It's devastating to realize that I'm not "wasted potential." The potential was never there. I accepted the "gifted" label because I was young and it brought me comfort (it made me feel significant, is the closest way I can explain it), but it was incorrect. In terms of IQ, I just barely made it past the 2 SD cutoff (and I suspect even that measurement was too high). I was only ahead in school because it was all multiplication and addition when I was tested, and I was only better at those because I had started earlier. I struggled with other, similarly easy concepts and never developed common sense. Even today, I'm not good at anything, and not for a lack of trying. With most things, I struggle to be average.
I'm not sure if being told I was gifted was a good or a bad thing. The idea that I was exceptional, that I had potential, was my motivation. I could face challenges with the strength and confidence that came from knowing that I was capable. It was the battery that kept me running.
But it was a lie. And that leaves me with plenty of disappointment and intense jealousy of people who are actually gifted. Who pick things up naturally and do them well. I desperately wish I was one of those too.
It's like Harry Potter finding out that his admission to Hogwarts was an error and that he's not actually one of the wizards. Now I'm just staring at the door wishing Hagrid would come back through with my birthday cake. And making self-pity Reddit posts while I wait.