The other day I was driving with my sister and I looked out the window and saw some kids holding manila envelopes while walking home from their last day of school. Report card day. I fucking hated that day. I actually began feeling nervous thinking about walking home with that goddamn thing in my hand. I knew my summer would be over and it hadn’t even started yet. I kind of feel like I never got to enjoy life as a kid. Worry and repercussions for my poor behavior/inability to apply myself in school ruined all the good stuff for me. I was always in trouble and if I wasn’t in trouble just yet, I was about to be soon so I was always feeling nervous. The minute my summer started getting good and the anxiety and trouble from the school year of the past dissipated I began dreading the school year coming up. When I told my sister about this feeling she showed signs of empathy. It was almost like an “Ah ha moment”. I saw her at that moment realize how difficult school really was for me. It is crazy how I am just now able to, as an adult, articulate my experiences and feelings with people and have them understand what my young life was like dealing with undiagnosed and untreated learning disabilities. I never brought a report card home and felt I did a good job or even better than I did the last time. I don’t remember having a teacher or grown up, for that matter, know or understand what was wrong with me. The anxiety I felt the few days leading up to report card day was intense. I do not exaggerate when I talk about my learning disabilities. I had it really bad as a kid in that regard. As a kid, adolescent, teenager, young adult and sometimes now as an adult. I do not believe I ever had a day in school where I understood what was being taught or knew what was going on. That was every day for years and years of my life. This was until I was in my twenties and went to college by choice and not by force. By then I had learned some tools, my frontal lobe had fully developed and my decision making was a little more on target than it had been in the past. As a kid I just went through the motions because I had to. Every morning I got dressed, ate breakfast, and headed to school with paralyzing anxiety because my mom always reamed my ass right before school and also because I had no idea what the hell was going on in school. I swear on everything, I do not have one single memory of studying and understanding one single thing ever. And then report card day would come and the proof was in the pudding. I didn’t know what the hell was going on and now there was good old fashioned proof if it. I would get yelled at, grounded, you name it. That started to not bother me after the years would go on because I had already mentally prepared myself for all of that and I knew it was the worst that would happen. They weren’t going to kill me. Sometimes I wish they would have, though. The humiliation of being 13 years old and having to stand in front of my class and recite a speech I didn’t do because I didn’t understand the directions after being told 5 times how to do it caused enough anguish, pain and confusion inside of me I wished for death. I remember hearing my parents talking about me. They thought I might be “retarded”. I remember what I thought when I heard them say that. I was like… I don’t look like I am “retarded”. But I feel like I might be and if my parents think I am then maybe I am. I was so embarrassed thinking other people outside of my home may think this of me. I was ashamed of myself.
The reason why I like to talk about this shit is not for people to feel bad for me. Not my style. I typically don’t talk about things while the wounds still hurt. I wait until they are healed and then my story is all of yours to know. I like talking about this now because adversity could have fucking ruined me. And the truth is it did for most of my life. But it isn’t going to for the rest of my life. Do I still have learning disabilities? Yes. I always will, but I have learned tools to survive. Not just survive but thrive! I still have a lot of work to do. I will never be normal. My brain will never be like yours. It will never think like yours or understand like yours. It takes more effort and time for me to do a simple, mundane task than you. Making a bed at times can prove to be difficult. It just depends on the day. But I never give up. I never throw in the towel. I get frustrated. Sometimes I have pity parties and wish I could think straight because I would have it so much better, easier. But I cant. This is me. This is my mind. There are days I go to bed and I am just proud of myself for simply making sure my kids had 3 decent meals and went to sleep happy. I pat myself on the back and thank my lucky stars I was able to do what I did for them because that day was the worst day I had in a long time in terms of my mind. I will lay there and realize I didn’t do one GD thing I needed to do for myself. The to do list I wrote for myself that day wasn’t even looked at. I didn’t do essential necessary shit that needed to get done but I literally couldn’t do it because I was unable to think that day beyond keeping my kids alive and happy. Those are my hardest days. But my hardest days are good days nonetheless because now I can learn. Now I can understand. Now I can love my mind for all that it is. I am grateful for the adversity I have experienced in my life and will continue to experience because I am who I am today because of it. I have learned not to be embarrassed of my mind but to be proud. I may not think like you or the way I am “supposed to” but it doesn’t matter anymore because what my mind thinks is now able to be articulated and I believe what I think is fucking awesome.
Love it. Live it. Share it.