I’m dyslexic and it’s a really good thing that there’s spellcheck on my computer because I can’t even spell it. I personally think it looks better spelled dislexik. Oh and a quick shout out to the person who invented the dictating feature on cell phones: thank you so much, you are awesome. I use it almost everyday because apparently the way I spell words like nesesary (necessary…I really think the third letter should be a ‘s’ and camomeal (chamomile….why is there an ‘H’ hiding in there?! And why does it end in mile?!) aren’t close enough to the actual spellings for spellcheck to figure out what I’m trying to say. Trouble spelling and pronouncing words are two of the main ways my dyslexia shows itself.
I use to see my dyslexia as a burden, like a 50lb ball and chain I was forced to bring with me wherever I went. Sometimes I would try and be sneaky and quickly dart behind a door or as fast as I could run to do something hoping I had been clever enough it couldn’t find me. I would get excited to buy an ice cream without dyslexia showing it’s face. And all was going fine until I stammered and the words wouldn’t come out saying I wanted a strawberry ice cream. It was like an old TV going all fuzzy and into what we used to call snowstorm mode. It was on, but nothing of value was coming out. Or if by some miracle the words came out then I would take ages counting out the correct change needed. Often the cashier would get frustrated and just grab what money they needed from me. And so over and over again I was ashamed and embarrassed. And over and over again I would keep trying to run away or hide from it, but every single time like a trained scent hound it always figured out where I had gone. And so I never get more than a few seconds alone.
Not only would I not admit I had a learning disorder and needed help I was incredibly embarrassed by it. So you are probably wondering why on earth I would write a blog and broadcast this to the entire world. You see, I was embarrassed (just spelt that wrong apparently it isn’t embarased!) until about two years ago.
I’ve shared my story with a handful of people and every single one of them something along the lines of “that is so helpful to know for my daughter/son/neighbor/niece/nephew/grandson/granddaughter etc.” So this is why I’m telling this story. It is estimated that there are more than 3 million cases of dyslexia per year. This equals out to 1 in 10 people having dyslexia. Your daughter/son/neighbor/niece/nephew/grandson/granddaughter etc. shouldn’t hide behind their dyslexia like I did for 24 years. They shouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed of it. Because dyslexia isn’t a curse. It’s not a 50lb ball and chain. It’s a superpower that comes with an awesome cape and kickass superpowers.
My dyslexia saved me because it gave me the gift of looking at problems through a different lens. Because let’s face it, when you are faced with a difficult problem and giving up isn’t even a possibility then you HAVE to come up with a solution. If you have to have open heart surgery tomorrow or you will die you will somehow come up with the money. You will find a way. This is because not coming up with the money isn’t an option because you’ll die. Looking at the world this way is so powerful, because it takes out any negotiation. There’s no debating about it–there’s just pure focus on how to do it. And with that comes an infinite number of possibilities, because you become an unstoppable force of awesomeness.
I want to help you and so despite it being a little scary (ok, a lot scary) I’m putting the good, the bad, the hairy, the ugly and the super ugly out there in hope that dyslexia will never be seen as a curse anymore. We need you, your daughter’s/son’s/neighbor’s/niece’s/nephew’s/grandson’s/granddaughter’s etc dyslexia to be out there kicking some ass curing cancer, helping solve world hunger, inventing the next big thing since Facebook etc!
To unleashing the dyslexic superpower in you or someone you love!
P.S. I have a question for you. As you were reading this did a person come to mind that has dyslexia or think they might? Was that person you? I’d love to hear your story either in the comments below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org