Today, Virginie Recoura gives us her vision of giftedness through the Gifted interview. Thank you, Virginie! She is an Eco-design Technical Director in the packaging circular economy as well as the National Media Relations Delegate for MENSA and a member of ANPEIP (National Association for Intellectually Precocious Children) and mother of 2 little Gifted (5 and 8 years old). Virginie currently lives in Paris.
.IF I COULD CHOOSE, WOULD I STILL BE GIFTED?
The question does not arise because giftedness is an integral part of my life. It is my “normality” and it is a physiological characteristic above all. So I wouldn’t want to change anything about who I am.
.WHAT (MY OWN) GIFTEDNESS MEANS TO ME
Being committed and passionate while being pragmatic and lucid about the world around us. That’s the paradox.
But above all, in reality, a gifted person feels normal on a daily basis, we don’t say that enough. Everything is a bit exaggerated, that’s all, and as simple as that.
.IF I HAD TO CHOOSE AN IMAGE OR A KEYWORD THAT SUMS UP WHAT GIFTEDNESS MEANS
To be gifted is to be passionate.
.HOW LONG HAVE I KNOWN ABOUT IT?
Since June 2020 officially, following the WAIS-IV test.
I first discovered that my eldest daughter was Gifted following problems of harassment that occurred very early on at school, in Kindergarden. I took her to see a neuropsychologist to get some insight into the difficulties she was experiencing. She who brought up the subject of giftedness and suggested to test her. I was not at all familiar with the subject, I was afraid at the time of having a gifted child…
During the assessment, the neuropsychologist noted in the report: “let us note a Gifted profile in the mother”. I didn’t expect this, I had come for my daughter… It was an emotional tsunami.
I later found out that I had been tested by an educational psychologist as a child because I had learned to read on my own. I only recently discovered this. At that time, there wasn’t as much knowledge about gifted children as there is now. So I was just told that I was smart and that was it. I was very adapted to the school system, athletic. The kind of little girl who didn’t cause any problems. I kind of forgot myself in the story, wanting to fit in with what was expected of me.
.WHAT PHASES HAVE I GONE THROUGH SINCE MY DISCOVERY?
First of all there was a phase of denial, I was not sure of the truth of the test. Yet I had been warned…
Then followed a phase of discovery of Giftedness and of my own personality.
Then came a phase of acceptance, then a phase of detachment. It is as much a part of who I am as my height or other characteristics. I have also taken a step back from it. Giftedness is an opportunity and it is essential for me to know this.
.HOW DO I EXPLAIN IT TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER HEARD OF IT?
I only explain it to them if I feel they are listening, otherwise what’s the point?
It’s not the kind of subject you can talk about like that. You need a certain connection with the person. If the connection is there, things happen naturally.
.THE REMARK WHICH BLEW ME AWAY MOST WHEN I TALKED ABOUT IT
In fact, there is something incredible that has been happening since my discovery. Things are happening naturally. I finally feel aligned. And when I talk about it with people close to me, they say, well yes, we knew you were gifted. You manage to do a lot of things in complex and unrelated areas. I was therefore astonished to see how people around me could perceive something exceptional in my daily life that seemed quite normal to me…
.WHAT I HAVE ALLOWED MYSELF TO DO EVER SINCE
I allowed myself to go back to school in my forties and I have just finished a Masters at Sciences Po Paris. I am more involved in what makes sense to me. And above all, I no longer burden myself with useless relationships. Since then, I’ve never had so many friends.
I also really enjoy laughing and offbeat humour.
BEING SERIOUS WITHOUT TAKING MYSELF SERIOUSLY.
.WHAT IT CREATES TO OTHERS WHEN I TALK ABOUT IT
For those close to me, nothing has changed. I talk about it very openly now and I’m quite happy to do so. Afterward, I don’t see the point of talking about it spontaneously if the discussion doesn’t lend itself to it.
As a result, when I have talked about it, it has only been with people who are very intelligent in their relationships (whether they are gifted or not). I would like us to stop creating a gap between two worlds that exist only in the imagination of people with problems. Gifted people are like everyone else with different abilities.
But this does not mean that there is a border between the two worlds. We all need rich social relationships.
.WHAT IRRITATES ME WITH GIFTEDNESS
Generally speaking, I think it’s really lucky. But sometimes I wish I could settle for less. I have this incessant need to discover, to learn new things. It’s sometimes a bit tiring I admit.
But knowing this helps to channel this vital urge for discovery.
I can’t stand the way some media take over the subject without digging deeper. No, you are not “diagnosed” as Gifted. It is not a disease. A professional “detects” Giftedness by tests calibrated according to a Gaussian curve. So no, there are no more or less Gifted people than before, there is about 2% of the population that is Gifted.
This is why I decided to volunteer with MENSA as the National Media Relations Officer. To be able to work for a better knowledge of the subject among the general public.
.WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO EMPHASIZE ABOUT GIFTEDNESS
I would like any parent who has questions about their child or any adult who feels concerned to dare to take the test. There are also a good number of women who do not dare to admit it. In the spirit of sisterhood, I would like to tell them that if they have doubts, it is normal, but you have to dare to take the test!
I am open to discussion on the subject.
.WHAT I PERSONALLY FIND TO BE THE MOST DIFFICULT
Annoying and/or too simple tasks. I feel like a fool with basic instructions… because they seem really simplistic…
.WHAT I PERSONALLY LOVE
The excitement of understanding something complex. The ease with which I can “automate” certain tasks in my daily life. Always with the aim of simplifying my life. My joie de vivre and intellectual curiosity.
.MY WELLBEING TOOL OR PRACTICE THAT HELPS ME MOST
The right balance of everything. A balance between sport, intellectual nourishment, the need to connect with others, but also being able to have moments when I am alone.
.A MISREPRESENTATION THAT I WANT TO CALL INTO QUESTION
That gifted people are necessarily boring, not fun. The proof is my second daughter who is also Gifted and very advanced (she learned to read on her own at 3 years and 8 months). She doesn’t spend a day without laughing out loud and making puns. She is surrounded by lots of friends and is very cheerful. We are far from the cliché of the tortured little genius.
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO GIFTED PEOPLE
Everything is fine, if not, get help! Or let’s have a coffee.
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT CONCERNED
Everything is fine too, thank God you are here! I also learn a lot from others, so fortunately it’s not just about Gifted people. There is no absolute boundary between two worlds. Diversity is what makes our world rich.
.WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND TO SOMEONE WHO IS WONDERING
That they dare to talk about it. No, this is not taboo.
.THE MISTAKE NOT TO MAKE FOR A GIFTED PERSON
Wanting to control everything, being constantly over-adapted. Adapt, yes, but not over-adapt. And this applies from childhood onwards. And even more so for girls.
.MY PROFESSIONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
The professional environment is the most important thing, not only the tasks of the job.
.MY PERSONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
The same advice as for everyone else: dialogue, listening, and respect. Knowing how to surround yourself with the right people is the key to success.
.A BOOK TO READ ON THE SUBJECT
A book that does not yet exist…. I may be a bit harsh. But there are books about Giftedness, books for the general public (with a Barnum effect), books that are a little more scientific, rare (but which can be too specific). But there is no book that accompanies the discovery of Giftedness step by step and allows for particular attention to the scientific and emotional aspects in parallel. Who’s going for it?
.MY OPINION ABOUT THE IQ WAIS TEST
It could be more precise on some items or subtests. Furthermore, it does not measure interpersonal skills, which is a key element for being fulfilled. However, it is the only test for adults that is sufficiently reliable to give an indication of whether or not an individual is Gifted. I am lucky enough to have a fairly homogeneous verbal and logical-mathematical profile. The limits of this test are especially for very heterogeneous profiles that may be more doubtful. It is therefore very important to find a professional who really knows the subject well and who is able to detect potentially associated disorders. It is proven that Giftedness can mask certain Dys, and ADHD disorders… because Giftedness will compensate. But at what cost!
.IS IT A WASTE NOT TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE GIFTED?
Yes, clearly, because this is what can lead to discrepancies. Afterward, you have to know how to move on and simply integrate it. Since I know this, I’m less aggressive when someone seems not to understand me. It doesn’t matter, you can’t be understood and loved by everyone.
.WHEN I MEET ANOTHER GIFTED PERSON, DO I RECOGNIZE HIM.HER? BY WHAT?
Often, but honestly, I always recommend that the person goes for a test. Priscille Mahé is one of those people!
.WHAT DO GIFTED PEOPLE HAVE IN COMMON?
Mensa … an association of 4000 members in France (and more than 145 000 members worldwide!).
More seriously, each Gifted person is unique.
.THE LAST THING I LEARNED ON THE SUBJECT (THAT I’D LIKE TO SHARE)
That there are some very dumb Gifted people! Or rather that Giftedness is not a guarantee of kindness and respect for others.
.A WISH FOR THE FUTURE
That it be talked about more and that it be accepted. Without fascination, without demonisation.
Gifted People are like everyone else, with their strengths and weaknesses. For my part, I advocate the values of sharing, mutual aid, and benevolence. This may sound a bit utopian, but some of us share these values.
.A HUNCH ON THE SUBJECT
I have met some wonderful people in the national education system.
I wish we could talk more about it in school. I think there are people who are really committed to the subject. It’s from childhood onwards that the subject should be properly addressed…
And no, you don’t give a test score to a gifted child. They are not equipped to understand this. We explain to him his difference and his particularities so that he can be integrated into normal schools with possible adjustments.