Dyslexic & Proud

Dyslexic & Proud

My biggest fear is having to read aloud in public.

My biggest fear is letting someone read what I’ve just written.

I know this might sound strange for someone who runs a blog, but there is a reason behind this.

I’m dyslexic.

Something I’ve always been so ashamed of, something I’ve always kept hidden like a dirty secret, but as I’ve got older I learnt that it is part of who I am. I shouldn’t be ashamed of being dyslexic, but be proud of all the things I’ve achieved.

Being dyslexic has made me the person I am.

I have a BA honours in Sociology & Criminology it wasn’t easy but I did it.

What I’ve come to realise is I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of, in fact, all the people who pre-judge me and my fellow dyslectic people should feel ashamed.

I’ve gone most of my life with people thinking I’m not capable of doing things because I’m dyslexic, which in turn led me to believe the same, but that’s just not true. I’m capable of so much more them people give me credit for.

When I left school I could barely read, my written work was a joke, but I wasn’t going to give up. I taught myself to read and somehow fell in love with reading.

I’ve always said reading saved my life, it opened new doors, it allowed me to grow as a person and allowed me to understand things that I could never before.

When I was at primary school my mum noticed that I was having trouble with my learning, she informed my school and even suggested that I was dyslexic, she was told she watched to much TV as a few days before there had been a program which addressed the taboo subject of dyslexia. Many of the signs my mum saw in me but sadly no one would listen.

When I began secondary school once again my mum informed them of my learning difficulties, this time I was put into a class for children with learning difficulties, but this didn’t last long as I was deemed too intelligent for the class and would spend most of the day helping to teach the other students. So I was put back into my original classes.

It wasn’t until I was in my last year at secondary school that they acknowledged that I could be dyslexic, I was in the top band in most subject, but my mum was asked to attend a meeting to discuss my GCSEs. My school wanted to move me down a band or two as they believed I wouldn’t pass my exams as my spelling was so poor for the examiners to understand; therefore I would be marked down. My mum was also told that I would not receive a dyslexic test as I was in my final year and it would cost too much.

I left school and went to college where once again nothing was really done for me.

I left college and began university, even with everything against me I still manage to achieve pretty good grades. I hated University with a passion, I used to commute from London to Bristol every day, I would sit on the train and cry as I hated it so much, and was struggling with the coursework so after my first year I dropped out and vowed to never go back.

It wasn’t until years later when I decided to go back to university that I was diagnosed with dyslexia, its funny but when I got my results back I cried. I think even though I’d always known that there was something wrong with me, someone, actually saying it made it real. Before it was just something people had assumed but now it was official, worst still it gave me a label which I didn’t want.

Even now as I write these words, I’m upset, it’s not because I haven’t dealt with being dyslexic, its because I guess the memories are still raw of how I used to feel, the feeling of being dumb and never being good enough can still hurt at times.

When people doubt you its not always easy to get over.

I remember being asked by a teacher if I’d cheated, as I was dyslexic and couldn’t possibly of known the answer.

I guess the one good thing throughout all of this was my mum, she’d always believed I was dyslexic and had supported me in every decision I ever made. To help push me my mum would buy me presents when I got good marks and passed exams. I don’t really know what I would have done without her.

When I went university the second time around, I was given a support teacher called Barbara who would help me each week by looking over my essays, the one thing I loved about Barbara was she never corrected my work she just highlighted my mistakes and would help me understand where I was going wrong.

At the beginning of my last year Barbara was diagnosed with cancer, so I was given a new support tutor, it was hard working with someone new but as I knew the situation, I couldn’t complain. After three weeks with the new tutor, I was contacted by Barbara who said that she wanted to see me through my last year, so we continued to meet up every week.

On my last session with Barbara, she told me that when we first met she believed I had no hope of getting a degree as I was all over the place and needed so much guidance, but she was leaving me today knowing that I no longer needed her help as I’d grown so much and was able to see my own mistakes.

Barbara was the most amazing teacher and is one of my heroes.

She died the day after my graduation.

When I started writing this post it was intended to go one way but as I sit here crying my heart out. I have nothing more to say apart from.

This is for Barbara Cole, if it wasn’t for her I would never have had the courage to write a blog.

What are your fears and how are you overcoming them?