I’m making a commitment, and I’m doing it publicly, so I feel a sense of accountability.
It may seem like a strange commitment for me to make, given that I talk and write about this topic so frequently.
It may seem like I’ve made this commitment a long time ago and so it will be redundant.
It may seem like I’ve been an imposter all these years as I’ve built my passion, my platform, and my livelihood on advocating for gifted and 2e wellness.
And yet, I know it needs to be done.
Here we go.
I, Heather Boorman, commit to speaking of Giftedness Shamelessly. I commit to being Shamelessly Gifted.
See? Seems weird. Seems like I’ve been doing this already. But, I’ve been noticing something over the past few months. Every time someone asks about my upcoming book, I hesitate to say the name. I hesitate to talk more about it. I drop eye contact, lose my eloquence, and my voice drops lower in volume and higher in octave.
Sure, some of it is imposter syndrome stuff, I suppose. It’s scary to put something out there for public consumption. But, I really think that’s only a small portion of the problem.
The bigger issue is that I’m still bogged down by Shameful Giftedness. As a gifted girl, I learned early to hide my intellect. I learned to avoid the gifted label due to the appearance of bragging or elitism. I learned that giftedness simply meant I’d get pulled out of my typical classes once a week and do more engaging activities, but really shouldn’t have any bearing on my identity. Essentially, I learned all the things I now try to advocate against.
My adult years have mostly brought me to a different understanding. I claim the giftedness as part of my identity, in all its glory and tumult. I speak on stages with ease about giftedness. I tell my own kids and the kids I work with to claim their giftedness. And yet, there’s safety in the distance provided by screens and microphones. I’m usually speaking about these things at gifted oriented events, in gifted advocacy circles, basically, to the choir. I do speak about gifted things in other venues, as well, but usually I’ve got the protection of the stage. It is professional, not personal.
Up close and personal, though, I squirm. I usually introduce myself as a therapist and avoid talking about my specialization with gifted and 2e kids. Or, I may subtly throw giftedness into the general definition of my specialization with differently wired kids. I mask it, hide it, and avoid it. Since the title of my book is The Gifted Kids Workbook. There’s no hiding my topic of interest any longer. People are going to ask, in up close and personal ways. And I have to be honest. And my passion and my societally induced shame are colliding into a socially awkward mess.
And I know I’m not alone. I regularly ask parents at gifted events how many of them have gifted kids. All the hands go up. I then ask how many of them, themselves, are gifted. Maybe a quarter of the hands go up and those hands only go up a quarter of the way as if they’re trying to hide the sweat stains under their arms.
And so, I’m making the commitment. No more eyes dropped. No more voice changes. I will be Shamelessly Gifted.
I will model what I want my kids to do.
I will speak with pride and practice what I preach.
I will talk about gifted wellness openly and assertively and if people don’t like it, well, they’re welcome to walk away.
I will step past my own discomfort and hopefully pave a smoother road for the Shamelessly Gifted people of generations to come.
How about you? Are you ready to make the commitment? Are you ready to be Shamelessly Gifted?