I have spent my life feeling different. And not just a little different, but WAY OUT there different.
My recent catch phrase is “I see dead people, really. But it’s no biggee.”
When someone wants to slap me high five I feel my arm stuck to the side of my body. When everyone stands up for ovations at the end of a show I feel silly joining in unless I totally LOVED what I saw. When watching a sporting event it would never occur to me to cheer or take a side, it seems ridiculous…and to wear a Jersey of a team? I just really don’t understand that businesses? What are you trying to say?
I used to think I was an alien, not the non-American in America kind, but from some other way better planet, and I’m just here as an experiment…but they forgot to let me know what I was supposed to be looking for, or doing, or becoming. They forgot to tell me how to get home. I also thought I was stupid…since everyone else was getting this “fit in” experience, and my total inclination has always been to go the other way.
Then I tried to blame it being Aquarian mixed with Jewish (read: Dawn of the new age mixed with Chosen People). But that was a lot of expectation and responsibility, and while I like both, that was overkill.
But I also believe in luck and right timing, and I just met a man who is teaching me about his experience with dyslexia. And in speaking with him he told me that he always feels like an imposter. And I leaned into that. I had never heard those words out of another person’s mouth before.
And I felt hope dawn.
Could it really be as easy as that I have a different learning style? That I’m not from a magical planet where everyone loves everyone, and there is no senseless violence or war and everything you need for your beautiful existence is available at all times? (Yes, I’m talking about doughnuts that don’t make you fat!)
I questioned him…a lot…and I got to trace this belief pattern in myself all the way back to the beginnings of my learning experience.
You know that game for young kids where you put the wooden square shape block into the square cut-out on on a wooden board? I could never do it. I never understood why the square went into that shape, because it didn’t look like that to me. And then when my mom showed me the “right way” I could see it…and repeat it. But I could never figure it out on my own.
And I have always been a strange but voracious reader. When I read, I see the book in my head like a full-on over produced movie…But the parts of the book-movie I pay attention to were never what the teachers thought were the most important parts to pull out.
For instance, the way the light highlights someone or something is far more interesting to me than plot. Or the way that someone was thinking or feeling is way more engrossing than anything else, frankly.
They sent me to a special after school reading class when I was a kid because it seemed that I didn’t get comprehension. They taught me to pick out the parts that were “important”, and reading stopped being fun, but my test scores improved.
In Math class I looked at jumbled messes of numbers and constantly raised my hand wanting more explanation, but the class size was too large and everyone else was fine…so my teacher patted me on the head and told me I was so good at reading that I should just focus on that.
And I bought that. I stopped trying because the message was I could just move towards what was easy for me…but what I remember is wanting to understand. I remember loving the numbers, they just confused me. But I put that away and moved towards what I knew, because that’s where I got the most validation…and I think I’m still living my life that way…in many respects.
So back to real time, speaking with this man who has spent his whole life finding a learning style that works for him…and then he mentions that intuition is something many dyslexic’s are great at because they usually see things happening far faster than the average person.
And I said, “I’m really great with intuition. In fact, it’s kinda the only way I can tolerate getting information any more because my brain is lazy.”
And I heard myself say that out loud. And I felt shame. I didn’t immediately understand why…but I definitely felt shame.
And I thought about that. My whole life I have assumed I was less than, that I was stupid, that I was a poor learner. That I was lazy in the brain cell work out department.
But perhaps there is another explanation.
When I think about how hard I had to work to tap into my intuition, to be an open vessel, to learn to trust the images and messages…it is anything but lazy.
There was a time in my life while I was growing this skill when I had a constant Migraine for over a year. It was described to me later that I was opening my third eye…all I know is, it was unpleasant.
But there are fun parts too. My partner is a wine distributor. That’s not the fun part…well, that’s kinda fun. But the point is, he will have me taste a wine, and within a few moments I can tell you the price the wine should be, and more importantly I can tell you the intentions of the wine maker.
I know, rad huh? I’m his party trick pony.
You wouldn’t believe how unpleasant some of the intentions are though. I just spit that wine out.
But more than wine, my learning style is about understanding people. About seeing where they are in life and where they want to go, and what’s in the way of that happening. Sometimes the truth is hard to say because there is no tactful way…but I try the best I can.
Sometimes it’s unwanted…like strangers on a bus…or even patients that just want their back pain to go away, but there is a message in there that wants to be heard…weather they are ready for it or not.
And sometimes it’s hard on relationships when one person just wants to sit in what they are going through and pretend it’s not there, and I can see it…and I want to talk it out…but they don’t want a therapist…they just want to try to have a good time.
It didn’t come with an instruction manual. Being human or an intuitive.
And then I trace this back to the fitting in part. More then reading, how I learn is hearing something and seeing if it’s a truth in my gut. If I’m certain this is true. Then I learn it. So the more opinions I hear, the clearer I can get to a truth. And it’s always shifting, never stable, which is totally irritating to some people.
It’s why I never fit in with the popular kids…being fake or doing things just because others are doing them didn’t and doesn’t feel good in my body. It’s a perfectly tuned sensor to balance. And for some reason that balance has always been in my body.
But I will tell you, I have really been giving some thought to the idea that I’m not smart enough. Who gets to really decide how someone learns anyhow? I don’t remember anyone trying to figure out with me another way to do Math. It was this way, or just go read.
I know that history was taught awfully in school. I’m sure those teachers always drew the short stick. But I could never keep the dates or timing right because I have a hard time remembering numbers. It was always my worst subject, even worse than math. But in college, I took a history class that was taught entirely in story. The professor stood at the front and told about the time through the eyes of a family. And I remembered EVERYTHING.
How many kids are falling through the cracks? How many are forced to feel like imposters? How many are having their true talents wasted while a failing system throws them into a box and says, “Conform.”
How many people are 40 years old before they get their first glimmer of realization of their worth, their place?
If I hadn’t been talking with this man I still wouldn’t be able to go back in my memory banks and soothe all the memories to have a different outcome. I still would be under the impression that I’m not smart enough. That I don’t understand things like others…instead of thinking this emerging thought that others don’t see things like me!
This man said to me…”there is no Learning Disability– it’s that they haven’t found their learning style.” And I feel deeply saddened for all those out there still searching. Might you know anyone who fits this bill? Might you be their champion…to help them discover the way their beautiful mind works?
There is even more diversity of thought out there than Democrat, Republican, Stupid Conservative Republican (sorry…that can’t be erased) White, Black, Red, Brown, Yellow, Gray, Old, Young, Vegetable, Animal, Rich, Poor, Middle Class….
There is another dimension…a rich dimension where we may just find this world’s true super heroes. Where we may just un-tap potential we couldn’t even dream up!
So, who is really the imposter?
Please note…If there is an AD below this…it’s not from me or my choice….I recommend ignoring it….Again, my post stops here! Thank you so much for reading….