Friday 1 March 2013

Dyselxia blog - English as a foreign language

For those of you who haven't read my dyslexia blogs before, here is a little preamble and introduction, so you know who I am and what I do and why I write this stuff. For those of you who know the story, skip to the end of the paragraph for todays installment. Let me give you a bit of Background so you know who I am and what I do. I was born in 1962. I didn't start talking until I was 4 years old (at all, not a single word). My parents thought I was deaf. My reading age at eleven was 5. When I was fifteen I started a rock and roll band called the False Dots, the band is still going strong. When I was 16 I started a business called Mill Hill Music Complex (although then it was simply called the studio), a rehearsal studio, as we had nowhere to rehearse. The business has grown into a very successful enterprise, one of Londons biggest and most well respected independent studios. We now have 16 studios and a music shop and also have a photography/video studio and a dance studio. I also have done IT work, mostly on a freelance basis since 1983. In 2012 I also moved into film production, producing two highly acclaimed documentary films, both of which had screenings at the House of Commons. When I was 31, a friend suggested I had a dyslexia test. To my surprise I was told I was moderately dyslexic. This made me interested in the subject. To my amazement, what I have learned over the years is that my lack of educational aptitude, my feelings of anger and injustice and the core of my personality have been formed by the fact I cannot read words in a linear fashion. In 2013, I have set one of my objectives to use this blog to let dyslexics know they are not alone, to suggest that people who think they may be dyslexic to get an assessment and toget people who have dyslexic children or siblings to understand the issues that they face.

There is a fantasy I have. In my daydreams, God approaches me and says "I am going to give you a chance to live your life again, from a point of your choosing." I can then go back and totally reshape my life based on my experiences. I have probably had this daydream since I was five years old. When I was a kid, the things I would change were quite mundane. I would have chosen to sat next to such and such at the start of term. I would have asked for Meccano for Xmas instead of a train set. I would have asked for a tropical fish tank instead of a bike for my Birthday.

Then you become a teenager and the changes seem so much more intense. There was a long list of girls I wished I'd plucked up the courage to ask out. Then there was the long list of girls that I'd asked out and not put the effort to keep as girlfriends. Then there was the long list of times I'd made arrangements and then got sidetracked and let people down. Then there was the times when I'd been truly horrible to people who didn't deserve it.

And then you hit your twenties and Thirties and the again the changes are rung. Jobs I'd not taken, jobs I took. Girls I split from and girls I didn't split from. Things I wish I'd said to my father before he died, things I wish I'd not said to him.

Then in my forties, the things I didn't do with my kids that I wish I had and the things I wish I'd not done and feel bad about. In this long list of slow motion replays of my life, I realised the other day, I've never ever wondered about what would have happened if my mother hadn't had a difficult birth, I hadn't brain damage and I wasn't dyslexic. Of course I don't know that this is the reason I am dyslexic, but I am convinced. Imagine for a second I wasn't dyslexic how different.

Just imagine all of the pisstaking at school I would have avoided. Just imagine all of test I wouldn't have finished bottom of the class in. Just imagine the concept of going to University, getting a good degree and having a set career path? Just imagine how nice it would be to remember peoples names or song lyrics. Just imagine how nice it would be to be able to fill in forms? Best of all, just imagine that on a Friday night, I wasn't sat in front of my laptop, writing blogs about dyslexia. Maybe the alternate me wouldn't have spent the best part of fifty years trying to control a burning sense of anger and resentment. Maybe I wouldn't feel the need to shout and scream at people when they told lies and put other people at a disagvantage. Maybe I wouldn't want to spend my time battling for people who can't fight their own battles and instead could go out enjoying myself. Maybe when I saw people being victimised, I'd be able to happily look the other way and say "not my problem". Maybe when my wife tells me not to blog and to talk to her instead, I'd stop blogging and have a nice chat rather than say "I'll be in in fifteen minutes, this is important". Maybe I'd like nice easy listening music like Chris De Burgh, rather than aggressive and angry punk rock music. Maybe I wouldn't feel the need to push myself to run 10K for Age UK Barnet and train like a lunatic so I could do it in a vaguely half decent time, even though my calfs, knees and thighs hurt. I am sure the different me would not be as driven, as angry or as unpleasant a person as I am.

And then I think of the other me. Twenty Stone, contented, oblivious, sitting in my chair, drinking fine wines as Rome burns. Maybe I'd be a Conservative Councillor chiding "childish irritating bloggers" for not trusting the Council on One Barnet. Maybe I'd be a pillar of society, working as a consultant working out how to outsource the functions of the council and getting £150,000 for my troubles (nicely tax efficient). What would this other me, make of the messed up individual who writes this blog. I am sure he'd hate him. I am more than sure that the other me would never want to go back and inflict dyslexia on himself. I am sure the thought would never for a second cross his mind.

But when I look at this other me, despite all the shit which has forged my personality, if God took me back I would not change the gift of dyslexia. I don't like it. I don't like being the village idiot. I don't like standing up and speaking in public meetings thinking the world thinks I'm an imbecile, bit I have learned not to be afraid and to do it anyway. I have learned that I am not ashamed of myself, in fact I am rather proud of myself.

I love my wife, my kids, my life and my job. I have great friends and I am proud of my blog, my music and my studios. Although there is little in my life I would have proactively chosen, it is all a very happy accident.

If I don't raise another £33 for Age UK Barnet in sponsorship (check 
I have promised my wife I will quit blogging next Sunday, so this could be the last Dyslexia blog I write. I just wanted you all to know that if that is the case, it all turned out alright and I would change any of it.

1 comment:

Dave-ros said...

Looks like you made it to £500, so the Barnet Eye won't be closing, and will continue to watch, Sauron-like, the corruption in our borough!