The Gifted Child

Published on 29 March 2024 at 20:11

Medium: Watercolor on paper

Date: 2023


Introduction: The Intricacies of Giftedness

Living with the aspects of oneself or one's family that diverge from the norm can be a formidable challenge. My featured artwork this week is all about gifts. The gifts of nature, those unique talents and capabilities bestowed upon us and our relatives, transcend the mundane aspects of daily existence. Yet, this deviation from conformity often means these gifts do not seamlessly integrate into our lives. They stand apart, sometimes uncomfortably, from the routine rituals that define our existence.

The Nature of Gifts: A Double-Edged Sword

Gifts from nature are akin to a double-edged sword, offering benefits and drawbacks in equal measure. Imagine, if you will, the burden of a child, gifted beyond measure, resting heavily on the slender shoulders of a thin, older figure dressed in yellow. This figure, a representation of myself, symbolizes the weight of responsibility and expectation that accompanies such gifts. These are not without their demands; much like the mythical poisonous snakes, these gifts can both protect and peril. My recent musings on the nagas, creatures of dual nature, capture this duality perfectly. Sacred or profane, their symbolism runs deep, much like the cobra that has adorned the ancient Egyptian crown for millennia.

The naga, with its complex dichotomy, serves as a perfect metaphor for the nature of giftedness. Just as the naga can be both protector and destroyer, so too can gifts from nature uplift or overwhelm the human spirit. This complexity underscores the notion that while we all possess gifts, the magnitude and intensity of these gifts vary greatly among individuals. The existence of such a gift can elevate or condemn a person to the fringes of society, adoration, or isolation, sometimes leading to extreme outcomes such as imprisonment or even death.

The Burden of Giftedness

In the visual narrative, a child, endowed with extraordinary talents, becomes a literal burden to their parents. This child, engaged in playing a flute, wearing a ballet slipper, and surrounded by an ethereal melody, represents the consuming nature of exceptional abilities. The red and black hues of the child's attire, symbols of revolution and change, beg the question: Why cannot this child traverse life's path unaided? The answer lies in the overwhelming nature of their gifts, which demand every ounce of their energy and focus.

The Consuming Nature of Gifts

Gifts of a significant magnitude are not merely possessions; they are vocations that demand pursuit and expression. They may manifest early in life or emerge in later years, with some developing rapidly and others maturing slowly over time. Yet, when the call of the naga — the call of one's innate gift — resounds, it cannot be ignored without consequence.

To heed the call of one's gift is to embark on a journey of self-discovery and fulfillment. The artist who acknowledges and embraces their unique talents, guided by an unseen force, is indeed fortunate. This path, while fraught with challenges, offers unparalleled rewards.

The Role of Champions in Nurturing Gifts

Equally fortunate is the artist who finds a champion in a parent, teacher, or mentor. These guardians of potential play a crucial role in nurturing and protecting the fragile seeds of talent from being trampled underfoot by the harsh realities of skepticism and rejection.

Perseverance Through Rejection

The journey of a gifted individual is often punctuated by rejection and misunderstanding. Consider the author from Minnesota whose work faced 432 rejections before finally being acknowledged and celebrated as the Best Book of the Year. My own first books were rejected one hundred times and called most worthless book the head editor had ever seen before finally being called “the most original and creative books we have found in 25 years.” This narrative is not unique but a testament to the resilience required to transcend the frequent dismissals that accompany unique visions and ideas.

Conclusion: The Value of Gifts Despite Challenges

The path of the gifted is strewn with obstacles, not least of which is the specter of rejection. Yet, for those who persevere, the rewards can transcend material success, offering a profound and unique perspective on life. Whether or not a gift leads to financial prosperity, its true value lies in the fulfillment and understanding it brings to the bearer and, by extension, to the world at large. The journey of nurturing and expressing one's gifts is a noble endeavor, worthy of the effort and sacrifices it entails.


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