Unwrapping The Gifted
I was a gifted child. That put you in a box, gold paper wrapped up, red ribboned and left in a private school courtyard, kind of gifted. By the time I was three I could speak well and read. Writing followed suit, so they say to me. I remember those phonics cassette tapes mom would play and replay. Every single reading rainbow episode watching day. With unstoppable force unmovable objects I encountered and then countered because my objective was never to simply get around you, but to understand each and every facet in details that hadn’t yet even begun to be imagined.
Even as a shorty I had a psyche out of this world; internalizing, reflecting, learning to reach beyond the shell. A deep, thinking, considerate child and I easily bruised. I’d wear Payless brand to school so my brothers could get the latest Nike shoes. I recall her often saying “what would I do without you?” To dad I was “sista bista”, right hand daughter, and second sister. Thought I was going to be born a boy. Till out poured another girl, go figure. I studied then took the LSAT test because maybe having a lawyer for a daughter would somehow lessen the disappointment.
To mom I was “sunni” or sun, funny how changing a simple letter in a word, pronunciations could sound absurd, but in another lifetime, under another sun, I could have been the son she’d yearned for. Second child, second oldest, but second best to no one. Then baby brother was born and dad acted as if the big game had been won. Dad was a football star on an athletic scholarship and mom a raging book nerd on her academic hustling tip. The ride may have been free, but she soared academically; all A’s and B’ and I swear not one single C. Word of advice, don’t ever try to get over on a magna cum laude because while you may get over them in the morning, you still have noon and night to be thinking of. The passion behind moms understanding of my potential, however weary the drawbacks, she forged on multi dimensional. I was raised well, but some of the things I witnessed made me sick. Mom was always there to make things seem better again. But I worried a lot as a kid, used to stay up late when mom would work a night shift. I was intent to make sure she got in the house before my light went out. Spending hours reading upon hours dreaming. Even those days she’d come home and if we hadn’t done our chores, uh oh it’s on, she’d wake us and up, out of bed we’d go. Sweeping stairs down and mopping kitchen and bathroom floors.
Mom’s passion was significant. However insignificant I felt I was. Even small, brown skinned little girls take pause. Butterflies swirled from being painfully shy, afraid so second guessing became a strategy I’d utilize. I was a mama’s girl with daddy’s girl tendencies. My stint in Kindergarten was cut short; certain I didn’t miss a thing. I remember waiting outside the teachers lounge, small, shy little thing with a furrowed brow and button nose. We proceeded to the classroom and she administered a series of tests, which I passed with flying colors although school wasn’t where I learned to master them. Then again, maybe I did miss out on something. Enter first through eighth grade where I set the course for my success. Older kids meant less chaos and all around less stress. Everything came easy. Homework, a motherfucking breeze. Most of my grade school memories revolved around extra circular activities. Listen and believe there is such a thing as being bored witless, out of young minds, unnatural feelings for human beings to have to experience.
We’re naturally born of curiosity. I grew into an adult who constantly keeps busy, even thoughts when drifting off are waging creations deep within me. At times I wish I had no choice but to experience the repetitive boredom, simplistic schooling and immense emptiness of being a gifted child left behind, but no such thing. On my side I had a mom who stood on the opposite end of a welfare queen. Through the years I’d accomplish goals my mom would set for us, sometimes drawing jealousy from other kids who’d struggle. Envious. Of what? A process of not wanting to shine as bright because the truth is very few gifted children get what they need which is contant stimulus.
I was gifted in a classroom where being advanced for whatever reason meant absolutely nothing without a stupid reason. “She got some Chinese in her, don’t she? Look at her eyes and the way she be blinkin.” Dumb. Another semester another season. The second time I skipped a grade it was like blah blah blah congrats you’re a senior. Still my intellectual hunger wasn’t met even a little bit. Paltry servings and side dishes. That’s what they considered challenging. Honors classes and space programs and a deep love I had for athletics. Started high school at thirteen and graduated by the time I turned sixteen. Against the wishes of those who claimed they only wanted the best for me.