A Writer Who Can’t Spell! … What?
Updated: Aug 2
Hello Fellow Readers!
I hope everyone is staying safe and making the most of any down time they may have. Hopefully you are getting caught up on your TBR (To Be Read) pile.
Many of you, if not most of you, have had to overcome limitations or obstacles in your life.
Here is a brief story of one of the hurdles I had to overcome …
When I was in 2nd grade I was pulled out of the middle of class. I was taken across the hall by some lady I had never seen before. She was not a regular teacher at my small school. She set up a legal-sized flip chart on a desk and instructed me to sit. For what seemed like hours she asked me to answer the questions on the flip chart while she recorded my answers. There was no telling how long it really took but to my seven-year-old brain it seemed like the torturous questions would never end. And this was just the beginning of several days of such tests.
I’m sure I asked the lady at least 100 times when recess was.
Eventually, my parents were called into the school. They were told that I had been extensively evaluated by an “expert.” My mom and dad were informed that I was severely learning disabled and that my condition was called dyslexia.
I was too young to understand all that was being said about me during this meeting, which was a blessing. All I knew was that it was really boring “adult stuff.” I wanted go home so I could play with my best friend who lived two houses away.
Mind you, this was way back when, just after the Jurassic Period, when they didn't know much about dyslexia. It was concluded that I was essentially unable to learn. They said that I would never be able to read well.
“Your daughter’s test scores were similar to those we see in children with down syndrome,” the ‘expert’ told my parents. “Your daughter will be lucky to get through middle school and there is no hope that she will graduate high school.”
I’m certain that school personnel today know just how damaging such horrible labels can be. Hopefully, they use more discretion before making such dire predictions.
My father’s furniture repair shop was in our basement. He would often take a brief break in the afternoons by laying on the floor and putting his feet up on an old rocking chair. This was a great opportunity for me to bother him. Although it really wasn’t a bother. He loved children and loved to play. So as usual, I ran to jump on him. He caught me with is feet and lifted me up in the air. I loved to pretend I was flying.
But on this particular day, after the school meeting, his ready smile was gone.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Your mom and I are worried.”
Those were words children dreaded to hear. “About what?” I asked.
“About your schooling. You will not be able to go very far in school.”
“So?” I said, as I held my arms out like I was an airplane soaring through the sky.
“Well, if you’re not able to do well in school … then the jobs you can do when you’re older will be … limited.”
“Like you will have to clean people’s house’s, or maybe you could become a janitor or something. You know, things like that.”
“But I don’t even like to clean my own room.”
My father frowned. “We’ll have to prepare you for … a life of manual labor.”
I’m sure I didn’t fully understand all this. But something that dawned on me, for the first time, was that school was important. If my wonderful father was upset about me doing poorly in school then maybe it was something I should pay attention to. I remember thinking that from that day forward I would actually try in school.
And try I did.
The Olden Days When Perms and Polaroids Were a Thing
I’m not sure why, it must be a part of my personality, because for some reason I didn't buy into the “experts” analysis of me. I'm sure at the age of seven it was not conscious but deep down I must have known that I could prove them wrong.
I've learned over the years that one of my greatest motivators is to tell me that I CAN’T do something. Instantly, I set out to accomplish the task. I'm grateful for this personality quirk or whatever it is. However, I can't help but feel terrible for the children who believed the “experts” back then. Children who internalized the diagnosis and believed the labels others placed on them. Such as …
“I'll never be able to graduate high school.”
“I'm stupid and there's nothing I can do about it.”
“I’ll only be able to work as a maid.”
Thankfully, I have loving and supportive parents. Yet, they did believe that I would never go very far academically. I’m grateful that they continued to love me even after hearing what a failure I would be.
I also had an amazing Special Education teacher (that’s what we called them back then).
I immediately went into her class in 2nd and 3rd grade and by 4th grade I was not only caught up with my class but I was also the top of my class. And that was a spot that I never gave up throughout middle school, high school, undergraduate, master’s program and a doctorate program. I was virtually a straight A student and salutatorian (yes, I had to look up how to spell this) of my high school class. I graduated each level on time or even in record time.
Plus, I just completed writing my fifth novel (Lost Powers, Book 2 in a Woman’s World Series).
Of course, now we know that dyslexia is not as bad as we once thought. Many young learners are able to compensate for the way their brain works. It simply means that we learn a bit slower. We have more to overcome.
Experts also know now that there are different types of dyslexia. For some it means they struggle with math at an early age. Which was not a problem for me. I always liked math. For me, being dyslexic, means that spelling does not come as naturally as it does for others.
I rely entirely too much on the great technology we have today, like spell check and Siri. Thank goodness for my patient editor.
People with dyslexia are perfectly capable of learning most anything. It may take longer but we are still very smart.
I would venture to say that most people have some sort of obstacle like this in life to overcome. It could be what society tells them about the color of their skin, their socioeconomic status or limits that other people set for them.
People Are What They Believe They Are
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right.” — Henry Ford
So why not tell yourself that you CAN accomplish your goals and dreams?
Tell yourself this again and again AND AGAIN until you believe it.
They say that you should reach for the sky. But the sky is not even a limit anymore. If you want to live in a space station or be a part of the first colony on Mars — you can. In fact, don’t even set these limits for yourself. You could be the one to invent space travel that can take humans out of this solar system. You can be whatever you want to be. You can do whatever you put your mind to. The point being, there are no limits but those which you set for yourself.
“If you can imagine it then you can achieve it.” — The Secret (Edited by Rhonda Byrne)
Please don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
If you believe that you’re not smart enough or strong enough or the right gender or the right race then that will be true.
I was raised in a loving white-middle-class family. And while I don’t deny the advantages this gave me, I also had obstacles to overcome. Like many, if not most people.
What’s your story? What are some limitations that you had? How did they affect you?
I look forward to hearing from you!
In the meantime, let’s stay at home and read.
Remember, especially in these crazy times, to imagine only the best.
Lots of Love,
Author Lynne Hill-Clark
The Lords and Commoners Trilogy
A Woman’s World Series
Rhonda Byrne. (2006). The Secret. https://www.thesecret.tv/store/