The realization that I didn’t think like my peers came to me quite young. I lived in a fantasy world of stories for much longer than my cohort. My imagination and ability to play like a child lasted well into my teens. The imaginings were full bodied experiences, with heightened sensual components. When I could no longer find others to engage with me in the world of imagination, I contented myself with story writing and quietly exploring scenarios in my mind, and privately within my own body.
I don’t recall my emotionality being an issue until later, but I also don’t remember a whole lot of my childhood outside the safe play spaces. Why this is I haven’t discovered yet, but I don’t have much of an impression of my parents except in the context of feeling abandoned by them when they had to leave me for any amount of time, and even more so when my feelings were dismissed or minimized. I knew I was too much, but I don’t remember this being a problem for me. In later years my family structure came to represent larger issues, but I didn’t think much of it as a young child.
I don’t recall feeling misunderstood or unseen. I was quirky – I adapted my own clothes and was at the top of my class in art and English. I didn’t fit in to any groups, but I also wasn’t marginalized by any of them. My friendships through high school were lackluster and unfulfilling. I couldn’t find anyone willing to engage in the kind of hyperfocused conversations on sensuality that I craved and what I was experiencing in my physical body that didn’t seem to fit with what others were experiencing. I was much more interested in impressing my teachers with my writing and creative capacities, and in creating fantasy scenarios that I had zero desire to experience in real life in my head that involved some of my male peers and teachers.
I knew what I had to do to pass through the levels of the social structures to which I was subject by birth, and later by choice. I knew what was expected of me, but I was thankfully distanced from the emotional aspects of heritage and tradition without being insensitive. I knew I had to understand the internal machinations of my culture in order to subvert them later on in my own way.
I was a good student. I observed, I stayed alert, and I paid attention. And later, I deeply questioned.
My energy levels were high despite really not sleeping well at all starting in adolescence. I craved movement. I felt sensual and powerful, and I desired external rhythms to help me to organize and syncopate my power. I wanted to express my sensuality through movement, but it wasn’t safe, so I stuck to aerobics and running.
I went to art school for university because nothing else was appealing at the time, and I was tired of rigid conformity. I breezed through but felt no particular sense of purpose or calling. I graduated and got jobs as a graphic designer, despite being neither good at the work, nor particularly interested. I was lucky and found a job space with a permissive boss who left me to my own devices so long as I got the job done. I used the extra time, unobserved, to discover the internet and ICQ and MSN messenger and the powerfully evocative world of online sexual dynamics that eclipsed my vision. Those spaces allowed me to exist at the intersection of my sensuality and my imagination without drawing too much attention to myself in the real world. They were incredibly fulfilling for a time.
It was always hard to make meaningful friend connections. I am extremely extroverted and outgoing, but my particular type of intensity means that depth and vulnerability are musts, and there aren’t too many of us around who relate this way.
I got married to a lovely man who was the opposite of me – he was content to let me power my way through our life. I built multiple, value-based businesses. I had three children. I found my people through motherhood – women like me who were not content with the status quo when it came to child rearing, and who craved the space to challenge social norms around birth, breastfeeding, medicalizing the natural, and long-term partnership. I found the free thinkers, the people who didn’t put so much weight on the opinions of others and who had built thick skins over time. I built and led groups for mothers and for women. The need for community and for safety became stronger when I had children and felt suddenly at deep risk because of my inability to do things that everyone else was doing.
I found dance. Motherhood, society, and a marriage space that didn’t support my sexual identity led me to burlesque, and then to pole dancing, and finally to ballet. I drew pleasure from the fine tuning of my short twitch muscle fibres, and I moved from overt sexual expression, which didn’t quite feel right, to strength based performance, to nuanced sensual flow.
After 15 years into my 20 years of marriage, with pregnancy and birth far behind me, I became aware of my deep need for co-active growth spaces. When I finally left my marriage, that need translated into a conscious pursuit, and I began an intentional process of the disintegration of my old self, replete with anxiety and panic attacks and such an overwhelming sense of purpose that I experienced my suffering in service to something much bigger than my own needs as a relief. I was supported by my experienced peers, and I came through it mostly unscathed. Through a tumultuous relationship with a much younger man, I repeatedly fractured and then pulled myself back together. I brought my much younger self out to play again, and condensed the entirety of my timeline into powerful, soul shattering moments. I blew through facets of my ego that had once served but no longer did. That relationship ended and I used the grief of another abandonment to burn away the final remnants of my outdated structure. I died, paused in the void of my nothingness, and then slowly set to work rebuilding the scaffolding that would support the frame of the next stage of my life.
In the rubble wake of my grief, I met new people – people like me. I met complex minds who could meet me from the get-go in the frame of the philosophical, the existential, the sensual, the ethereal. I saw my last hurdle, my blindfold – my external critic, and I befriended and neutralized it. I disarmed my last weapon, and I opened into softness and compassion.
I asked to be taught. I wanted to learn what I didn’t know. I wanted to be shown what I wasn’t seeing, what I hadn’t seen because I was so bent on keeping myself safe. I wanted full, unadulterated access to the exquisite pleasure of my own pain, my own truth. I wanted to live in the saudade – the grief of nostalgia and the missing of things and people that I have never experienced. I wanted the space to fill out to the very edges of my soma without the chatter of the voices that kept warning me not to get too big for my britches. I wanted to rip off those britches that others had pinned to my body and burn them for good.
And so I did. And so I was. And here I am.
Here, on the brink of my 45th birthday, I’m owning an aspect of my being that I knew but couldn’t name – I am gifted.
I am a gifted individual. I have abilities in certain areas of my being that outpace the average person. I think in metaphor. I see complex ideas where others see linear patterning. I thrive in the concept of the paradox and feel immense relief at the idea that multiple truths can co-exist. My mind never shuts off and I never stop seeking, from the moment I wake up until the moment I fall back asleep, and even in my dreams. I desire to both confirm what I know and destroy everything I think I know. I feel the competing natures of human truth on the surface of my skin. I want to live in the carefree, sensual imagination of that child I still am and revel in the untouchable nature of the wise crone I am becoming. I want to worry less about achievement and fitting in and more about fully becoming and belonging.
I want to revel nightly in the sensual and sexual world my new and forever partner and I are co-authoring. I want to find the mystical references that help us understand what is happening to us in that space and what we, mere mortals, are experiencing in our sovereign divinity.
I want to harness my complex mental powers for good, to build a career that encourages others to enact the powers of their imagination to re-relate to their personal stories and to integrate their wholeness as complex, multi-facted beings.
I want to hone my vision and my intuition, and remember that the core of who I am is untouchable, and that public opinion is just that.
I want to release my own throttle and run at top speed, and rest when I’ve exhausted my seemingly limitless energy stores. I want to discover where I max out, and know what it’s like to run out of fuel. I want to be this cheetah, uncaged, well nourished, sleek and aerodynamic.
I want to fully accept that what is divergent about me is a major asset and not the greatest liability that the social structures that I challenge by my very existence would have me believe.
Owning the gifted label means living in the full expression of my capacities as a divergent thinker and as an energetic being. It means being able to be discerning of the minds I allow myself access to, and vice versa. It means living from my essence and not from my shields. It means being boundaried but mutable, and immediately noticing any rigidities that begin to express in my soma out of a need to defend and protect myself.
It means no longer apologizing for who I am, how I think, and what I feel. But more than that, it means appreciating that others do not think, feel, express, or live as I do and that is no reflection on me. And if the word gifted rankles, if one reacts to the application of it to myself or in any other context, that is not my problem. My truth is mine, in pleasure, and in wholeness.