Dyslexia, It's a Funny Life I Lead!
When I sit and reflect about my experiences growing up in school, it is far from funny. I know what it's like to endure the entire class in high school laughing at you because of your inability to read aloud. I know the feeling of embarrassment and shame when a friend gives you a spelling dictionary as a gift because your spelling is so atrocious. I know what it's like to be a dyslexic who was not identified until adulthood. The weight of finding out about your learning difference so late in life carries a heavy load and really messes with you. I carry a lot of baggage from my past and it has taken a lot of work and perseverance to iron it all out. I knew early on that I had two paths I could take to deal with my new friend called "Dyslexia." One path was to harbor anger and resentment while continuing to bury my shame and pretend everything was great on the outside. Or I could choose the road less traveled, take a deep breath and face the demons of shame, and arrive at a place where dyslexia is hysterical. I chose to do the heavy lifting and face my dyslexia head-on.
Two years ago I might have traded my dyslexia in to be "normal." What I didn't know then is there is no such thing as "normal." Who decided what normal is, anyway? Today I live a very funny life and it provides endless comic relief. A few months ago while browsing Facebook, I saw a friend's status that said something about a gopher eating the grass in her backyard. For about 10 minutes I was trying to figure out why a golfer would be eating the grass in her backyard. Trying to rationalize this, I figured she lived on a golf course. Although this still didn't answer the question why a golfer would be eating the grass, I suddenly realized it was a GOPHER! It's like a scene out of Caddyshack but this is my real life! I spent the entire day laughing over this.
Shortly after this incident yet another prolific event sent me into hysterics. I was reading aloud a list of cities. I read placenta for Placentia. This might seem like a minor error that could happen to anyone; seriously that "I" seems pretty sneaky to me, but when your friend bursts out laughing and your daughter asks, "What's a placenta?", there is nothing more to do than laugh. How about the time I showed up to a dyslexic support group meeting when it was over? I had read the end time as the beginning time. Oh, the irony of it all is just too hysterical! These funny little things happen to me almost daily. It's so bad that my now 11-year-old tells me, "Mom! It doesn't say that!" when I read to her. Good thing the endless hours of tutoring for her dyslexia are paying off. Maybe she should start reading to me now!
Sure, I could go for self-loathing and embrace a shame storm, and yes, I do find myself there sometimes. However, I try not to allow myself to wallow there for too long because I recognize nothing positive can be created from that space. To be quite honest, it's just way more fun finding the humor in my mistakes. With two dyslexic children learning to come to terms with their own dyslexia, it's vital that they learn to have a sense of humor about it as early as possible. In our family we spend a lot of time laughing. Out of all the disabilities one might have, dyslexia has got to be the funniest. That being said, would I trade my dyslexia today to be "normal?" The answer is no. Sure, there were some really difficult and discouraging times in my life, but I don't have to live in that space forever. I can move beyond the past and embrace that who I am today is a result of what I have experienced in my life. Through my weaknesses I can find strength and perseverance. I am still a work in progress and have a lot of ironing out to do in my life, but I know I have a choice of which path I want to take. I choose humor, because if I don't it's a slippery slope to self-loathing and despair. The next time you head to the city of Placentia, I know you'll be thinking of the city "Placenta" and will laugh!
Dyslexia: It's a funny life I lead and I wouldn't change it for anything!