As a child finding out I was dyslexic was scary, I thought it made me different and weird. I couldn’t read like the other kids, I was put into a special class that would help me make sense of my words. I hated being there, I just wanted to be a “normal kid”.
I used to come home after primary school and play with all my toys, create worlds and stories for them and though I loved the idea of books and the stories they held, when it came to reading them I disliked it, because I felt so alone not being able to read it “normally”, I just wanted this problem to go away.
During my teen years I refused to read, when I would read something out aloud in class and I couldn’t get out normal sentences and words I felt like an idiot, the words were just running right off the page.
But it was the strangest thing, I was really good at public speaking. I didn’t realise at the time, but I would never write my speeches down, I always came up with an idea, memorised it, gave myself bullet points (just in case) and would basically go with it on stage.
After high school, I took on various trades and jobs that didn’t involve too much reading or writing, but I couldn’t shake my dreams.
I eventually started drama school and came to the realisation while there, that I still couldn’t read my scripts. I thought and hoped my dyslexia would have just gone away but it hadn’t and I went back into my shell. That was until I started hearing about actors that had dyslexia and would record themselves reading their scripts and learn it through listening, (that’s if you can record it right the first time). Which is something I now do, I first read the script many times till it starts to sink in then record it. I play it back over and over again, it becomes like a catchy song you just can’t get out of your head, the words end up being ingrained in me. It’s like if I said EVERYBODYYY… you would immediately remember all the words to Backstreet Boys – Everybody. Maybe even bust a little move.
Coming from my perspective as an actor, it still can be hard to walk into an audition room and be given a fresh script and told to just read it as the character. It’s always good to remind yourself you can take control and ask for a few minutes to get it down.
At the start of this blog I said I wanted to be a “normal kid”. But what is normal? I don’t see this as a disability anymore, I see it for what it is, it’s society giving me yet another label to point out what I can or can’t do, to be able to hold myself to those standards is ridiculous.
As much as I hate the word dyslexic and the terrible stigma behind it. It’s something I live with, more importantly something I grew to love. You may ask why would I love it? It’s because it gave me creativity, it forced me to push back at the problem and to start to create worlds and stories because I couldn’t always read the ones other people created. I hope that writing about it might help some people living with dyslexia, maybe even help others who don’t understand it get to know it a little better and maybe even discover their own creative path (whatever that may be) as I did.