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  • Writer's pictureArmelle

Dyslexia & Me, Part 1: Hi, I'm Armelle

‘No, are you really…?’

 

The ‘dyslexic’ was silent. God forbid that word is spoken aloud. That’s what chaotically spawned from of my manager’s fingertips in his typed response to when I wrote a self-deprecating joke about myself on Microsoft Teams chat. Clearly, I thought he was a different person. Knowing what he learnt after this fateful interaction – that I was dyslexic – he probably thought I was dying or something. Of embarrassment, for sure.

 

Reactions to my dyslexia vary from ‘but you don’t look dyslexic?’ to ‘sorry to hear that’ with the occasional muted response which in no way is awkward at all…

 

Younger me fell behind so much in school that the other kids in my class ran laps around me. To this day, I don’t feel I’ve in all respects caught up to their level - memories from school keeping me hostage, my fragile thoughts seeing everything through the lens of playground politics like a swindler ready to be outed at any moment.

 

Being diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia when I was 21 was timely, to a fault. When at university trying to make sense of why I felt like I was different, I get hit with the realisation that I am not the same as others. My biggest achievement in life is knowing that I could have told that to the visiting psychologist at the beginning of the three hour-long interrogations. My proven hypothesis: I was different.

 

In those small moments waiting for the person who I believed controlled my career at that time to move on from that untimely joke, I had never truly felt more mismatched to the people around me.


Several times I’d had that feeling – euphoric yet terrifying. Staring up at the ceiling choosing not to stare down at the page in English class meant I spent an ungodly amount of time in the learning support room, taken to pity rather than aggression from my teachers.


That allowed me to stay out of detention, and instead repaying my inattentiveness and confusion with mindless staring in another room that in my mind served the same purpose. I was struggling enough, is anyone going to care enough to consider that I may not just be ‘wasted potential’ or ‘too bright to care about my education’?

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