AN UGLY DUCKLING
A man sat on a stool eating lunch, left hand holding a spoon and right hand holding an iPhone. He almost choked, trying to hold back his tears. He put his next bite on hold and looked around to see if anybody saw him. Nobody. Relief washed over him after confirming he was still alone. He swiped on his iPhone and continued reading the story that brought tears to his eyes - Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling.
Every word and every sentence brought forth more emotion. There in the cold office pantry, what used to just be a children story for him was quickly turning into something else, a reflection and a revelation of a life that wasn't easy to travel. The vulnerability of the ugly duckling he felt as if he was the little creature himself, whose sadness was brought about by the imperative need to belong. Why don't I belong? Why am I different? he thought. It's because I'm so ugly! he and the ugly duckling cried in unison. Tears slowly trickled down his cheeks.
You don't understand me, the ugly duckling protested. The man nodded. Understand. That one word burst the balloon that had been swelling in his heart for many years. All his life, he had lived with some unexplained loneliness: he didn't share the same interests with most of his peers, couldn't relate well to others for some reason, and, at times, viewed the world oddly. He carried on with the story just like he did all his life, trudging on, hoping, wishing, and dreaming for some salvaging light to show him the way and answer his questions.
Then it did. It came to the man, the salvaging light, in a way he did not expect, in the form of a fairy tale that had been around for more than a century. He let go of the urge to try to hold back his tears as the ugly duckling discovered it had shed all of its "ugliness" and had transformed into a magnificent swan. He cried not tears of sadness but of happiness as one of the swans told him, Being born in a duck yard does not matter if one has lain in a swan's egg! The story ended.
I resumed eating my lunch even though my hunger was long gone after reading. The Ugly Duckling had just become one of my most favourite stories of all time.
Today, I celebrate my 31st birthday. I'm here at Starbucks, one of my favourite places to go to, finishing this article. Memories of my previous two birthdays are still fresh in my mind. I escaped from heartbreak and sadness in Singapore for my 29th birthday and received the gift of synchronicity for my 30th. The two events elicited different emotions but either way both were eventful. This year I want to make it special again. I want to celebrate my giftedness.
Mary-Elaine Jacobsen's book The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide for Liberating Everyday Genius is a special book I hold dear in my heart. Synchronicity brought about my discovery of its existence. Someone I was following on Instagram posted a photo of a page from the book along with a raving description of it, which immediately piked my interest. After asking in the comments what the title was, I bought the book from Amazon instantly.
Jacobsen's The Gifted Adult filled a large hole in my life like a thundering waterfall to a river. Identity, self-esteem, and purpose questions were given answers. From that point onwards, I began to look at life more differently than I did before. Armed with a better understanding of myself, I could then look at the past, the present, and the future with a different perspective. I am a gifted adult and to Jacobsen and her book, for helping me become aware, I am forever grateful. (We're not going to discuss gifted adults and their traits here. If you wish to pursue more on that, I highly recommend Jacobsen's book.)
But this is really not about me. It's for the other gifted adults out there, who are probably looking up at the stars at night and asking the same questions I did (and still do because there are still so much to learn). Sometimes it's hard. Most of the time it's lonely. And in the worst moments, giving up sounds like the best option. But I dare you not, never ever give up! I haven't made it yet to the summit of my journey but I survived the dark days of my unawareness of being gifted. And I will tell you this. @@Those dark days were worth going through. It's beautiful here at the start of the other side.@@ The sun shines bright in a concoction of strange colours. The birds are singing songs we've never heard before. From where I am right now, I can hear the chanting of a tribe far away, calling out to us, beckoning us to venture further.
@@Words are very powerful for us gifted adults.@@ They can either destroy us or build us, which is why I bring you these 31 quotes (divided into multiple categories) fitting for gifted adults. Credit goes to the source of these words, highly likely gifted adults themselves; I'm just a messenger. Whatever you're going through right now, I hope these give you hope and support. Don't let the world kill the gifted adult in you. Fight to keep it alive. We (other gifted adults) may not be there physically but we're with you in spirit.
Here are the 31 quotes:
Never give up!
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