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Discovering Giftedness (Part 2)

By Lily Jedynak, Ph.D. on May 20, 2024

Dr. Lily Jedynak is an exceptionally gifted multipotentialite. As a professional coach, she helps women flourish as they bring their gifts to the world. She holds six university degrees and is passionate about creativity as a writer, musician, and artist. She lives in Adelaide, South Australia. Find Dr. Lily on Substack today!

Discovering Giftedness (Part 2)

In 2020, on the brink of accepting that I might be gifted, the world changed.

My attention drifted away from personal concerns to much broader concerns.

By the end of March, The Great Pause had begun in Australia and life as we knew it drastically changed.

I did what so many people had to do. I retreated. Survived. Adapted.

I channelled my restless energy into overdue plans to renovate our old home. Parts of the carpet were threadbare from fifty years of hard yakka – that’s Aussie slang for ‘hard work’. Old bathrooms had peeling wallpaper and loos that laboured to flush. The kitchen had an oven that refused to die despite being made in 1974. I dreamt of an art studio above the garage which needed to be built. I wanted to paint the interior of the house black, a rebellion against the sterile white that had become so popular. Black would be dramatic and intense and that, of course, appealed to me.

As plans progressed, I turned the house into an art studio. Paint splattered the walls, dripped onto the ancient carpets, and permanently seeped into the crevasses of my skin. The dining table became the central hub of my creative spree. Glue sticks, rolls of tape, tubes of paint, pens, pencils, paint brushes, and piles of paper scattered the surface to make an obsessive number of collages. Artworks were tacked onto walls. As the world went to hell in a handbasket, I buried myself in art materials and hunkered down for the long haul.

I also kept writing, researching and working online.

By the time 2021 swung around, the extensive plans to renovate the house came to a crashing halt. Building supplies were scarce and costs were sky rocketing. Builders were embattled as their tradies became ill and work completion deadlines spiralled out of control. Just getting a slab of cement laid was considered a miracle. So many people had decided, like us, to renovate their homes and builders were in demand. We were warned that they were charging like wounded bulls and, sure enough, their quotes were triple what we had budgeted for. Dreams of a bold, black renovated home went up in smoke.

After a year of frenetic creativity, the house looked like a paint bomb had exploded inside it. The only thing for it was to keep going.

At this point I stumbled upon a goldmine of podcasts such as: ‘Conversations on Gifted Trauma’ with Jennifer Harvey Sallin, Imi Lo’s The Intense Mind, Aurora Remember Holtzman’s Embracing Intensity, Emily Kircher-Morry’s The Neurodiversity Podcast, Monique Mitchelson and Dr Michelle Livock’s The Neurodivergent Woman Podcast, Jill Hartsock and Jessica Mullen’s Adventures in Being Gifted, the Gifted Unleashed podcast with Nadja Cereghetti and, as mentioned previously, The Positive Disintegration podcasts with Dr Chris Wells and Emma Nicholson. Find them on your favourite online platform and enjoy.

2021 quickly rolled into 2022. My ageing parents fell and broke their hips. My husband fell and broke his arm. I struggled with a bursar on my knee and hobbled about for months. Our beloved dog of sixteen years, Teo, became seriously ill and died. As we grieved the loss, the house continued to crumble around us.

I read everything Jennifer Harvey Sallin had written on the Intergifted website. I explored what it meant to be a multipotentialite on Emily Wapnick’s Puttylike website. I read Paula Prober’s ‘rainforest mind’ blogs. Then I asked myself, what if I had a qualitative assessment?

I stopped breathing and spiralled into self-doubt yet again.

What was the point of it? Would a label really mean anything? Did I just want to think of myself as special? What if I preferred to hide and stay a misfit for the remainder of my life? Acceptance of the gift or denial? Deconstruction or reconstruction or both?

Perhaps the house wasn’t the only thing that needed renovating!

On a whim, I decided to do an online IQ test to see if I had ‘the goods’. I quickly searched the internet and clicked on whatever link looked plausible. I worked my way through the test having no idea how long it would take. It went on and on and I was like, ‘WTF!’

I stopped. Had to get on with my day. Who knew an IQ test was a bloody marathon?!

I almost forgot to click on the ‘results’ button. My score would surely be terrible. I fell off my chair. 155. What? I hadn’t even finished the test. That couldn’t be right. I must have selected some faulty assessment. What a stupid thing to have done.

I closed my laptop in disgust.

Perhaps a professional assessment was a better idea but the last time I’d been professionally assessed – over twenty-five years ago – it had ended rather oddly. At that time, I’d been at a crossroads and sought career counselling. For some reason I can’t exactly fathom now, I ended up at a retired psychiatrist’s home not far from where I was living in Sydney. The deal was that I’d have three sessions and be guided as to what to do with my life.

I remember the worn colour cards the old psych handed me. I had to put them in the order that most appealed to me. I started with black – of course! – and went from there. Much to my surprise, the psych informed me that for three weeks in a row I’d put the cards in the same order. He produced a tattered black book and subsequently read out the meaning of the cards I’d chosen. It’d said something about being a good starter and a good finisher which was rare. The book also mentioned that I had ‘hidden genius’ which amused me. Wasn’t everyone a hidden genius? As for the other test results, the psych seemed a bit exasperated by them. Perhaps I hadn’t ticked the right boxes. He asked me at the end, ‘What is it you want to do?’ I said I wanted to be a writer. He said, ‘Well go do that then.’ I wondered why I’d needed three sessions when in a matter of minutes my future was decided.

I need to tell you here that I’ve not had any psychological support apart from the three sessions I’ve mentioned. At school, I wasn’t identified as gifted or even bright for that matter. For most of my life I’ve been a self-directed learner, working it out as I go.

After another period of deliberation, I booked a gifted assessment as a birthday present to myself. Far better to determine giftedness from a wholistic perspective, I thought. I liked the idea of not having to do testing of any kind. Even the word ‘test’ made me twitch.

I waited six months for the assessment.

I did the preparatory work, read the required materials, answered the personal history questions. I endeavoured to get into a state that was ready to receive some sort of news.

In February 2023, four years after exploring the possibility of being gifted, the day of the assessment finally dawned. As the hour approached, I had a gin and tonic to settle my nerves. I don’t think that was wise. I couldn’t shake the thought that I was about to find out I was not in the slightest bit gifted. It was all a figment of my over- active imagination. I was going to be amused like I was by the old psych’s assessment all those years ago. Oh well. So what. A little embarrassment wouldn’t kill me.

You probably know what happened next.

Two weeks after the assessment I turned sixty. I suppose it’s better late than never to find out you’re gifted. But to my mind, it felt really, really late, and this impacted what I did next. There’s still so much more to tell you, including the amusing story about how I came out of the gifted closet to friends at a dinner party. And because I’ve received so many questions about the gifted assessment, I’ll write about that some more and the discoveries I’ve made since.

I hope you’ll stay tuned.

Thank you for being here with me. It means the world!

If you’ve enjoyed this blog and you think someone you know may find it nourishing, then please feel free to share.

Please find more of my writing about giftedness on Substack: @drlilyjedynak


Multipotentialite Emily Warpnick: multipotentialite/

Conversations on Gifted Trauma Podcast: gifted-trauma/ Paula

Prober: Lüscher Colour Test:üscher_color_test

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