Confessions of a Dyslexic
Living with dyslexia is full of various trials and tribulations. Some are highly amusing and entertaining, whereas others are more infuriating. The world famous quote by Einstein “anyone who has never failed has never tried anything new” rings in my head and ears, as I reflect back on the many situations or tasks I have embarrassed myself within. Despite these misfortunes, this statement is true and personally comforting. We, or anyone for that matter, cannot be expected to do a task perfectly the first time round without making some sort of ‘balls up’. Occasionally I even surprise myself when no subsequent ‘balls up or cock ups’ occur in these everyday situations.
Similar to the catholic rite of passage of formal confession, I thought it would be interesting, funny and almost a bit of a relief to think about and list some of the weird and wonderful struggles I have faced as a dyslexic. Without the addition of a wooden confession box and a priest shielded to the side, this post aims to be a more light-heartened, hopefully entertaining yet slightly obscure, exploration of the life of a dyslexic.
Confession number one: never ask me to book train, tube or bus tickets. Actually for that matter never let me loose with any timetables or maps related to these modes of transport. Even just the thought of being asked to do these tasks sends me into ‘panic mode’. This lack of understanding and sheer bloody panic creates a viscous cycle, in which mistakes and confusion are exacerbated by being anxious and fearful. I don’t’ mind travelling by these forms of public transport. But it’s best not to leave me to my own devices when I do so! Confession number two: after over three years together I still can’t spell my boyfriend’s surname, which is slightly embarrassing as its only five letters long. I spell it wrong every bloody time, as my brain just can’t seem to understand and process the order of the letters. I no longer ask how to spell it. Instead I just google it.
Confession number 3: I am ridiculously clumsy and present with poor memory and spatial awareness. If there is something I could trip on, knock over or bang into; I probably will. It’s really hard to explain, but if feels like I can’t keep track and up-to-date with what is going on in and around me. Objects and people are continuously moving in all different directs and speeds. All present as potential obstacles and hazards which can be overwhelming for the senses. I’m not always very observant, as if so too much incoming information is presented at once this can make it highly difficult for all sensory information to be processed and understood. For example, I try to avoid one ‘obstacle’, such as a table leg, and end of banging into or knocking something else over in the process. God knows how I have a driving license and am lawfully allowed to drive an actual real working car. As stressed previously, I have to write pretty much everything down. If instructions or tasks are not noted, it is highly likely that they will be lost and swamped in flurry of other thoughts and ideas. This can be related to even the simplest of tasks. Yesterday I was cooking dinner and tried to cook rice for ten minutes without putting the hob on. I was so intent on completing all the other tasks, such as chopping the vegetables and preheating the oven that I forgot to do this simple step. This may seem quite trivial and mundane, but it is not an isolated incident.
Confession number four: I am a habitual procrastinator. I spend most of my waking conscious hour’s thinking of food, manly chocolate and other sweet treats, fluffy animals, cups of coffee and Harry Potter memes/trivia. If you ever catch me staring into space I can almost guarantee these will be in my train of thought. Confession number five: I can barely read my own handwriting. For as long as I can remember I have always had very small, rather cramped handwriting. When I’m writing it often feels like I can’t get the words down quick enough. My brain works too fast for my hand and wrist, so I have to rush the writing in order to avoid forgetting what I wish to say. This subsequently, results in tiny messy writing, often with spelling errors and letters or almost the whole word missing. Typing for me is even more time consuming and laborious. Thus this is not usually a good alternative, unless someone is going to be reading my work. To be honest I do find it really quite funny that I struggle to read my own writing, although I’m pretty certain that my previous teachers would not say the same.
Dyslexia certainly has its perks. It has definitely made for an interesting and eventful existence. This explorative and reflective style blog has helped me appreciate how diverse and interesting the world of dyslexia is. As all dyslexics are unique and their own individuals, meaning that they too will present with different tasks/situations they find difficult and an intriguing array of neurodiverse ‘confessions’. I hope this post inspires other to reflect on their own quirks, successes and challenges in order to better understand the phenomenon of dyslexia.