Memoir

Escaping the Cage of Intellectualism

Benita thought her intellect would keep her safe. Then it failed her spectacularly. Was she using it wrong – or was there something she was missing?

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Self-Creation After Chaos An Interview with Lotte van Lith

Chaos around her and intensity within her led the teenage Lotte van Lith to an eating disorder. Now, having recovered and reintegrated, she helps gifted people express their intensity with self-compassion—and let loose their incredible creativity in the process.

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Getting Acquainted with a Stranger

From her earliest days as an intense, gifted girl, Benita Jeanelle spent her life trying to be who she was expected to be, and to achieve what she was supposed to achieve—until it caused her very personality to fragment.

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There and Half-Way Back Again How Openness Guided My Journey through Politics

How does openness to experience affect a person’s political stance? For Andrea, it’s caused her views to continuously evolve—as has her view on disagreement itself.

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Facing the Question of Non/Conformity A Letter from the Editor—and Eleanor Roosevelt—for Issue Four

Many pay lip service to nonconformity, but if you’re really unusual, you’ve probably struggled with the implications of deviating from the norm. How should we balance the costs and benefits of our divergence? In this issue’s introductory letter, Third Factor editor in chief Jessie Mannisto links our authors’ takes on this challenge to Eleanor Roosevelt’s writings on how to be an individual.

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Political Iridescence: Courage and Complexity in a Tribal World

We’ve divided the political world into a red team and a blue team. Where does a person belong when she sees not only shimmers of red in the blue and the blue in the red, but oranges, yellows, greens, and purples besides? One thing’s for sure: it will take courage for such a person to find—or keep—a political home.

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The Embracing Intensity Journey Some Themes in Highly Excitable Lives

Aurora Remember Holtzman has talked to lots of overexcitable adults for her podcast, Embracing Intensity, and she’s seen some themes in their stories. For starters, though they’ve all learned to channel their intensity in a positive direction, it never started off for them that way.

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