Dyslexia Doesn’t Change Who I Am

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Courtesy of UK.Com

Tihs   ishow I   mornally  read  everydayt ryign todecibher  simpelw ords in sentecnes,. Ia  mdsylexic.

Fourth grade. The words echoed in my mind as I thought about the milestone I had achieved as a 4th grader. Holding my sweating hands I attempted to slow my rapidly beating heart, mulling over the psychologist’s diagnosis. Dyslexia. I’d always been slower than the other kids. It took me an hour to finish assignments that should have really only taken 20 minutes. I’d never really stopped and questioned my speed. Sure, I had to work twice as hard as my classmates but I was just slow. Right?

In the blink of an eye, everything changed. My mother accompanied me to school the very next day to inform my teachers about my “disability.” The word made me flinch every time, while the accompanying look of pity made me sick. I hated that look. I hadn’t changed; only the label over my head had.

While I appreciated the accommodations that my school provided, I couldn’t help but wonder how my classmates would react to me. With my mother being a prominent teacher at school, there was always tension with my classmates over the “advantages” they thought she provided me with. I feared this newest revelation would push them over the edge. And as my teacher escorted me out of the room to continue my test, I felt the judging eyes of my classmates follow me out, and I knew I was done.

Weeks passed and I continued to struggle with work and my classmates. Slowly, my resolve began to diminish. I had never felt more alone. Most of my classmates fought for the adoration of others. But as I sat alone with a book in hand in the lunch room, I longed not to feel loved, but to simply feel accepted.

In that moment, I never hated my “disability” more. I pushed my papers to the ground, holding back the hot tears which I knew were coming. The emotions that I had been holding back for weeks all came rushing to the surface. For once, I allowed myself to wallow in my self-pity. After a couple of days, though, I grew tired of pity. It just didn’t suit me.

So, as any millennial would, I turned to Google. Through it, I found a source of comfort in the words of other dyslexics and their stories. We were in good company with the likes of famous people such as Albert Einstein and F. Scott Fitzgerald, whom never let their disability define them. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone.

While it is still difficult for me at times to admit it, I am coming to terms with my disability. My personal goal has been and continues to be not allowing my dyslexia to define me, but to simply be another facet of myself. I am not my dyslexia. I am simply Elizabeth.

-Elizabeth Valades