The never-ending line of ‘M’s were a beauty to behold. An achievement, something to be proud of. It was my finest work to date and I couldn’t wait for my reward at such craftsmanship. A gold shiny star that glistened with success. I looked up at my teacher, beaming and said “Ta da!” to which the response I got was “Oh…errr…umm…it’s a lovely drawing Emma…what is it supposed to be again?”
“It’s my name, see I have written my name.” My teacher gave me a blank stare that would forever follow me for the rest of my life. The look of confusion and utter horror that the swirl of squiggles before her was in fact a word and not a drawing.
“Well…that’s…lovely…anyway” She mumbled about needing to tidy up and I was left empty and lost. Something that I would become accustomed to feeling for many years to come. I looked down at my name ashamed and quickly shoved it away in my drawer before anyone else could see. Keeping my head down I wiped my eyes and hid myself away in the reading corner for the rest of the day.
This is the first memory I have of discovering that I was dyslexic. I was about 3 or 4, still in nursery and unaware of the curse I carried with me. It wasn’t until I started school that the teachers realised something was amiss as I always struggled with spelling tests. In a way it was a blessing in disguise, to find out that I was dyslexic. For you see dear reader, as a writer and avid bibliophile it is a bi*ch to have. It weighs you down, makes you feel stupid and dumb when all you want to do is indulge in your passion.
However. I learned from a young age not to let it be the end of me. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to write. I would fill notebook after notebook with my stories and spend hours in the library reading. I was determined to not let anything stop me living my dream.
Unfortunately there have been others that disagree. These being mainly teachers. They were extremely rude, questioned my work asking if I had family write it for me and had a nasty habit of reminding me every single day that I was dyslexic and therefore would never write. Even when they ‘tried’ to be supportive by getting learning assistants in, they just didn’t understand. My brain works differently, I see things different. That’s just how it is. It’s a pain in the butt. Their methods of trying to ‘help’ me spell and read better failed. In the end I taught myself. I developed my own system and of course they took the credit. It’s extremely frustrating trying to explain to someone who isn’t dyslexic why I think a word is spelled a certain way or why I pronounce certain words different to others. It’s like a blind spot. A curse.
I think a large portion of being where I am now is through my stubbornness, that combined with some good old-fashioned tenacity. I was told from a young age to give up and I quite rightly stamped my feet and screamed “NO!” I worked hard, got my GCSE’s, my A Levels and a 2.1 degree in Creative Writing and Film Studies. A big middle finger to everyone who ever doubted me and proof to myself that: Yes, I CAN do this. I have had poems and articles published in magazines, been asked to write for brands on their websites and sometime soon will be publishing my very own collection of poetry! I take great confidence that I can write and will write till the day I die. Nothing is going to stop me. Even if my hands drop off, I will aways, always find a way.
My advice to anyone who has ever been told they can’t do what they love is to say “Actually, I can.” And do it. It’s your life, don’t let anyone try to force you to live it any other way. If I had given up all those years ago, I dread to think where I would be now. Deeply unhappy I imagine, as writing is my life. Be true to yourself and remember you are not only awesome, but beautiful in what you do. Don’t give up the dream. Live it. Do it with passion.
My name is Emma and I’m a dyslexic writer, and proud! Time to celebrate with a doughnut I think. Nom nom nom.
Hop hop wiggle wiggle