“Better a Witty Fool, than a foolish wit.” Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Act 1, Scene 5, Page 2.
Whenever there is loss or change in a family it makes you drive deeper into yourself and examine the past. Often with death tears are related to this, somehow I don't have enough left to cry. I don't think it is shameful to cry, I don't think it is weak to cry. I find in my case, I find death more of an inward journey of reflection than sadness.
During this crazy journey I call life, I have cried many tears and suffered much pain. The pain besides physical are the scars of school life and harsh labels and criticism of being dyslexic. This is my pain and this is for what I cry.
Ever since I can remember I have been labelled the stupid kid. With this labeling there comes resentment and hatred and the ability for others not to understand who I am or what I was. This does not affect me now although memories haunt me. I cannot relish myself in memories as I have 2 young children and a family that demand I move on, and really to sit and cry about the past to me is downright selfish. (In my eyes)
I was always a bright child although in reports from teachers when it came to reading and writing were reports of being disruptive, not able to concentrate and easily distracted.
Yes, I was all of those, but I was also not diagnosed with dyslexia.
At times now when I tell people I cannot tell my left from my right one of the first stepping stones to learning as a child and as a forty year old I cannot differentiate the two, people would laugh when I would say I was dyslexic and assume I was joking.
Then when I told them that it was the truth, they would treat me strangely. I did not feel strange, but I found it odd how people immediately thought that I was stupid.
Now I laugh, thinking “I am more than OK, I am happy with a beautiful family.”.
I would be banished from groups, and be labelled and laughed at and children were so cruel, I would not even want to imagine a child in that situation. I had been bashed in grade 5 so badly I had bruised ribs. Boys used to throw things at my temples in class to see if it was a dangerous spot on the head, and when sitting in class, the girls used to shove steel rulers into my back while a sadistic male teacher would know it was happening.
I would go home and cry for hours, the only reason I was not labelled for life the 'idiot' is that I had a love and understanding for classical music and excelled at Classical Ballet. All of my childhood I had been beaten and spat on for being stupid, and never telling my parents. Of course, all the reports the teachers gave to my parents were that I was disruptive and not all there.
My parents put me into one of Melbourne's Poshest girls schools to see if they could sort me out. Again, I was put in the 'Idiot' box. I must admit, going to school with some of the 'smartest' girls in the state and country was a little off putting but again everyone failed to see me as an individual. They were looking at the big picture of what a 'young lady' should be and act like. I rebelled very badly and I refused to fit in. I did not want to be a lady and used shocking language at the teachers, of which I am not sorry for because I believe I was voicing an opinion that they were not ready to be challenged with. I was expelled after a year. The biggest waste of a year of my life!
Looking for schools, and labelled a no hopper and useless human being with my parents tearing their hair out. I was still excelling at Ballet, but begun riding and taking dressage classes.
I began at an alternative school where I was not put into a box, where I was given freedom to think what I liked and be able to voice a opinion and even better, learn to listen.
I was unable to read, write and comprehend a book at this point, but at least I was aware that I had a voice in society and I did not have to fit in. This is where I challenged conformist views of society and recognised that people were learning like robots. I still could not learn in a conventional way, but I had my place in society and I was allowed to be who I wanted to be.
I could listen to Classical music while appreciating the lyrics of the Beatles, jazz riffs, chord progressions and work out to me that music was simply a mathematical equation. I could express myself within the arts, through visual art, dance and movement.
Everyone during my senior years knew I was 'different', but they could not put there finger on what it was.
I was then given the lead role in a Shakespere play, with everyone thinking that I would be hopeless. Within a two week period I had the play in my head and could recite it line by line and every person's role. I then found out that others had found this quite difficult. My memory is the key. I could not read, write or comprehend books, but repetition and being able to visualise stories was my key. People came up to me with looks of amazement after this looking at me like an alien, that the 'idiot' child actually had the ability to achieve.
Thus far, I can now read and choose to read anthropology, philosophy, text books and physics. Stephen Hawkins is now a hero of mine and 'New Scientist' is one of my favourite magazines.
All now is said and done, but I guess the moral to the story is, you never can tell yourself how far you have come in your life and what you achieve. With a sudden death of my husbands father a dear friend that has known me from a very young age came over to just be with me.
She told me, she remembered the time I could not read and write. She said in the nicest possible way, “No one would have ever imagined you would be where you are, doing what you are doing or have done what I have done.”
Today I look back and reflect, as I am like an elephant that recollects everything. Yes, I have come far, but we all have, we are constantly on a journey of discovery and evolution. Where this will lead me, I have no idea and for what I don't know. Who Care's? Only the future will tell.