Are you Dyslexic? I am. If you have this condition then you may understand why I did not include the date on the last mail out that I sent about the Melbourne Summer intensive. Then, if you went to the website to look for it, you would have found the wrong dates! Things like this happen all the time. It can be extremely frustrating and stressful, even devastating at times. A similar thing happened with my last Italian workshop email. This time it was not the date but the heading! Heading are pretty important, some people would have simply deleted the email in disgust. Working in Italy is a double wammy, the Italian I am comfortable with is the one I made up when I was a small child. I realized that Italian was phonetic so I just started writing. That is magic of being Dyslexic, we are endowed with a mind that sees beyond boundaries, it all made perfect sense to me. Italy is also famous for dialects every town has its own. The Italian that I was writing when I was a small child was based on my family’s dialect! In Italy I am constantly being corrected for speaking a funny mixture of dialect/english/italian.
I can mostly laugh about all of this now, but over the years it caused me a lot of discomfort. I was not officially recognized that I had Dyslexia or what is termed a learning disorder as a child or teenager. I scarped though Year 11 English because I had a compassionate Irish socialist english teacher who tutored me. It may have been a very different story if I had of been. Essays were and still are a nightmare. I’ve lived with the criticism of people who are grammar perfectionists, and their intolerance for mistakes. They have a tendency to speak to you like you are a complete idiot and the world will fall down if you spell something wrong. Once this used to hurt, but over the years I grew to let it go and to just keep going. I actually love writing, so I do, in spite of of it all. What I have over grammar perfectionists is that I can read and understand just about anything that anyone writes because I don’t see the mistakes. Dont get me wrong, I welcome, appreciate and need to be corrected, otherwise I would not manage to publish the writing that I do. As I write this, I feel quite sad and teary. I often envisage what Life would be like if I could simply write something and know that after some spell check activity, I could press the send button and go on with my day. But it is fare from that, first I will have to go over it many times myself, I will most definitely not see some things that need fixing no matter how many times I read over it. I then give it to someone else to check and maybe I can let it go. Once a frustrated lecturer asked me why I did not use spell check. Spell check does help a little, but Dyslexia it is way beyond the capability of spell check. Dyslexia takes a number of forms like, getting things like ‘the”, “a” and “and” or “yes” and “no” mixed up. Getting numbers back to front, like the date and the days back to front on my website and more. When I speak things can get jumbled in my head, so I loose track of the words that I want to say. All of this creates challenges that I have lived with it all my life. In 2009 I went through the costly process to be diagnosed with this gift of imperfection. Not quite sure what it achieved but I had to do it to do continue with my Dance Movment Therapy Diploma. If I had of been attending a Pubic university it would have been very helpful. I would have had had access to anything and everything that I needed to make my learning experience as smooth as possible.
In spite of my struggle, I have managed to achieve quite a lot including, I publishing a 4 season newsletter for 4 years, competing an Advanced Diploma in Dance Movment Therapy that required a great deal of writing. I continue to write online mail outs, work sheets compendiums for my students and on my websites, to name a few.
I know that my brain works in different ways to other people. I am able to see things outside of the box and out of the ordinary which can give me a different perspective on life. That is the characteristic of Dyslexics. Richard Branson, creator of Virgin, a dyslexic, tells a story about how he was in a board meeting of his own company and had to be explained the difference between gross and net profit. He got it when someone explained to him that the gross amount was like an ocean full of fish and the net amount were the fish that were caught in the net. I think this is brilliant! In spite of the lack of this seemingly essential quality, he is a very successful business man. He is the creative force, the kernel of his company.
I will conclude by sharing with you a story that was told to my by a lovely man, who was the first person to retail organic food in Melbourne. He really was a delightful person who has since passed away. He was Dyslexic and the story that he told was, that one day, he spent many hours writing a poetic love letter to his wife. He told me that he had poured his heart out to her, telling her how much he loved her and all that she meant to him. As she read the letter, her response was to point out to him all the grammatical and spelling mistakes he had made with out being able to read what he was truly saying. She could not see the beauty of his words as he expressed his love for her. The sentiments, that this man has so thoughtfully and painstakingly put together for her were overlooked and disregarded. As you can imagine this broke his heart.
So next time someone can’t spell, speaks to slowly or gets muddled with dates, letters or numbers be kind to them. Give them space to express what they need to say. You may be given a gift, beyond a perfectly constructed grammatical sentence, something unique and refreshing that you would may not have considered or heard before.
I have decided to send this out without giving it to someone else to edit so get ready! I will give a prize to the first person who points out any error that they find!