Recently, I was called to give a speech.
I had a surprising conclusion, and you’ll see in the text of my speech below, I’ve had some real struggles:
“What if every sentence was a lie? What if every word you read was a betrayal. This is what it’s like to have dyslexia. It is a learning disability that makes it very difficult to read. It makes it hard to decipher letters and other symbols.
My Dad has it, too. To this day my Dad mumbles under his breath, “STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!” That’s all he was told as a child.
How did Dyslexia affect me as a child? Going though the public school system was horrible for me. Normally a child goes though the grades 1-6 in one school.
I went to first grade here, second over there, and third grade at another school.
It was so hard to make friends. I only made a couple of friends—but then I was torn away, forced to go to another school where I had to start over again. It was like taking a fish from one tank and then putting her into another tank. Everything’s different.
Each year I had new teachers, new rules, new classmates.
When I was 15, twenty seven years ago, dyslexia crushed my dream to be a writer.
I never learned about sentence structure nor how to compose a paragraph.
I never had classes in writing because of my dyslexia. I was just pushed through: through history, science, and geography.
Dyslexia made learning very difficult. I mean–think about it: For every subject you need to read a textbook. How do you learn math without reading? How do learn science without reading?
Homework that took the average student 15 minutes took me three hours. Even so, I averaged a 3.9 GPA in high school.
It was worse when I went to college. I had a teacher whom I will call Mr. Dense. I explained my learning disability to him.
One week later, Mr. Dense said, “I don’t know why you can’t learn this. Why can’t you learn this?!”
What? Didn’t you hear me?
Oh, that’s right. You’re Mr. DENSE.
Again, I worked so hard.
At one point, I was working so hard at college work and a job to earn money.
Something had to give. I did. I collapsed at work. I still can’t stand to walk into a Macy’s.
I survived college. Okay, I did rather well – A’s and B’s.
Still, somewhere in my mind, I wanted to express myself. But I didn’t think I could write.
… until I worked with my first editor, who encouraged me to write a blog.
I now write every week, and people from 173 countries read my blog.
Dealing with dyslexia gave me the chance to learn patience, to never give up, and to work hard.
So I wrote my first book, with the help of editors.
I will never forget the feeling of holding a newly printed copy of my book in my hands.
More than that – I saw favorable reviews on Amazon.com
Recently, my 4th book was published.
Yes, I could express myself. And people were getting value from my writing.
So what looked impossible to me was NOT impossible –
And Mr. Dense is still an idiot.”
* * *
I feel that we Pagans also have dense people around us who are misguided by the Hollywood version of witchcraft.
In thinking about my speech, I realize that there is a parallel between my living with dyslexia AND my walking my pagan path among people who shun me or shut down if anything about my pagan-life comes up.
As I wrote in my first book, The Hidden Children of the Goddess: “Witches are everyday people. No, we aren’t green and warty. From soccer moms to construction workers, we look just like any other person. We eat breakfast, go to work or school, and have friends and family. The only difference is our faith. In short, Wiccans are The Hidden Children of the Goddess.”
Still, some misguided people will remain, like Mr. Dense, in their ignorance—and they will not listen.
So we as Pagans will need to continue on our path regardless of the Mr. Dense or Ms. Dense in our life. Some friends may fall away. Some family members may drift away.
Yes, we are different. We Pagans have found our own path.
Each one of us has a different and special path.
So I encourage you to tread upon it with joy and determination.
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