New year, new day, new hope

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Happy New year!

This year, I resolve to treat every day as a gift (at least, I resolve to try). A new day and a new opportunity to do something good, be someone better.

2017 was a tough year. A death in the family. The end of a good job. Insurmountable challenges at school.

2018 is a new beginning. My daughter has moved to a wonderful new school. As for me, I am going to use my new found (and hopefully temporary) freedom from work to take better care of myself and my family. And, hopefully, to pursue a dream or two.

This is also an anniversary.

Two years ago, I found out I am dyslexic. One year ago, I started this blog.

I have learned so much over this time, and I’ve worked hard to get it down to 10 points. Here you go!

10 things I’ve learned about life with dyslexia

  1. I’ve spent a lifetime believing I’m not as smart as you. Now I know that’s just not true. I’m done with that. As Carly Simon (also dyslexic!) said: “I haven’t got time for the pain.”
  2. I won’t lie. My dyslexia isn’t easy some days. It slows me down sometimes and it has affected my career and my health. But I do not see it as a barrier to being the best me. I do think it gives me some wonderful strengths. It doesn’t define me, but I don’t think I’d be me without it.
  3. My dyslexia is a different – not lesser – way of thinking and learning. This is a major tenet of the neurodiverse and differently abled community, and I’m proud to be part of it.
  4. My brain is NOT a problem for you to fix. (see #2 & #3) Please don’t tell me you can “cure me” (but do offer evidence-based information, tools and support!). Please don’t imply that I’m lesser than others, or that I’m in any way broken. It’s wrong. And it hurts.
  5. Reading is actually fun if I read what, when and how I want to. I read slowly, read from back to front, look at the pictures. Whatever it takes. I read.
  6. Advocating for dyslexia-friendly schools and workplaces is like trying to paddle up Niagara Falls with a teaspoon. But I’ve sparked change in my corner of the world. And that’s good enough. For now.
  7. Don’t talk about me, talk to me. Educators, policy makers, advocates, literacy advocates need to include dyslexics like me in the conversation.
  8. My child is smarter, stronger, funnier, braver than I ever was at her age. The future is looking good.
  9. The world is full of wonderful people. Find them. Connect. Watch your world expand. Thank you to all the people who have reached out to me virtually and in reality this past year. There are too many to mention, but hopefully you know who you are! Many of you will be featured here at some point or other.
  10. I am the lucky one. If I feel even just a little bit sorry for myself, I remember I am safe, I am well fed, and I am loved. It doesn’t get better than that. I wish the same for everyone in the world.

One last note – my go-to “uplifting” song from 2017 is by the Swedish singer Klara. It lifts me and helps me “breathe again.” Hope it does the same for you.

 

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