Hiddengifted’s Blog

Archive for October 2009

Girls, especially gifted ones, can get very focused at times. I remember making many split-second decisions, such as the fact that I wanted a new Polly Pocket right then, that drove my mother crazy.
The year I turned 16, I needed a new pair of jeans. I decided that I was going to get my jeans, if I had to pay for them or not. My mother wanted to make me a pair, but I thought that would take too long and I’d never get my jeans. And so, every time we went to Sears or Target, I headed straight to the clothing section and looked for jeans on sale. I found them one day at Sears, and begged my mother to buy them, or let me buy them. She gave in and purchased them, and so now I had my jeans. I was happy. My focus was now shifted to something else: the upcoming rampage of schoolwork.

But you see my point. It is very easy for gifted girls to become focused, and not pay attention or listen to anything or anyone else. They know what they want, and don’t really understand why you, frankly, don’t get it. But they don’t see that as their problem. If you don’t understand, that’s your fault. The fact that it might be a bad idea is “totally irrelevant”. They know what they want. Why don’t you?

Due to the fact that they are gifted, these will be prone to asking more questions than normal girls. They probably won’t accept the fact that boys are left to the boys, and girls are expected to stay where it’s nice and safe and leave well enough alone.
They don’t get that.
So gifted girls think faster and process more quickly than normal girls. That’s okay, but you have to be ready to deal with the sudden tears, unhappiness, and questions that come with the act of realizing they might not be able to do what they want to.

Okay, so we got that part. Gifted girls think differently than other girls. All right. But why are they in particular so paranoid about their looks?

Part of- if not most of- the reason of gifted girls’ loss of confidence is again, the male- pleasing world around them. They see the images in magazines, movies and TV of skinny girls and women parading around. All they know is that they don’t look like that.
There must be something wrong.
Everything they see simply screams that thin is beautiful. If you’re not thin, they teach, You’ll never be anybody. You’ll never be beautiful, and you’ll never get a date. The pressure from the peers around them do the rest. They become obsessed with their weight, because if they weigh too much, they can’t be thin. And if they’re not thin, they’re not beautiful.
They’re basically following logic done unconsciously. A lot of their thoughts are grounded in unconscious logic, denying the fact that they’ve accepted for so long: that they’re not as smart and won’t do as well as boys. Even into the SATs, the girls do WORSE THAN BOYS because somewhere, deep inside them, there’s this voice whispering, “You can’t do it. You know you can’t.”
So it’s basically the fault of the world around them that gifted girls are insecure and sometimes delicate. Nothing can become the way it is without influence, and these girls’ influences are the people around them, what they see and what they hear. So far, the influences haven’t been good.

Imagine this: you’re stuck on an island. The only thing with you is a tape recorder that is broken and won’t shut up. It keeps repeating the same phrase: “You’re fat”. Day in and day out, after weeks of being with this stupid machine, you’d start believing it, wouldn’t you? And after that, if you ever got of the island, you’d be frightened that it might actually come true.
Welcome to the startling reality of a gifted girl. Only that message could be a billion different things. “Being smart is makes you different”, “Different things are bad”, “Thin is in! And you‘re fat.”, and a dozen different lies. And it won’t shut up. Wouldn’t you believe it, too?

By the time they’ve graduated collage, gifted young women have already decided that they’re dreams “won’t do”. If you ask why, you might receive any one of these answers:

“It would take too much.”

“It would never happen.”

“It was impossible anyway.”

“Well, I wanted to do this too. And this is way closer than that.”

Sound familiar? A lot of gifted girls somehow lose their imagination and determination between middle school and college. They find that the world doesn’t like girls who think, and thus our culture “make them see” that their dreams are “quite impossible”.
Walt Disney said something about dreams being impossible. But his quote went something like this:
“All of our dreams can be reached if we have the courage to pursue them.”
That’s what I want to do. And I want to encourage people to join me, so we can do it together.

Gifted girls can be perfectionists. I am one of those. I’m a straight-A student, I like it when my day is mostly planned out, and am terribly disappointed when something goes wrong. If I get anything less than a B or even think I’m going to flunk a test, I completely lose it. I’ve decided that school will get me to college, college will get me a degree, and a degree will get me a job.
But nobody knows the other side of me. What risks I want to take, how I want to test myself, or what I want to do- I haven‘t told almost anyone. I’m almost afraid to tell my parents, because I don’t know how they’ll react. I know the world won’t like it.

But I don’t care. I’m going to shock the world. Let it come. If not me, than someone else will. I’m going to prove that gifted girls can do things, and that the impossible can be reached.
I know, because I’m going to do it.

“Doing the impossible is kind of fun!” — Walt Disney

As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I have a dream.”
Care to join me?

Advertisements

Gifted girls have a very different way of thinking, pondering and processing information. It is unlike regular girls and both gifted and normal boys, causing educators and parents a lot of stress trying to figure out how to deal with them. Unfortunately, as the “adults” try to “fix the problem”, the girls often get the message that there’s something wrong. They don’t see it on the side of the adult, however. They see it on their side.
“If there’s something wrong, it must be me. I know I’m not perfect, but it can’t be anywhere else. It must be me.”
I’ve said this. At least, I’ve thought it. But again, and again and again!- the process of self-doubt never stops. It begins with, “There’s a problem”. It continues with “I think I’m the problem”. The third attack  consists of “What’s wrong with me? Why aren’t I right?” and it goes downhill from there.
Some girls try to explain, but no one listens. If they encourage and ignore the girl’s protests, the girl begins to worry that someone might “discover her fault”.

“Ellen had this problem. She had considerable musical talent–at a young age she had perfect pitch and played quite expertly on the piano, but she couldn’t read music. No one taught her because she already seemed to know how. When she tried to persuade adults that she couldn’t, they would actually say things to her such as, “Oh don’t be silly; of course, you can. Look at how you play!” Her desire to please increased her fear of failure and, eventually, of having her “flaw” discovered. The expectation that she should be able to do something which she had never learned to do set up her faulty, but not uncommon, logical model. Before too long, any gap in her knowledge made her feel that she was really a fraud. Not being able to read music sowed the seeds of low self-esteem, which her musical talent only intensified. People continued to expect her to perform at an extremely high level, while she herself struggled against this missing piece of musical education. Ellen came to expect extraordinary performance from herself, without having taken the steps or experiencing the freedom to learn and secure a solid musical foundation.” (Joan Franklin Smutny, Open Space Communications, Understanding Our Gifted, Winter 1999 Volume 11 No. 2 pp. 9-13)

Perhaps if an attentive adult had listened as Ellen voiced her concerns, they would have worked it out and dismissed Ellen’s worries. But as it was, nobody listened. To a gifted girl, if you don’t listen you don’t care. If you don’t care, what will it take to make you care, so you’ll listen? Girls who don’t think they’re being heard won’t shout, they’ll simply fall silent and let the world pass on without them. A sad thing indeed, for the world is slowly missing their voices because they’ve gotten tired of yelling, and become mute.
If no one listens, what’s the point?

Gifted girls are often slow to admit they are gifted. They see it as something to be ashamed of, because it makes them different from everyone else. A majority of gifted girls don’t even know they’re gifted! Those who do know choose to bury it deeply into themselves and keep it quiet, not wanting to seem any different from anyone else.
More than anything, gifted girls want to fit in. If they fit in, they always have someone to talk to, always have someone to go to, even if that person doesn’t really care. They’ll do anything to stay with the others, even if it means doing something that will get them in trouble. “As long as it keeps others around, how could it be bad?”

Gifted girls are eager to please. That’s one of the reasons that they’re so quick to hide themselves, because it doesn’t cause a row and makes a lot of people happy. They quickly put the pieces together: no smarts = no pain on the part of other people and benefit themselves greatly. They’re very big on benefiting themselves and others at the same time.
If you know a gifted girl who’s not doing well in school and doesn’t care about a lot of things, find out what’s wrong. Odds are, she’s hiding something that’s making her upset, even if she doesn’t know it. Being pouty, ignorant, or disobedient to any rule whatsoever is NOT part of the “gifted package”, ESPECIALLY with gifted girls. If they can do it, they’ll get it done, unless there’s something wrong. If there’s something wrong, they’ll avoid as much work as possible, including talking to others and actual work.

If there’s something wrong, someone should take notice, because girls don’t get down for no reason at all. There has to be a reason. Maybe it’s that her pet died the other day. Perhaps she missed an event she had her heart set on going to, and it didn’t happen. Maybe she feels ignored. Take time to find out what‘s wrong, and comfort the student, daughter or friend. Help her out. She won’t forget your kindness.

“Girls often face a range of social pressures in schools, causing them to shift priorities… in school, the desire for friends, a disinclination to stand out, fear of ridicule, along with the need for acceptance, often impel gifted girls to make their abilities appear ordinary or even nonexistent. One parent observed: ‘My daughter has become very, very shy and doesn’t want to stand out in any way. As a result, she’s reluctant to express information that would indicate that she knows anything beyond what’s asked of her.’” (Joan Franklin Smutny, Open Space Communications, Understanding Our Gifted, Winter 1999 Volume 11 No. 2 pp. 9-13)

For some gifted girls, a one-on-one tutorship with the teacher may be just what they need. In a room with only the student and teacher, a gifted girl may be more open to asking questions. If her friends are around, she might otherwise get teased for “being smart”.
Try giving gifted students some time to be creative in their classes. If they have the chance to do their own thing, they’ll be much more interested in the class itself. Besides, if there’s a dozen different ways to learn the same idea, you’ll reach all of the different learning forms.
Each student has their own, unique style that they like to input information. Usually, they can be put into three different categories: Auditory Learners, Visual Learners, and Kinesthetic Learners. Simply put, they learn by listening, watching, or doing. All of these can be challenges to suffice, but each student will get more out of their classes, and connect better with the subjects.

Recently there was an act passed through Congress, called the No Child Left Behind Act. The No Child Left Behind Act determines that the schools should teach towards the intelligence levels of their “low performing” students. An article in the Washington Post put it this way:

“These parents are fleeing public schools not only because, as documented by a recent University of Chicago study, the act pushes teachers to ignore high-ability students through its exclusive focus on bringing students to minimum proficiency. Worse than this benign neglect, No Child forces a fundamental educational approach so inappropriate for high-ability students that it destroys their interest in learning, as school becomes an endless chain of basic lessons aimed at low-performing students.”

Isn’t that lovely?

TIP: Students often talk among themselves about their teachers. They gripe and moan, but they also rave. Can you imagine being the teacher that everyone wants to get?

More than anything, gifted girls just want someone to understand. They want someone who will see the person they’re hiding and do whatever they can to bring the hidden identity to the light and make them feel okay. They want to feel special and secure, not out floating on air, by themselves, alone.
Alone.
It’s not a happy word, is it?
Many, many girls know the feeling. The one that steals over them like dread, that whispers lies about who they are. The venomous monster who laughs at their futile efforts to be themselves in a world where no one seems to care.
Ah, yes. I remember it well. I’ve been there. I’m home schooled, so it hasn’t been as bad as some students. But I’ve had my days, where I’ve burrowed so deep into myself that I can’t see the affection given to me. When someone spoke to me, it felt like they were throwing me a bone, that they were doing me a favor just by looking at me. I was tired and fatigued with the world, and wanted to sleep away the days, months, years.
I hated it so much!
It felt like prison. I don’t want anyone else to go there, or feel the way I did. It’s not necessary, and it can be avoided. But it requires careful attention on the part of the adults, and the friends of any gifted girl. When they get into a rut like that, all one can do is build them up again, until they feel all right with themselves again.
Just love them. Be there for them. Sooner or later- it may be years, but they will- they’ll pull through.

Girls often look up to older girls or women as role examples, and try to be like them. Perhaps it’s someone they’re close to, maybe it’s someone they’ve heard a lot about. They might go to this person for advice, or when it’s time to split up into different groups, go directly toward this person.
I remember trying to find someone to do this for me, and I ended up bouncing around from person to person until I didn’t need one at all. Of course, I look up to my parents and other people, but I don’t have just one “someone” that I rely on for everything. Some girls, like me, gave up on finding one solitary person because no one that we found “worked out”.

So there are a lot of things that gifted girls need. They’re very different from normal girls in the way they think, act and the ideas they have about the world. They have a strong feel for how things should be, but when people don’t listen, they break down and hide. They are very focused, and when they think that no one notices them or their feelings, they get very upset. That’s why a number of gifted girls cannot be found in the schools anymore. They mirror the girls around them, and become normal.
Another thing that people don’t often see: gifted girls are incredibly perceptive. The only thing they don’t notice is that it’s okay to be who they are, or feel the amount of encouragement. Instead, they slide into the ways of the world and cheer on the boys and men as they play the game of life. They are very fragile, and need to be built up perpetually to remind them how special they are compared to the other girls and boys out there.

These are only some of the needs of a gifted girl.



  • None
  • cherokeebydesign: I suppose I was the smart one in high school and then again in college......it's not all that fun being labeled as "the smart one" in school. Raven
  • cherokeebydesign: There's nothing wrong with having a life that is planned, and there's nothing wrong with wanting perfection. I use to be that way....until I started

Categories