To celebrate National Inclusion week 2018, each morning, Tribal shared one story from a Tribalite talking about their experience as someone who is considered diverse or different, and how this has impacted them. Below, is Vic's story about having dyslexia in the workplace.
For me letters were just pretty shapes.
They move into each other.
Imagine them sliding about.
Imagine not missing any of them.
Imagine having to always guess what they say.
I can’t spell.
This is my story from school room to boardroom. How I discovered I’m not stupid but dyslexic and how I learnt to climb over my obstacles and deal with it.
From a young age I was completely blind to what I couldn’t see. I still can’t see my mistakes – spell checker is my best friends and My Grammarly app.
Everyone told me…
You blind? You stupid? You can’t see that mistake? You don’t enjoy reading? You can’t read? You don’t want to read?
I just used to think…
Don’t make me read out in class please.
Don’t make me read!
At 10 I had a reading age half my age.
My school books were like mind maps.
I drew it all, messages, letters, notes. I loved making project books, designing fonts, doing beautiful typography anything to get out of thinking about the spelling and structure. I hid myself in art and created smoke and mirrors to disguise my failings.
In my first year at senior school aged 12 my English teacher spotted my dyslexia, got me tested and got me help. It was 1980s and dyslexia was not a recognised difficulty but I got extra lessons and time in exams and eventually got enough GCSEs and a ‘levels to go into higher education much to my schools surprise.
I chose a fine art degree because I thought I could stop writing forever and just draw.
But no one told me about a 10,000 word dissertation, I couldn’t even spell dissertation. (I paid my dads secretary to type up my final paper!)
I accidently stumbled onto an MA of interactive art and my mixed up head started to find a home. My visual 3D head, code, maths and art suddenly came together. The computer turned my muddled head into a focused force.
At this point I had a purpose but I had no faith in me. I had no confidence I could get through this masters I was bluffing. I handed in my first paper and my tutor said ‘my God girl you can’t write!’ She got me an English tutor and I began to learn English again.
And aged 24 I started to write.
The MA taught me that the way I looked at things was ok, it wasn’t wrong, it was just different.
The school system hadn’t allowed me to be different, being different there was just stupid.
This new world wanted me to be different. The world I was entering was about new fresh, innovative ideas that needed a different way to look at things.
I had to find ways to cope with dyslexia. I love spellcheckers. I have to read it out loud to find the broken parts in my words. I have to slow down and find time to write and draw my thoughts up. I prefer to go home and work in the evening because under pressure I rush, I can’t process my thoughts fast enough and I make mistakes. I take pictures on my phone and keep scrap books. I find visual ways to remember information.
In the work place I look for partners, people who compliment me, help me up, support me, get me to the next level.
In my late 20s I started writing. Creative work, poetry and simple stories. I began to enjoy writing and people enjoyed my writing. I was encouraged by creative directors here to write more.
About 10 years ago I started to call myself a creative writer, I have written stories, endlines, scripts, complex ideas, articles and papers and presentations. I now write more than I draw.
The dyslexia is still there but I have trained my brain and myself to live with it and cope. There is always a superpower lurking behind dyslexia I eventually found mine.
If life gives you melons then you're probably dyslexic.