Closed doors and the normal as key

It has been a little quiet here for a while. This is because my focus has been directed elsewhere.

It started with someone who said, “Vera, don’t stand here, you belong in the room over there, on the other side of the heavy oak door. You have been ready for that a long time and now it’s time to go in there”. What I know about room has been enticing and I have long been curious about how it would feel like being there. Much more was not needed to wake up the desire to go there.

The fact is, I have knocked on that door repeatedly without being let in, and then the concierge has said “if you just change this and that, you’ll get in.” Previously, I tried to change everything that seemed necessary.

Now, with the encouragement and support of others, with more personal experience and maturity, I was ready to make sure to get into the room. I started knocking politely and explained my intention when the concierge opened the door a bit. He shook his head, repeated all I had to change, and pulled the door again, but I was faster and got my foot between. Yeah that hurt, when my foot got squeezed. Then I tried to pull the door up, pushing me in, bump me past him. And I was doing it for a long time. But I did not come in.

I ended up crying on the floor in front of the closed door. Again.

Not at the price of denying myself
I did not want to make me normal to pass the door. Like it is possible to make yourself “normal”. Instead, I tried to push myself in this time, even though the concierge showed that only those who belong to the norm got round. Maybe you have experienced that too? That those who belong to the norm are let in to places you wished for, but not you.

One thing I discovered there on the floor, was that I’ve got used to being myself. As I am. Why would I squeeze myself into a standard template to enter that particular door? If there is a room where only normal fits maybe I should not be there? Or mabye that’s exactly what I should do? I do not usually give up, but it’s stupid to hit the head in the same wall too many times. So if or when I want to get into that room again, I might climb through the windows, finding a maple door or blasting holes in any wall.

There is a lot of here where I am
When I had taken care of my wounds for a while, I turned my back on the door. And with the back leaning towards the closed door, the perspective became different. I saw, the light from the high windows, the dust that danced in the sun rays, the shadow game over the parquet floor. I heard the voices from people I like and the stories who are gathered in this room. A room where I can be, without a requirement to fit into a standard template. Here are also more doors leading to other rooms.

In a Ted talk, illustrator Safwat Saleem describes how it is when you are not the norm people expect to get. How others have difficulty accepting, what is beyond the norm. That’s precisely why our voices need to be heard. For all of us to get used to, that other than the norm exists. I was both comforted and encouraged by the youtube clip. Listen!

So I gave you a break for a few months. It was not planned (I just made a lot of noise elsewhere) but I hope the break may have given you something. Time for reflection. Time for new acquaintances.

I’ve still got wounds to take care of, but I have planned for new episodes. My hope is that it will not be as long a break again, but I promise nothing. The healing may take the time it takes.

Until we meet next time – take care!
Vera

Link to inspirational, comforting and uplifting clips:
Safwat Saleem: Why I keep talking up, even when people mock my accent

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The principal’s speech to all truants

Dear nonattenders,
You are one of over 12,000 with repeated invalid school absence in Sweden. One of the truants, one of the candidates for the school’s award of bravery. I’m glad to pay attention to you today at the end of the school year. Pay attention to how you struggled during the year.

From the school’s management we want to give you this diploma “To you who fought the past year without visible results. To you who stood alone in school, in an overwhelming situation, and done as well as you could. To you who did not experience any other opportunity and therefore became a nonattender”.

The reason for your invalid absence is not important today. It’s only important when we’re going to work to find ways forward for you. Perhaps you are not entirely aware of the reason. But you have felt the anxiety in the evenings or known the stomach on everyday mornings. Known how it gets harder to breathe for each step you come closer to school. Or the migraine struck down already on the first lesson. You have tried to nerve yourself for what you know will happen. Harassment, or exclusion, or meaninglessness, or what is part of your normal school day.

Leave the diploma to you
Since I will not meet you here in the auditorium today I wonder if I may get past your home or if you prefer meeting in another place, the library or a cafe? Then I want to pass the diploma to you.

I also want to show that I see you. You are more than just a name of one of the school’s nonattenders. I have understood that truants are commonly accusing themselves of the situation. Think that you’re amiss, because you don’t get to school and stay there as the other students do. That accusation I want to lift off your shoulders, and say that I and my colleagues have failed to do what we should have done. We have failed to implement the changes you would have needed at school. And for you, maybe we would have had to ask for help from outside the school too.

I want to promise you a safe and meaningful school to come back to. Promise you to stop the bullies from harassing you, whatever it takes to make it real. Promise you to provide the adjustments you need in the surroundings or when it comes to speed of learning and level of difficulty.

When we have shaken hands, this school year is complete for your part. Do not care about opening the rating. Instead, hold the diploma high!

Then leave the school mentally. Do not think about it anymore. Or maybe you ought to be really mad or mourn. Be angry and sorry for all the good things at school you have not received. The comradeship among schoolmates, new knowledge, shared experiences and rewarding relationships with teachers.

To teachers who see and show that you care – thank you!
There is a teacher I want to thank, who managed to reach a truant like me. It is Ingemar Johansson. History teacher at De la Gardie School. Probably he has no idea what significance he had for me. I never told him. Even though I had high score on the exams, he showed that he saw me and my absenteeism. He showed that he cared for more than my achievements. He showed that he cared whether I was in class or not. Hopefully you will meet an Ingemar in the future, who can show by little means that he cares about you being in school!

The conspiracy about the importance of the rating for life satisfaction
Before I leave, I will disclose a secret that all school principals know, but cannot say. There are completely other things than the final grades in elementary school and high school that determine what life you can live. The straight roads, those with good grades, are perhaps the fastest, but there are always roads to where you want to reach. Don’t let one or more wretched school years stop you from reaching your dreams, whether it’s to be a technical physicist, a stylist, a horseman or a game designer.

With the wish for a good summer!
I wish you a benignant summer. Because the school is anchored in science, you’ll get an advice from scientific research. In order to have a salutary summer and be able to feel good you need:

  1. Something that brings joy
  2. Physical activity
  3. Be in touch with others
  4. A certain amount of effort

And you need all the parts every day.

The easiest variant: Look at cute cat photos on Instagram. Take a lap around the block. Write a chat message to anyone in the world you like. Solve a sudoku. Abracadabra. So you have scientifically created feel-goo-opportunities. Your feel-good-day variation lets you compose in a way that suits you. With all four ingredients.

Shrink the reality and dream unlimited
In conclusion, I give you a more personal advice. When life feels really hard, I usually shrink the perspective. This means that I focus on one day at a time. Focusing on creating a feel-good-day and thinks no further than so.

As I shrink the perspective of reality, I completely release and let the dreams sail to higher heights. To the heights that do not have to do with my reality. Where dreams can float freely and easily. Where ALL is possible for me. Because through those dreams, I am lifted up.

So dream! And finish the school year with the diploma in your hand and head high.

Have a good summer!

Kindly Vera (Principal for a day)

 

The facts and figures of more than 12,000 students with recurrent invalid school absence, I have taken from the report “School absence and the way back” published by The Swedish National Agency for Education

 

 

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Too intelligent?

Can you be too intelligent? And if so, too intelligent for what?
Too intelligent for elementary school?
High School?
The university?
Too intelligent to get a job?
To find friends?
To feel good?
Or too intelligent to be happy?

Most would answer no to all the questions. How could it be too much of something sought after and good as high intelligence? And how could high intelligence bring some disadvantages at all?

Seven, eight years ago I had answered yes to all questions. Partly because I have stumbled upon my intelligence so often, and partly because I saw many children and young people who had major difficulties in school because of it. Difficulties due to the fact that their knowledge base lies well before others at same age, nor do they have social exchange with peers their age.

Nowadays, I know that high intelligence, does not have to be an obstacle. Okay, elementary school and high school are inflexible institutions but that it is possible to find stimulating jobs, make close friends, feel good and being gifted, I know

Content in blog Too intelligent?
This blog addresses you who find that your high intelligence is more an obstacle than an opportunity. The content is not directly rocket surgery, most just basic knowledge. But with a twist. Because there are some differences in how you function as gifted. And those differences you must take into account to be able to feel good and create the life you want.

To feel good it’s important to know yourself, understand how you function as gifted, find fellowship, meaningfulness and live your values. It is also important to understand the environment in which you live.

The first posts I’ll publish will be about what giftedness is, definitions and how high intelligence can express itself. I will provide you with links to scientific articles, thesis and books. If you recognize yourself (you do not need to recognize you in everything – of course we are different as individuals) you are likely to be talented.

Feeling so wrong
To me it was absolutely crucial to understand that I am highly intelligent. And yes, you can live for many years without understanding that about yourself. More than forty years for me. When the results of the IQ test came and I saw that my IQ-level was higher than 99% of the population, I got a shock. A regular shock reaction, with crying attacks, denial, processing and after a long period of time, I accepted it.

Certainly, I had seen signs that I had easier than most to understand and learn. But those signs weighed lightly in relation to the feeling of being wrong as I carried with me since I was little. Maybe it’s for you too? That you most of all feel that something is wrong with you? Or just too different? For some reason you are looking here now.  If someone has hinted you or you found yourself.

My purpose of blog is to provide access to knowledge, experiences, methods and tools that you can benefit from in your life. Small, but perhaps crucial hints on how your life can become more as you wish.

Take care – see you!
Vera

 

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Five tips for you who are gifted and have a hard time

But where are the tips, tools and methods that I declared should be in the blog? My thought has been that they will come a bit at a time. As I go into more detail in different domains, you will get more practical tools for those areas. However, you don’t have to wait too long for the promised, I’ll give you five tips today. Tips I’ve carried with me during the many stumbling years.

Before it’s time for tips, I’ll tell you about the blog structure. It’s both the practical tips and the composite whole of experience and knowledge you can benefit from. The blog is divided into five different areas.

The backpack
Wherever you go, jump or stand you have yourself with you. Like a backpack. It’s important to know what you have in your backpack and the first section are devoted to looking at giftedness, from every possible point of view. It’s essential to know how and why you function as you do. When you have lifted up and twisted and turned the parts of your luggage, it is easier to pack them in a more convenient and hiking-friendly manner. It may also turn out to be some heavy things you do not have to bring anymore. You can throw them away and move on easier.

Under the stars
Only you know what you dream about and what you value in life. To feel satisfaction, we need to live in harmony with our values. In the second section, I’ll show how you can do to dream freely. How you can do to find out your values, not just those you want and believe you have, but also those underlying the surface and affect your life choices.

Around the campfire
Necessary for my well-being has been to find people I can have mutual relationships with. Find the people who can be my friends. It does not matter if it’s 2-3 people or 20-30 people. It’s the recognition and understanding in the eyes of others that are important. I have usually preferred to be to myself, but I have learned about and experienced the importance of relationships with others who are gifted. Still I want to be alone, but now I’m looking for friends around the campfire more often.

Map and compass
To get the life you want to live, it’s a must to understand how the outside world works. It’s in the meeting with the outside world I’ve stumbled the most. I have not been able to read the terrain from the map I have had. Or if it’s just my compass that is calibrated differently than others, but I’m learning! If you learn to navigate around the world, your possibilities to live in harmony with your values increases.

Hiking boots on
Life can not live only in the head. Just as the body and the brain need stimulation to function, life needs movement to be able to live. Then at what rate you go, in what way, in what direction, it’s your choice. The good thing about life is that fastest, farthest and most, does not win in terms of satisfaction with life. You have all the conceivable choices for how you want to live your life. In this part of the blog, I will give tips, advice and also encourage you to take those first steps in the direction you want to go.

The structure is supposed to be something like this. Although after the first episode was published, I received feedback and questions about areas that I initially did not intend to address. If you will continue to give feedback, which I hope, the five different sections will be developed if needed.

Five tips for those of you who are struggling right now
These are advice I carry with me and remind myself of often.

  1. One day at a time. Today you can handle. Tomorrow is another day. I rest on the one-day-at-time-strategy that works for so many alcoholics and addicts. If it works for them to stay sober, it can work for me as well. Today I can handle.
  2. Stick to the lights in your life. Is there anything in your life that makes you feel better? Which gives stimulus? Joy? Or who in any case distracts so much that time passes? Stick to it. If it’s to play Civ, go long walks in the woods, or watch the all episodes of Netflix series doesn’t matter. See also the weakest of light in your life and let it shine for you.
  3. One worry at a time. Do you have much that worries you? Make a bullet list on a piece of paper. No essays or ruminating. Only short words. Then remove the paper. Now your consciousness has understood that you know everything you worry about and do not need to remind you all the time. Now you have given yourself some breathing space.
  4. Take ONE minimal step. Perhaps the small step in change may be to read the blog. Stick to the little hope that my story can bring. Minimal steps may look different, but regardless of the slightness, they mean change. Do not stay in bed in the morning but move to the couch and lie there. It’s a step. Opening the window and breathing outdoor air is one step. Take a minimal step. It is enough.
  5. Be kind to yourself! Do to yourself as you may treat someone you like. Be kind.

Take care. See you!

Vera

 

Tomorrow is another day….

The note on our fridge (if you can read the writing…)

The note on our fridge (if you can read the writing...)

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Gifted? No thanks! Not my children

The first time I came into contact with the concept of “gifted” I was just over thirty. One of the teachers at the preschool told me to check it out because my children, as she expressed it, were a little special and not like others, and she recommended that they start school early.

I googled and searched for facts. Found scientific articles and documents on how schools around the world work with Gifted Children. I read articles about high-intelligent people who often ended up in some kind of exclusion, bullying, truancy, depression, difficulties at work, hard to find friends and so on. Research pointed out how important it is for gifted people to get the stimulus they need to feel good at an early age.

Swedish research showed how it is for gifted children to attend school in an equal school system such as Swedish, Norwegian and Danish. The egalitarian school system often confuses the idea of ​​everyone’s equal value and rights with the conviction that everyone should be the same. In combination with the Law of Jante, the result often becomes that those who in one way or another stand out, are forced into the norm. And if they don’t squeeze into the normal, they are punished with exclusion.

It was about me!

The evening and night after I read about gifted children I still remember. Despite the soothing breath of the man who slept next to me, I could not fall asleep. I lay on my back, my eyes followed the slits between the roof panels and the pages I read online were shown in repeat on the white-painted boards. Not word for word, but the content and some of the wordings. Brand new and intrusive thoughts about intelligence. When I closed my eyes to get rid of all I read, unpleasant memories from school time appeared and bothered. And I forgot that what I was reading was about the children. To me everything was about me. It was about me.

I slipped out of bed and tiptoed down the stairs. Cowered on the couch under a blanket and cried. Cried and looped the same thoughts over and over again.
About being gifted.
About the importance of stimulus in early age.
And about the familiar exclusion.

What I came up to during that night (except that it’s stupid to lie on your back and weep, for then you’ll get a kallsup*), were that high intelligence is the genetic rivet. In which case in Jantes Sweden. That night I decided that my children would not have to go through what I had gone through. No way.

Then you may think I started toil to enlighten the world of how gifted children function, work to make school fulfill special needs of my gifted children. But no. The logical conclusion of what I read about the situation for gifted people in Scandinavia, was that in order to have a good childhood here, you need to be normal enough. I decided to train my children to become normal!

I know. Not very smart to believe that you can change people. How can you even want to change your children? They are, as they are. Eventually, I realized that too. High intelligence can’t be disconnected. It’s there. No matter what.

Is this the first time you hear the concept of “gifted”? Or when did you hear it first? What did you think then?

See you!
Vera

*Kallsup is the Swedish word for an “involuntary gulp of cold water” which every kid playing in the sea at summertime in Sweden has experienced. “Kall” = cold. “Sup” = strong drink. You cough a lot when getting a “kallsup”.

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Why I have the blog Too intelligent?

If you meet me at the town, you probably do not notice me. I am one in the crowd. One of nine million inhabitants in Sweden. One of five billion on Terra. As common and unimportant as most. As peculiar and special as most. I live my life far away from the headlights, on the outskirts. Just like most of us do.

Nowadays I enjoy my life, but the road has been crooked. As for many. The reason my trip was so shaky differs from most people.

My name is Vera Varg. Welcome to the blog Too intelligent?

Very few believe that your own intelligence may be the leg you stumble over and over again. Perhaps when it comes to slower pace of learning than others and harder to grab abstract things. But could it be an obstacle to have unusually easy to learn and then remember for life? Who would imagine this?

Many highly intelligent people have of course used their talent from start and gained the life they wanted. It’s not for those I’m speaking now, but for you who stumbling forth. Perhaps my blog posts can make you hope that life as gifted can be really good. No matter how knobbly your bed was made from the beginning.

Share my experience and knowledge
I began blogging with the purpose that the experience and knowledge I collected will be of benefit to you. My dedication is based on the fact that I saw so many people, especially young people, feeling bad and where the main component seemed to be a high intelligence that crashed with the surroundings. I have also seen how some of the highly intelligent children and young people started blossom and feel good. This because they came to a new environment that worked better for them.

High intelligence – an asset or a burden?
The most annoying thing is that the youngsters do not feel bad because they are sick, but because of something that could be the sunniest of gifts in the right environment. The gift of having an intelligence high above the normal.

If you’ve been lucky, you did grown up in an environment that worked well for you as gifted. Maybe some adjustments were made at school to give you the opportunity to learn at your level? Perhaps you have had friends and family who are also very talented? Then your high intelligence is likely to be a welcome gift to you or simply something natural.

Those who have not had that circumstances during childhood, may feel that the high intelligence is more like a burden; The differently that erodes self-esteem, the barbed wire that make involvement impossible, or maybe just the glasses that make you look clearer than others do. Clearly how meaningless and banal everything is.

Find ways to live a good life as gifted
Whether you were lucky or not during childhood, you will sooner or later live in an environment that is not adapted to people who are highly intelligent. At various courses, at work, in community and social life, you will be different from most. Then it’s up to you to create the environment you need and learn how to handle the conditions so that you can live the way you want to live. I am convinced that it is possible to do. That you can do it.

 

In this blog I will share what research in relevant areas says, and you will get advice that have worked for me.

What I hope for most, is that you who listen or read will want to share your experiences. Something I have learned through the years is what benefit I have from knowing the experience of others. Especially from those who see things from a completely different perspective than I do. So give your experiences to others! And listen in your turn.

If you stumble on your high intelligence, are there any domains which are more troublesome? What would you like me to write about?

Type in the comment field below.

 

See you!

Vera

 

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