Dear Dyslexia: The Struggles and Strengths of Dyslexia

Dear Dyslexia,

I am left speechless by how much I have to say to you.

I hate you, because you kept me from reading and writing for so long. Being in third grade and still not being able to spell “of” was diminishing. Failing all my spelling tests for years, despite the time I sat and studied with my mother. My run-on sentences were longer than the Empire State building is tall. To this day, I still read three times slower than my peers. I still can not spell, and comma splices are enemy number one. Do you know how embarrassing it is to have people continuously point out your spelling mistakes? To tell you how you are spelling so badly that a child can spell better than you? Do you know how stupid you made me feel for so long? I dropped a college course because of you. The textbook didn’t make sense, and they graded on spelling. I changed my major because of you. Even as a child you made me feel lost and inferior as I saw all the other kids reading and writing years above my grade level. I had to work so darn hard to catch up, and I still read and write slower. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t dyslexic.

I love you, because I learned to think differently from a young age. Even in middle school I would create arguments about characters in literature that opposed the teachers, arguments that forced their perspectives in a new directions. I love you because I was taught pain and struggle from a young age. I knew how to empathize with others and learned how to see from their perspectives, even if they were nothing like me. I love you because you made me think differently. I think in patterns. I excel at mathematics. You did that. You taught me. You gave me the persistence and grit I need to get through life. You taught me to always bounce back from setbacks. You taught me to deeply analyze. Dyslexia made me a better person.

Through the good and the bad, we are a team. I didn’t get a choice in that, but I am getting used to it. Life is tough sometimes, but we wrestled through it together. We failed together, and we succeed together. I see a bright future, despite the dark past. We don’t look there anymore. I’ll take all the things you have shown me along the way and walk with you into whatever the heck is in front of us.

–You know who