Living, Learning and Leading with Dyslexia
Many of you have no idea that I’m dyslexic. I hide it and NEVER talk about it. If you’re a family member, a close friend or a past co-worker you probably already know. After struggling through high school, college and into my 20s at work, I feel like I need to tell my story. Maybe my story about living, learning and leading with Dyslexia can help someone else.
I never understood why God made me so stupid. This is what I would think about myself. It wasn’t fair. It ruined me in my younger days. I was depressed, embarrassed, frustrated and helpless. I knew I was never going to succeed at anything in my life because I couldn’t even pass an English class. I was terrified of college, knowing I wouldn’t be able to make it there. I was scared of my future.
When I was 8 years old, I was standing in our family room with my dad, brother and sister. My dad was teaching us how to tell our lefts from our rights. He said “Put out your left hand, it’s the one shaped like an L when you look at it”. I had this in the bag, for one I was the oldest, so I was smarter than my brother and sister. For two my name was Lindsay. I knew exactly which hand was an “L”, because I wrote it down every time I spelled my name. My dad said it again. “Put out your left hand, when you look at it, it’s the one shaped like an L”. Everyone was looking at me. I looked down at my hand and I was shocked. I swear to this day I put out the correct hand, but I didn’t. I put out the hand with the backwards L. It was my right hand.
My dyslexia was so bad they gave me an IEP (Individualized Education Program) in the 4th grade. This made it worse, I knew there was something wrong with me. Teachers treated me different. My friends asked me questions or made it into a joke when I would mess up or fail a test. They just thought I didn’t work hard or study. Even though I probably studied twice as long as they did.
I went to special classrooms for extra help. I went to extra reading classes outside of school, even in the summertime. I took my tests in a separate room. I had to memorized everything. My spelling was terrible. My parents would stay up late and help me study with dumb flash cards. I would listen to audiobooks while I followed along in my textbook and the worst part was I still never really got it.
I had to learn the hard way from a past job to always tell my boss and co-workers up front about my dyslexia, or else they’d think I had trouble comprehending or some sort of hearing problem. That was a mess and very hard to deal with. It was extremely frustrating and always embarrassing.
The worst part about growing up with dyslexia, is you don’t grow out of it. I still have it, I still struggle every single day. Just writing this post, I’ve had to Google about 20 words, spell check obviously, move words around, rewrite sentences over and over, change all the words that I spelled right but didn’t use correctly. To be completely honest, my husband will probably proofread this 2-3 times for me. (Thanks babe).
My whole life I felt like I had to work extra hard. My dad always said “This will be great for college, because you’ll already know how to study and work hard.” He was actually right. Nothing I’ve ever done has been “easy” which is why I am the way I am as an adult. The struggle I faced growing up, has given me the grit, the motivation and the never give up attitude that most people don’t have. There are a lot of things I’m not good at, but the things I am good at, I’m the best at.
Your struggle may not be dyslexia. Yours may be completely different, but I’m sure you struggle with something, and that something could either ruin your life or change your life as well as others’.
I’m about to turn 30 and I’ve learned now that the saying is true, “God will not bring you to what he can’t help you through”. God tests us everyday and gives us opportunities to learn and grow. We can use our struggles to help others. That’s the purpose of this site, and the purpose of this post. No matter what you’re going through, whatever your struggle is, there is a reason for it. It’s hard to talk about, it’s hard to think about, but it’s true. You may not realize it yet, but just believe that God has made you the way you are for a reason.
Today, just know that God created YOU to be on this earth, at this exact time, with your exact eye color, your body, your hair, your intelligence, your strength, your health and your heart, so you can share your knowledge and experiences to help others. What do you struggle with? It might be time to take a longer look at it, because it may just change your life.
If you struggle with dyslexic too, I would love to hear your story.
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