My Normal is My Talent

By Alyssia BellIDEC fellow


Ever since I was a little kid, I always had an inquisitive mind. Ask my mother, she was always asked “why this, why that and why not?”. Life was always a puzzle that I was trying to figure out. What are the best studying habits?  How to be a better friend? How to be an exceptional employee? I never stopped asking questions they just grew more complex as I aged. I wondered did everyone ask as many questions as I did. Was this the norm? Did others need to ask questions constantly to deeply understand matters and solve problems.

The more questions I asked, the more facts and information I learned, quickly becoming a collector of facts and knowledge. My mom started calling me “data” short for “database” because I had a collection of so many facts from many different topics. We would be in the midst of a conversation about the color pink, and I would reply “did you know that certain colors could impact behavior” and then I would go on about the research I found. There wasn’t a conversation where I didn’t bring up a fact or some learned information I had.

I always wondered if this annoyed anyone. Sometimes I would think to myself and say “stop Alyssia, just have a normal conversation”, but what I learned is that this is “my” normal. During an IDEC meeting learning about our strengths, we took a Clifton Strengths test. This is supposed to help you identify your talents and how to develop them. I was really intrigued to find out what my talents were, I was also curious to hear the talents of my cohort. What I found out is that my top five talents (Restorative, Input, Intellection, Responsibility, and Connectedness) really described me well. Seeing my talents in this way helped me understand my personality more. It helped me understand why I’ve asked so many questions, and why I think so much about everything. It helped me understand how I became a collector of information, and everything started to make sense, like a lightbulb turning on. This is my normal, these are my talents, and it helps to build a unique lived experience. The meeting we had helped me understand my talents/strengths more and to lean into these parts of myself shamelessly.