What’s it Like Being a Tween with Overexcitabilities? Interview with C(12)

What's it like being a tween with overexcitabilities?

This week my 12-year-old daughter Cordie chatted with me  on camera about what it’s like being a tween with the intensities and sensitivities known as overexcitabilities. Cordie’s been home-educated since she was six.

{If you’re interested, you can watch our full conversation on video below.}

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘Overexcitabilities’ (OEs)?

I think of quirky creators of good things.

What OEs do you have?

I think have all of them to one extent or another. I definitely have imaginational OE. I like creating characters and stories. I create characters all the time, and then you have to write a story for your characters to be in, for other people to fully understand them.

And I also have sensual OE. I get quite annoyed by a lot of sounds, but I like loads of different styles of music. I like certain textures, and I really hate other textures. And I’m very sensitive to tastes and smells – I really don’t like some candles, or Lush products.

How has what you’ve learned about OEs helped you?

Knowing about OEs has helped me understand myself and become more self-aware. It helps because you can unpick causes and consequences. And it means you can laugh about things afterwards because you understand what went on. And you can more easily prevent it next time (if it was something that you don’t want to happen again).

What would you say are the similarities and differences between you and other people your age?

I think I’m a lot more sensitive to throwaway comments people make. At this age a lot of people are quite competitive, and in our culture especially we’re quite used to putting ourselves down to seem more humble.

If someone makes a throwaway insult (even if they didn’t mean it to be) like, “Oh you’re ugly” or whatever – it really gets to me. And even though they probably don’t even remember it, if you have OEs it can really stay with you for a while and influence what you do.

What makes you feel good about yourself?

I’m really happy that I’m fit and that I do a lot of exercise, which is fun.

My main sport is karate – I do 4 hours a week. I’ll hopefully get my black belt next Easter, but even if I don’t I’m proud of myself for getting to this level. I also enjoy gymnastics, Scouts and ice skating. And guitar – exercise for the fingers!

Also, I’m pleased with myself for completing Key Stage 3 maths. One of my goals was to do an exam paper at the end of this school year. My friends who go to school were all doing exams and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it too.

Do your OEs affect the way you learn?

Yes, probably. I can’t learn in some situations, and also it’s easier to revise if I have certain stimuli. I really like doing memorisation with music, for instance.

In maths my OEs help me think of different ways around a problem. If you’ve only learned a formula you might forget it but it’s helpful if you can think outside the box and find of another way to solve a problem, even if it’s not the way you’ve been taught.

What would you say is your biggest challenge right now?

Just generally in life? I don’t really have any challenges, I have a great life!  Maybe dealing with a whole family who has OEs all of their own! It’s intense because it makes you consider – especially with emotional OE – what you say, because someone can take it to heart, and you don’t want to set anyone off.

But it is nice because you can have really deep, loving relationships. And also it’s nice because we never really get into any big fights, we always forgive each other.

What makes you happy?

I love doing my exercise and also going to Stagecoach, where I do 3 hours of dancing, acting and singing. I enjoy doing all of my activities and hanging out with my friends, because I’m quite extroverted. I really enjoy talking to people.

So even though you’re home-educated you still have friends? 😉

Yes! I have a lot of friends from different circles. It’s funny because often one of my friends will have a mutual friend who we’ll bump into and they’ll talk about a certain person and I’ll ask, “Oh is that the person who…?” and they’ll be surprised and say, “How did you know that?!”

Most people my age don’t have such a wide circle because they just have their friends from their school, but since I do karate and all my other activities I know a lot of different people.

What do you do to relax?

Mainly I watch YouTube, that’s my main method of relaxation. I lie on my bed or on the sofa and watch whatever videos I want, which is really nice. I go through phases. At the moment I watch videos about nail art, science, games and cooking.

How do your OEs affect your relationships?

I think having emotional OE I I crave deep friendships, so if I’ve found someone I’ll want to be with them loads and loads and I’ll talk about them constantly. Often when I come back from somewhere I’ll just be talking about this one person the entire time.

It’s great if you have friends who also have OEs too, but even if they don’t, it helps if they understand your little quirks.

Is there anything else you want to say about OEs?

Having OEs is great! If you don’t have them, don’t worry about it – you have it a lot easier. But if you do, you’re a cool person and they’re really fun.

They certainly are. It’s never dull in our family, is it?


What makes your tween feel good about him or herself?

What would they say is their biggest challenge?

I’d love to hear from you, in the comments below or on the Laugh, Love, Learn Facebook page. 🙂

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7 thoughts on “What’s it Like Being a Tween with Overexcitabilities? Interview with C(12)

  1. Lucinda, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this interview! What a gorgeous daughter you have and very self aware for her age. Thank you so much for thinking of doing it and sharing it 🙂
    (I will definitely be sharing with my youngest twin)

    1. Thank you for inspiring me to interview Cordie, Claire – I so enjoyed the interviews you did with all your children. I’ll pass on your kind words to her. 🙂 Jasper wants to be interviewed now!

  2. I love how through this whole discussion of overexcitabilities you can see a reflection of her knee bouncing up and down. I have the exact same thing. 🙂

    1. lol, She does that all the time! I mentioned your comment to my daughter and she said she thinks your WordPress name is really cool and mysterious. 🙂

      1. Cordie is awesome. But I have to admit a sting of envy seeing the happiness and easy confidence that come with an appropriate education, compared to what fourteen years in the authoritarian education salt mines did to me.

        My name was inspired by the stereotype of what people think Yorkshire is like. The murals of Ken Currie depict the Glasgow working class but that’s the aesthetic I was going for – flat caps and dark satanic mills, a sort of Northern Steampunk Orientalism. Of course the real Yorkshire is much stranger. 😉

        1. Thanks for that – I’ve often wondered about your name when I’ve seen you around. I love what I know of Yorkshire, and you’ve just added more depth and intrigue (always a good thing). 😉

          As a product of those same salt mines, I’m not sure I get it all right as a parent/home-educator, but I like to think we can get it a bit righter each generation.

        2. Thanks for that – I’ve often wondered about your name when I’ve seen you around. I love what I know of Yorkshire, and you’ve just added more depth and intrigue (always a good thing). 😉

          As a product of those same salt mines, I know I don’t always get it right as a parent/home-educator, but I like to think we can get it a bit righter each generation.

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