When I was a young man I fell in love. Not at first it wasn’t loved at first sight, in fact, I was callously courted her favor for selfish reasons. I thought I could use her to get rich. This was not the case but despite my childish plans, I found that the more time I spent with here the happier she made me. Before long my plans to get rich didn’t matter anymore. She became my passion my everything. You know the cliche The first thing I thought about when I woke up, the last thing before sleep.
She was on my mind the day I slipped a ring on the finger of another woman. I keep seeing here during my marriage, and despite being understanding my wife finally couldn’t compete with her for attention anymore. She’s the only woman in my life. Only she is not a woman.
She is writing. An obsession for me, a passion I can not ignore.
Love is strange, the thing that brings me the most pain. I have a learning disability. I don’t like to talk about it. I grew up believing that weakness was a bad thing and showing it was even worse. Let alone asking for help.
I mix letters up, but it’s more than that I cannot see misspelled words. As long as they are close to what they should be I see no difference. I have to really try to see them read the letter by letter and only then I find them maybe ten percent of the time.
Grammer is another issue, I know what a comma is. I know what it does but I cannot for the life of me figure out when to use it. I have taken multiple classes read many articles. Stil I get told that I’m not using them a lot, and don’t get me started on those damn semicolons.
Dyslexia is the theory, I asked my high school counselor if I could get tested. He never followed through and I was too embarrassed to ask again. I didn’t think it would matter, I would succeed no matter what I had to overcome. I would pay for my arrogance, time and again.
Job’s were a problem, at least god jobs. I wasn’t even considered. One mistake or a flaw on my resume or application and it was all over. Fortunately, I was “blessed” with the kind of body most men envy. Some might say I hit the genetic lottery tall and strong and unlike my father, I could put on weight. If I put work into my body I’d be a modern-day Adonis. Okay, minus the good looks. These things didn’t matter to me, but because I was big and I made mistakes while writing I’ve been somewhat pigeonholed as a meathead and have worked mostly labor jobs my whole life. The major exception being TSA and they were more interested in me filling a seat than my intellect.
It was a temporary solution I told myself, I only needed to work those jobs until I got my chance to prove myself. It never came.
Never the less I kept trying. I went to college. 4.0 average for a time, I even managed to pull the only ‘A’ out of what was a very intense Art history class. Then came the English class. I’d been dreading it, but I was determined to keep my 4.0 average. I would write those papers and read them over and over again. Every time I’d find more mistakes, but I kept going. I read as hard as I could until my eyes hurt and my head ached, and still, I kept trying until I could see no more mistakes. When they papers would come back covered in red pen I was heartbroken, even after I corrected the mistakes and resubmitted the paper the teacher found more. I can’t describe to you how devastated I was that I could not conquer this mountain. (btw I needed to use two Google searches and a thesaurus to spell conquer right just now.) To this day I hate proofreading. Still, I do it, compulsively, before I publish a pice I will have read it dozens of times.
It’s taken a long time but I’ve finally come to admit to myself there are places I can not go. Just as some people in wheelchairs can not climb a set of stairs there are things I can not do, and these invisible staircases are all over, imperceivable to most but still, they bar my way none the less.
I have my own sort of wheelchairs. Spellcheckers, Google, recently I’ve been working with a grammar checker. They help but they far from perfectly. Still, they help.
The world does not understand my problem, I get told I’m lazy a lot. That I don’t try hard enough, that if I worked a little harder I would be able to do it. Could you imagine telling a person in a wheelchair that if they tried a little bit harder and took some basic walking classes they could climb the stairs? But that’s what I’ve been told to my face. I even tried it, after twenty years of trying I’ve decided that it’s not because I’ve not tried hard enough.
It’s not just the world well, mining friends even reinforced the problems, one friend advised me not to try to teach English in Japan, and maybe that makes sense to you too. It’s logical if I’m can’t make English work for me how can I possibly teach it? But why should I be denied such an extraordinary opportunity? Just because my brain works differently than yours. They make wheelchair accessible buildings, where are the learning disability accessible teaching jobs? Is it too much to ask that I be evaluated on my ideas and instead of my grasp of a two-hundred-year-old language that can’t even decide on how to make certain sounds? Just because I struggle doesn’t mean I can’t follow a curriculum.
If you still feel I shouldn’t do it, maybe you should consider telling the person in a wheelchair that he can’t participate in a marathon. Or play basketball, or swim. Come on. Go ahead. I’ll wait. No?
I decided not to go to Japan. I didn’t feel it was conducive to my goals. It sounded fun but I wanted to start my own business. Ducky of Doom Animation Studios. It failed.
Recently things have come full circle my body has failed me. Severe sleep apnea and perhaps a lifetime of not respecting my sleep cycle have made sleep a bit of a problem for me. Or more accurately staying awake. I’m trying to figure things out, but I hoped maybe that finally, my passion for writing might be the solution. So far not so much.
Once again I’ve been bared by invisible staircases. I have no money I can’t get my work professionally edited. I hoped that if they heart was there it would not matter. I found a site called vocal. If you publish on their site, and you can draw in readers they will pay you. It seemed worth a shot. So I submitted a short story. My work did not meet their quality standards.
Content does not meet the quality standards.
Please make the following changes before submitting again:
There is a much greater point here. I would not tell you all of this if I just wanted to piss and moan about it.
No a soul on this earth knew what I was feeling the day I got my grade from that English class and saw a “pity C.” Because let’s face it the only reason I didn’t get an “F” was that my teacher felt sorry for me, and that made it burn all the more. I was dying inside, I fought Golioth and he won. He chewed me up and spit me out not bothering to take my name because I was so pathetic. No one knew I cried myself to sleep that night, or how I consoled myself telling myself: “It didn’t matter.” How I had to force out the voice of my abuser calling me “stupid and lazy.” No one knew this, I played it off. I’m still like that. On my worst day, you ask me how I’m doing I’ll tell you “alright.”
I write because I love it. It was only about money the first time, and even then I think the money was just an excuse. I wanted in the pool I just needed a dumb reason to swim. I refuse to believe this wonderful thing is beyond my grasp or that my work is not worthy because I do it a little different. Maybe someday the world will understand I hope it does and that someday someone like me won’t be told they can’t enjoy life to the fullest because of a “disability.”