An honest conversation about the difference in being successful and feeling successful.
Hello Again! I am Kati, the Community Director at Dyslexia in adults (read my dyslexic story here). In honor of dyslexia awareness month, I wanted to talk about my dyslexia anxiety.
I am pretty exceptional by all standards (and other people's opinions). I succeed more times than I fail, solve people's problems, achieve my goals, hit deadlines, and outwardly look like a successful person.
Here's the thing, I don't feel any of those things. Writing the last section feels wrong like that can't actually be me. I take forever to get things done, am constantly messing things up, am always late, don't understand a cash flow analysis, and can't keep my house clean even when I try.
So why am I telling you I feel like a failure? Well, because it's one of my dyslexic scars. I spent so much time during my younger years trying to be as good as everyone else. My brother gets an A+ on a spelling test, and I get a C-, a failure. I make 100 mini-cheesecakes for an event and mess up the sugar and salt, a failure. I send an email to 10,000 people that says "food panties," not "food pantries," a failure. They never seem to stop.
Whoever said failing over and over again was a good life lesson was not dyslexic. Every mistake makes me feel further and further below average. I miss spelled an email to a client. Would an average person do that? My friends don't confuse right and left, why do I? I messed up dinner. Would a normal person mix up a teaspoon and a tablespoon?
The constant micro reminders of how I am different grate at my confidence and well me as a person. I sometimes try to hide my true self because I fear someone will find out I'm not normal.
But that's just the thing I am not normal. I am resilient, self-admittedly stubborn, an insanely hard worker, find solutions others don't, and so much more. My dyslexia has also given me a lot of good things that I know I take for granted.
And that's the hard part. Seeing the successes, the wins, the moments of grand triumph. When my sneaky little brain pieces something together that no one else can see.
Those moments are my normal. Do regular people celebrate when they remember the attachment in an email? No. Do they beat themselves up when they forget the extension? No. So why do I see myself as failing when I do? I don't honestly have an answer to that question.
My dyslexic scars run deep. I battle them every day and am constantly working to stop them from running my life. The anxiety and fear of failure that I walk around with are overwhelming.
I don't have a solution, a magic trick, or a particular mantra. I am just doing my best to be kind to myself as I work to heal the years of scaring. It is hard work, and I routinely find myself failing, but something is better than nothing.
No one should have to feel fear in being themself. If you feel the same way, know you are not alone. The Hive has helped me grow and turn the corner on being nice to myself.
I still have a long way to go and am not sure my dyslexic wounds will ever go away, but in all honesty, I am not sure I want them to. I know my struggle and want to hold on to that so I can lead with empathy.
I know this is a long prattle, but my primary intent is just to be open and share. I want others to know you don't have to hate yourself, and there are people out there who understand what it's like and are willing to help.