To family, teachers, and friends who didn’t know,
I spent my childhood as a bitter soul. I grew to hate myself; It was me against the world and trust me, it is the loneliest feeling a 7-year-old can have. At an age when children are trying to figure out the world, I had the added burden of making sense of myself. I was lost and helpless, didn’t quite understand – all I could say was words weren’t my best friend. Today as an adult, I feel like I may know better. So my dearest friends, family and mentors I write you this letter – to open your eyes to the world which many still choose to ignore, a world of a dyslexic, full of struggle and pain if left misunderstood. I know my words will resonate with many, I believe it is something that needs to be talked about much more because there are thousands of children out there undiagnosed, as confused and frustrated as I was.
My aim in life became to prove myself at every odds, growing up; your complete acceptance and support were of utmost importance to me. But in return, I was often bullied and labeled. Therefore, my self-esteem dropped down extremely. I know most of you didn’t know any better, mainly because there was no place for me to start this conversation and you weren’t informed enough to understand my situation. So I became just another 7-year-old who hated school, who hated my teachers and hated everyone else who was better. Why? Because no matter how hard I tried, I was never good enough. Nobody wanted to acknowledge the real problem, and those who did weren’t willing to accept it – you see there are so many social stigmas attached to being a dyslexic. What troubles could a 7-year-old possibly have? “It’s all just drama.” Completely misunderstood, unable to articulate my frustrations to the world I got really good at hiding the struggle that existed within me, putting on a facade of bright emotions hopelessly accepting the false labels society decided to put on me. Maybe you didn’t realize it then, but your words cut deeper than a knife. My perception of myself was flawed because I made your opinions about me my reality.
Dear teachers, you told my parents I wasn’t good enough to cope up with the rest of the class. Teaching someone who isn’t willing to learn is just a waste of your time, but still, you said you were willing to try. You wanted to excel at your job and do your best. So you neglected the real problem and instead you made me read aloud in class because you believed only tough love could cure a lazy, stubborn student like me. But what you didn’t see was that I was fighting a war with the words, under the spotlight, as my peers sneered at my struggles. People misread my dyslexia as bad behavior, labelling me as a lazy student and also a failure.
Then I decided to tell the world I was a dyslexic but comments like “it is just an excuse,” “you are just trying to get sympathy” came my way. So somehow I managed to make it to the 12th grade, with a borderline C grade that somehow defined my intellect. I got used to being made fun of cause my memory was bad, or because I just couldn’t comprehend the conversations, my friends had. I was officially the “slow one” in my squad. I guess it’s natural to find humour at other people’s expense. That’s not bullying, learn to take a chill I was told. So I learned to laugh at myself with others, I didn’t even realise I became very bitter at heart. No self-esteem, no confidence, no grades – It came to a point I felt like my existence brought my family disgrace.
Oh, dear family, I know you tried your best to understand, but you weren’t well-informed about dyslexia’s far-reaching effects. It’s different for all and extends more than just difficulty with words. There is a reason why I can’t take instructions fast, or I get scared to take on new tasks. So next time when you scold me for not listening maybe repeat yourself twice? I will probably get it the third time. I guess you didn’t know exactly what dyslexia is, but now you can learn 🙂 It is good to be informed for the sake of those we love. Help me spread awareness to debunk the social stigma to this truth of every 1 out of 10. Dyslexic individuals are smarter and talented than people may think. They aren’t wrong, nor stupid it’s just that their brains are wired differently – it’s all about finding new ways to learn and help them discover their true potential.