I use to think I was born broken. I think thats why I really connected to the play “Heart of a Dog” by Terry Galloway. The play is about a woman who becomes deaf due to her mother taking medication and almost dying when she was with child (the main character). The character, who is speaking to her dog the whole time questions life and we dive deep into the characters soul and pain, pain of being alone.
When I was born, I was sick. I don’t remember exactly what I had, its been awhile since my moms talked about or I’ve bothered to ask, (I rather not know any ways, it’s not a fun story to hear) but it was something along the lines of hay fever or scarlet fever. I’ve been told this may be the cause to my learning disability. But their will never be a clear answer. APD hasn’t been studied very much and theres very little research on it, then of course I have a whole series of other problems that could be classified under numerous other learning disability, from mild problems and then to more severe ones, or as one special education teacher thought, that maybe I had a mild form of autism. That was the hard one to hear, because my parents firmly believe I was just as smart as anyone else, but for some reason, teachers and students wanted to prove my parents wrong, tried to prove me wrong and sometimes I believed them.
I felt broken.
I don’t know if this feeling started out within myself or someone else made me feel this way…I think grown ups made me feel this way, and kids too.
You know its funny because I saw a picture today about a boy who wore pink shoes to school and the kids at school said nothing negative and actually complimented him on the shoes, but his mother wrote that she got about twenty negative comments from parents. But I wish I could say the same about kids with finding out I was in special education. I was made fun of a lot by kids at an early age.
At an early age I learned it was better not to tell my classmates I was in special education and when a kid would tease me I would tell myself, “they are young and they don’t know any better.” I still can’t believe that in third grade I was already understanding concepts like this.
I remember one time when I was little, I was sitting on my mothers lap, crying about someone making fun of me for being pulled out of regular classes and she said to me, “Sally Annie, think about it like this, you’re going to be so much more grown up then all your classmates.
I was born “broken” I think differently, I look at things differently, I hear sound no one else can hear, and some sounds i can’t hear. This disability has always made me feel a little “broken” So ever since I was a little kid I feel like I’ve been battling to just be “normal.” Now I’ve learned there is no “normal.” After years of struggling, fighting, overcoming I’ve finally learned there is no normal.
I just don’t see grammar, I don’t see mistakes in language, I wasn’t taught that way, I was born that way, I don’t hear it, I don’t see it. I use to think this was a weakness, this made me broken, but I’ve learned this is a gift too, because I look past the walls of languages. I write so much more freely because I don’t seen the walls that everyone else can see.
But sometimes I wish more saw the language the way I do. I guess thats why I connect with writers with their books more then I can connect with others around me, they feel the same way I do, they see the same.
I’m glad I’m not “normal.” Although this is still a struggle I deal with everyday, from my friends and classmates; trying to get them to understand what I deal with on a daily basis is tricky, even my ex stopped understanding. I think its hard to because I am an intelligent person and I have social skills, but I wish people understood I still struggle. For example I was telling my friend Tina tonight about how sometimes no matter how many times I try and edit my poetry, look over it for spelling errors I’ll hand it over to my classmates and they will notice and tell me I misspelled “know” and I’ll be like shit I didn’t see that at all. I guess the best way to explain what I see on a piece of paper is, well its like a black spot over the words. I just see what I see in my mind, what I hear in my mind, and when someone else spots something for me, its like that shadow moved out of my way and I see it. Yeah, it’s a weird feeling.
This is what I go through on a daily bases, I constantly feel like I have to conform to society even outside of the classroom, like Facebook, tumblr,text messages, where “Standard American English shouldn’t matter, but people are very quick to point my mistakes out to me in well, not the most understanding of ways, more like a grammar nazi. I don’t think anyone realizes the amount of time it takes me to write anything. When I’m on Facebook chat and I want to say someone and I don’t know how to spell it and spell check doesn’t know what i’m trying to say, I have to type the word on google and go to a dictionary that will say the word back to me, so I can make sure it’s the word I’m looking for. Actually I’ll be doing exactly when i’m done working on this post. Then I’ll post this and every time I go through it I’ll find a new word misspelled, a new incorrect form of grammar usage. I take these steps everyday. It can be kind of a pain sometimes, especially with words like well shit “especially,” I can never remember how to spell that word or “definitely.”
Also lets get one thing straight, the whole point to my learning disability is I can’t sound out words, so if I know how to spell a word, its because I’ve seen it so many times I’ve memorized it. I have memorized every word I know, I can’t spell something through spelling it out.
I use to wish, pray that I would be normal, that I wasn’t broken.
I don’t wish for that anymore.
But sometimes I do wish people understood what I go through everyday, what I’ve been going through since I was born.
Take this advice from me, because I get this a lot from people. Don’t ever wish/think something is wrong with you. I think people sometimes want to be classified/labeled with a disability. And if I’m going to be completely honest I get very frustrated with people who come up to me and tell me they feel my pain because they are kind of dyslectic, or are ADD or AHD. Umm first of all extremely dyslexia is rough, I watched a whole documentary on it, damn those kids struggle. And second ADD and AHD, you can take something to help you and from the people I know that do, its a big old joke and they use it more to stay up to write papers, it turns into a drug they sell. I’m sorry but thats some bullshit. So stop thinking, stop acting like something is wrong with you. So what you get distracted, your antsy. I had to sit in speech therapy, with a popsicle stick on my tongue showing me where to put my tongue to form words. So don’t wish for that life. If I could I would rather have not gone through that; that was a terrible, embarrassing part of my life, where I cried a lot and prayed to God a lot. I’m older now and I understand that without those struggles I wouldn’t be the person I am today, but don’t wish that life on yourself.
Don’t go down that road unless your 100% sure you need to.
Sometimes I do feel stuck, I get frustrated that I can’t spell a simple word, and sometimes it does hurt my feelings when someone makes fun of my for my spelling.
But everyday I wake up with new images moving through my mind, books I’m excited to read, I’m thankful for reading “which is usually for most people” and I fall in love with my words, and I know my voice comes to life onto the page and you can feel my soul.
And remember this William Shakespeare came up with words and we still over thousands of those words in are language.
And maybe thinks about this too:
It is hrad to bveeile that I cloud raed and utadnrensd the wrods in fornt of me. It just pveors how ainzmag and idcebilnre the haumn bairn is. In a sudty ceetlpmod by Cmarbigde Uinevrtisy, lteetrs in wdros can apaper in any oedrr with the eticexpon of the fsirt and lsat ltteer (they msut aaeppr in teihr cerocrt pitsonois), and senomoe can siltl raed what is wetitrn. They elipaxn that the hmaun mind deos not look at each lteetr iladdunliivy, but ineatsd lokos at the word as a ctmoplee uint. Pterty dran azimang, huh? I wluod htae to tinhk that I mhigt have to caghne my psitooin on the mttear of wthheer crercot slenpilg is itrpmnaot or not.
So next time ask yourself, is spelling, is grammar really that important? Who told you that? Why is it that important? Why, when at the end of the day you can still understand what I was trying to say?
Because I may have terrible spelling and horrible grammar most of the time but I do know my words are more beautiful and mean more, because I’m more worried about how words make me feel not the structure, not where they should stand in line.
After years of testing, finally a break through senior year, finding out I have an above average reading level, and reading comprehension. Along with other series of above average skills, I finally learned why I was different, I had a special gift, I could hear words, I have authority processing disorder and that means, “word deafness” but I hear words, I just hear them differently.
I’m no broken, I’m a different kind of puzzle piece, a piece that belongs to a picture thats still forming, still developing, I’m the next generation of language.