Here are my honest confessions of the emotions of being the dyslexic "pretty" girl and not the "smart one":
As humans we all want what we don’t have and then oftentimes are not grateful for the gifts and talents that we do have. It doesn’t take long for anyone reading my posts to find a grammatical error or a misspelled word. I have learning disabilities and miss many things that need to be corrected. Having this kind of disability doesn’t bother me, but all of the emotional side effects do.
As my friends are in their first weeks of college I’m not joining them. I didn’t even apply for college because I didn’t meet the requirements to be accepted into any school that I was even slightly interested in (I’m not talking about private colleges, I’m referring to state schools). I am living with my parents trying to find work. Besides doing babysitting and house sitting I haven’t found anything. Society says that I just didn’t work hard enough in high school in order to be accepted into school, but that was not the case for me. Believe me, I worked hard but my effort hardly matched my results. I never turned in an assignment late, I spent many sleepless nights preparing and stressing over tests, and I spent my entire school career being stressed over simply “passing” just to end up barely graduating.
As a way to handle my stress, I would make myself feel beautiful. My motto was, if I can’t feel smart, I can at least feel pretty. I spent more hours doing my hair and make-up after school than before. I did it for me. It became my way to relax. I guess that I knew that I could never be the smart one but I could accomplish being the pretty one. I mean I might be considered ‘dumb’ for not understanding a theory in math class but at least I could look cute while doing so. Honestly, more than anything else I would love to be book smart. If I had the chance to give up going to the salon for the rest of my life just to be smart, I would do it. I’m not insecure about my physical appearance, but I am so insecure about my intellectual appearance.
For me my learning disabilities don’t go away when I’m not at school. It plays into so many parts of my life – understanding directions, being able to comprehend a conversation, or the instant anxiety that comes when I’m asked to read something out loud. But with difficulty, comes strength. I have essentially been forced into having to be creative when figuring out how to live with these disabilities. For instance, cooking can be extremely hard for me. Reading the directions on a recipe along with numbers can be a nightmare. What do I do? I don’t mess with a recipe. I’ll look at the picture that’s in the cookbook, look at the ingredients and do the best that I can to make the dish look the same as the picture. I have to use all of my senses to understand what’s going on.
What does come naturally to me is art, fashion, and most importantly, creativity. This summer I’ve randomly done my friends and family’s makeup and every single time I’ve noticed that they “perk up” a little bit when I’m finished; they walk taller, and smile bigger. One of the first times I did someone else’s makeup she kept telling me with a big smile, “I just feel so beautiful!” It amazes me how spending twenty minutes on someone can change how they view themselves for at least that day.
More than anything, I want to be book smart but God didn’t create me to be that way. I want to be valued for my intellectual self, not just my outward appearance. I would love to become a medical doctor, lawyer, or something that is socially valued to be able to help others with my intellectual abilities but I don’t have those capabilities. What I do have though is a blending sponge, some lipstick to share, and some mascara. That is all I need to make someone’s day special. My value has not decreased, it may just be a little different than yours.
Lama Leah is a blogger, and supporter of the arts, social change, and God’s chosen people. Read more from her on her blog: Lama-Leah!