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[personal profile] commotiocordis

A sort-of response to "An Issue in Sherlock That Annoys Me and Why", which is an essay about gifted persons and emotion, with specific reference to the eponymous character in the BBC drama "Sherlock".

This is mostly just YES THIS with a large dose of WOW MY CHILDHOOD LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT IT encased in a few giant, run-on paragraphs. 

Also, let me just get modesty and such out of the way: labeling yourself as intelligent is such a Not Done thing (made even worse by societal expectations of women, but that's another rant), and I hate comparing/being compared to other people because I will always zoom in on the way(s) that I fall short, so this entire thing is extremely uncomfortable to write.  But if I keep apologizing every time I refer to the fact that I consider myself part of this group of Super Screwed-Up Super Gifted Super Freaks, it will be even more uncomfortable to read.  So.  Blanket "blah blah, I don't mean that other people are dumb, blah blah my self-worth on good days approaches that of a rock covered in toothpaste blah blah".

Most of my thoughts right now are petulant and WHY DID NO ONE RECOGNIZE THIS KIND OF THING WHEN I WAS YOUNGER?  I mean, my parents did, a bit, because they kept me out of the Super Gifted School until it stopped being four ~freaks in a room with a teacher whose IQ was undoubtedly 50 points lower because of concerns over my emotional development.  But that didn't help.  While being locked in a room with only a few other also-not-normal kids wouldn't have been good either, you can't throw a gifted person into The Real World and expect them to just figure it out.  And as a result, I didn't get the intellectual stimulation that the special program might have provided (in later years, when I did sort of join in, it was a lot of self-directed study, which aldkjfalkj awesome, but mom says it Wasn't Good back then and she teaches at another school's gifted program so I trust her on that), and I didn't get any kind of emotional stimulation/socialization benefits because I was the freak who asked to stay in at recess to read, so I just languished.  Despite all the early childhood interventions available (there was a gifted program once a week, but it was still populated with [pretend this doesn't sound horrible] people significantly below my level, and I used to get pulled out of class to do this "social skills workshop" with a few others -- mostly kids with behavioral problems/ADHD -- hello even more ostracization), I still freak out and flap my arms and unplug my computer to escape when someone sends me a Tell on an MMORPG, and it still makes me unreasonably upset to think about all the time I wasted in (heavily augmented, admittedly, because mom would go in and be like "no, fuck this, she's been reading since she was 2, she's going to sit in the corner and read her copy of Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine while you guys work on Hop on Pop", but there was still a lot of utter boredom because there's only so much you can ask a teacher to do when she's got 20 other students) ~regular school.

One part of the OP that I liked was the discussion of the pressure for gifted people to have an emotional age congruous with their intellectual one.  A lot of times, it's just a side effect of the intellect -- you become aware of too much, too quickly.  I've been A Grown Up since I was a toddler.  I got it in my head that my family was poor (well, we were, but not to the extent that I thought we were; I think I'd assumed that since my parents tried to hide it from me, it was much worse than it appeared), and so never even brought field trip slips home for things I really wanted to do because I didn't want them to have to tell me that we couldn't afford it.  I remember my parents crying in the bedroom when my mom was having a miscarriage (which means I had to have been 5 or so), and trying to keep my brother from wandering in there because (having been reading Harrison's for fun) I knew what was happening and then felt like because I did know what was going on, it was my responsibility to shoulder that burden.  But in counter to this seeming grownupness, I was having night terrors and so many somatic complaints that I spent more time in the doctor than out and my parents were afraid I was being molested.  The words "anxiety disorder" were first bandied about when I was in preschool, and let's not even get into how screwed up I've gotten since then.

(Also, because I'm not sure it's clear, let met get this out: my parents did a flipping fantastic job, as things go.  I can't blame them at all because nobody knows how to deal with this kind of thing, and they did the best they could with the resources they had.  And we're talking RESOURCES.  I am incredibly privileged to have the parents I do; I mean, my mom was a flipping gifted program teacher most of my life, and my dad is now as well (which is brilliant and kind of makes me feel like an inspiration or some such), and both of them are definitely gifted, though they're pretty decently adjusted by now.  We're not talking Kid Of Incredible IQ born to plebeians; we're talking Kid Of Incredible IQ born to people with IQ within 2-3 sd of the norm instead of 5+.  So the communication and support barrier was not nearly as high as it could have been, thankfully, because I can't imagine how screwed up I'd be if that were the case.)

There's a lot of "damned if you do, damned if you don't" when it comes to gifted people and emotions.  

I can still tell you the names of the girls in elementary school who just abjectly hated me because I was smarter than them.  I still remember what I think was my 9th or 10th birthday party, where maybe three people came and all because their parents made them, and then ended up talking to each other most of the time while I hung back by my parents trying to pretend I wasn't upset so as not to make my parents think I wasn't grateful.

So you start to give up, you know? 

But then, I recently went to a psychiatrist appointment where the guy kept trying to push me toward answering questions that would label me with things on the paranoid schizophrenia spectrum, entirely because I don't socialize.  NO.  STOP PATHOLOGIZING DIFFERENCE.  I'm not paranoid or afraid of things outside my house, they just don't interest me.  Socialization doesn't generally interest me, and I'll admit that a lot of that is because it intimidates me because I never learned how to do it.  BUT WHAT ELSE DO YOU EXPECT?

I am the queen of cutting off my nose to spite my face.  I will refuse to go to class, refuse to check my grades, intentionally sabotage my schoolwork.  I got tired of being made to stay after class after turning in the first essay of the year to be interrogated about from where I plagiarized it because there's no way that an eleven year old writes like that.  When someone makes me upset, when I'm mad at someone else, when there's been a miscommunication, when anything, I physically take it out on myself because I've been taught that because I am different, there's a problem with me.

And I ask again: what did you expect?

And okay, this has gotten too long and I don't even know what I'm talking about anymore because I'm kind of upset now, but blah.  There it is.  I'm not sure there's any meaning or even relevance in any of this wordvomit, but have some stories about me.

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