to be gifted is to have a brain functioning different from most individuals, and consequently, a slightly different reality, where everything is intensified, sublimated. And that not being aware of one’s giftedness can be, in some cases, a source of great suffering, because one feels a bit like an alien, without knowing why.
.THE REMARK WHICH BLEW ME AWAY MOST WHEN I TALKED ABOUT IT
A psychiatrist, whom I saw in order to be reassured after my discovery: “I don’t know what giftedness is, I’m a doctor and what I see is that you have signs of a manic phase of a bipolar disorder” or something like that (very reassuring, isn’t it?).
.HOW IT CHANGED MY LIFE (TO KNOW IT)
Understanding it changed EVERYTHING. I was 27 years old and at that time I had a lot of difficulty understanding who I was, finding my place, knowing what I wanted. And I didn’t really love myself. I had a tendency to “self-sabotage”. All this made me feel very insecure. The discovery was brutal but necessary. Since then, I’ve become more lucid, more mature, and I feel like I’ve regained control of my life. In fact, I am much happier, quite simply.
.WHAT I HAVE ALLOWED MYSELF TO DO EVER SINCE
I allow myself to finally live my life the way I want, by gradually detaching myself from everyone’s expectations (it’s not easy!). Today, I’m 29 years old and I’m working on an independent documentary project in Taiwan, alone and without experience. It’s a bit crazy, but I feel free and incredibly alive… I would never have found the courage to embark on such an adventure before.
I also allow myself to be kind to myself, which was quite rare in the past
.WHAT IT CREATES TO OTHERS WHEN I TALK ABOUT IT
All in all, it arouses curiosity, and benevolence as well. Apart from one or two exceptions, I’ve always had very nice exchanges on this subject.
.WHAT IRRITATES ME WITH GIFTEDNESS
What annoys me about being gifted is that some ADHD tendencies, coupled with excessive perfectionism, sometimes make everything complicated and we fail to get to the point. Or we procrastinate…
.WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO EMPHASIZE ABOUT GIFTEDNESS
The beauty of difference. To be gifted is to be different, which should be valued. Unfortunately in France, we are not there yet (and this applies to difference in all its forms).
.WHAT I PERSONALLY FIND TO BE THE MOST DIFFICULT
In my opinion, it is to find people who can understand and even share my vision of life and my intensity. Sometimes you can feel very lonely, but you learn to live with it and get something positive out of it.
.WHAT I PERSONALLY LOVE
The ability to marvel and keep a child’s soul…
.MY SURVIVAL AND REBOUND STRATEGIES
I don’t know if I can talk about ‘strategies’. I have a crazy desire to live that gives me a lot of strength and makes me move forward despite the obstacles. And I also have a lot of love, from my family and friends. This thirst for life and the people around me forms the basis of my resilience.
.A (MIS)REPRESENTATION THAT I WANT TO CALL INTO QUESTION
What annoys me about giftedness is, on the one hand, the tearful “I’m gifted, I’m a victim, poor me, it is awful” side of it that some people adhere to, and on the other hand, the unbearable clichés that stick to the subject, like “a gifted person is a super-strong little math genius”. This has to stop…
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO GIFTED PEOPLE
I want to tell them they’re not alone. I also want to tell them: trust yourself, and above all, cherish your intensity, let it express itself, and marvel, always!
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT CONCERNED
Be caring, be tolerant, be attentive!
.WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND TO SOMEONE WHO IS WONDERING
I recommend putting some money aside, finding a good psychologist who knows about giftedness (good luck!), and taking the IQ test. It’s worth it…
.THE MISTAKE NOT TO MAKE FOR A GIFTED PERSON
To not listen to yourself. Not living in accordance with one’s values. Of course, this concerns everyone, gifted or not, but it seems to me that for a gifted person it can be the cause of nameless suffering.
.MY PROFESSIONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
I don’t think I can be of good advice on this level, given my chaotic background! I tend to be a bit extreme. Anyway, I know it’s easy to say but, don’t betray who you are and your values for a job, it’s not worth it. Listen to yourself.
.MY PERSONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
Never forget to put yourself in other people’s shoes, be patient, and remain humble!
.A BOOK TO READ ON THE SUBJECT
You have to be careful with the literature that deals with the subject because there are many books published by obscure authors who claim to be experts but who are in fact real charlatans… I think a good method is to get a book of a scientific nature and another from the field of clinical psychology.
.MY OPINION ABOUT THE IQ (INTELLIGENCE QUOTIENT) WAIS (WECHSLER ADULT INTELLIGENCE SCALE) TEST
It should be taken with a lot of distance, keeping in mind that it is very imperfect; this being the case, it remains a good tool for better self-knowledge, if used wisely and with the right professional. The person who administers the test and who will interpret the results is decisive.
.IS IT A WASTE NOT TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE GIFTED?
I think it depends. Some gifted people would ignore their giftedness and yet be happy. I know some people that I think are gifted, but who have never taken an IQ test and who are not particularly interested in the subject. They are people who are comfortable, bright, confident, who have accepted and valued their intensity, their thirst for learning and their desire to live. It seems to me that for them, learning that they are gifted would not make much difference. I think it’s mostly a waste for those who have little or no self-esteem and have a distorted view of themselves, which makes them unhappy
.WHEN I MEET ANOTHER GIFTED PERSON, DO I RECOGNIZE HIM.HER? BY WHAT?
I would say by his speed of reasoning on the one hand and by his capacity to question, to want to understand, to marvel on the other hand. And then they are often great personalities, anti-conformists, with unusual backgrounds and a sense of humour… out of the ordinary!
.WHAT DO GIFTED PEOPLE HAVE IN COMMON?
Their infinite curiosity and their quest for meaning.
.THE CRUCIAL STEPS NOT TO BE MISSED IN THE JOURNEY OF A GIFTED PERSON?
When we learn that we are gifted, our view on the world and on ourselves changes, sometimes radically. This new reality can be very disconcerting. You have to take care of yourself, even if it means being a little selfish. You have to be kind to yourself, and take the necessary time to accept this unique way of functioning, to continue on your path with the ‘“right” shoes.
.THE LAST THING I LEARNED ON THE SUBJECT (THAT I’D LIKE TO SHARE)
I’m going to disappoint you but I don’t have an interesting answer to this interesting question! I am patiently waiting for the latest publications of our friends the neuroscientists… In 2020 the brain remains a mystery…
.AN INSPIRATION FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY ABOUT GIFTEDNESS
It’s not really about giftedness but about multi-potentiality. It is a TedTalk by Emilie Wapnick.
.A WISH FOR THE FUTURE
That the topic of giftedness unites rather than divides, especially in our great country…
.A HUNCH ON THE SUBJECT
Skywalkers are all gifted.
.THE QUESTION THAT I WAS MISSING BUT THAT I WOULD LIKE TO ANSWER?
If giftedness was a piece of music, which one would it be?
Piotr Llitch Tchaikov’s Violin Concerto in D major, op35.