For the first eighteen years of my life, I would not say the words, "I have a learning disability".
I was diagnosed soon after I realized I couldn't hold a pencil correctly, differentiate my lefts and rights, or recognize symbols correctly. My disability is not a black and white common issue, not a lot of people understand it; I struggle to understand myself. I couldn't comprehend why one eye had control over the way my hands worked, my ability to do the math, and the way I see lines and shapes.
A lot of people used to comment on my handwriting, telling me I had "boy handwriting". I would often clench my pencil, clearly frustrated and ignore them. For years, I thought I was just dumb.
I did well in school, but I constantly asked myself why I couldn't just be normal. I watched my peers excel in subjects like math and I felt stupid. I couldn't see the correlations they saw in numbers. Numbers were just numbers to me, but to the "smart people" numbers were like puzzle pieces.
I was odd, I did well in school and a lot of people told me I was smart, but in my mind, I was a complete idiot. I told people that I had problems with my eyes and it hindered my visual processing and people often responded, "But you're so smart." That had nothing to do with it. IQ does not equal ability, being told "you're smart" does not change the fact that I have a disability.
I have had a lot of people say to me, "I wouldn't even know if you didn't tell me." Why should I have to? Will the earth stop turning the day I can catch a ball? If I could do geometry correctly would it be some groundbreaking revelation? No. My point is, the lines will never stop shifting, my pencil will never get easier to hold, I'll still use my fingers to differentiate left and right, but that doesn't make me "less".
No, I'm not some person who struggled greatly in school and ended up defying the odds and getting into a super elite school. I'm an incredibly average person, at a decent school, and that's okay.
I knew that I wouldn't have an inspirational you-can-do-it-too-moment. The best thing that came out of having this disability is being able to come to terms with it. To this day, it is my Achille's heel, my domino effect, and cross to carry. It isn't a big deal to some people but's my greatest obstacle.
This disability caused me to isolate myself from my peers as a child, it killed my self-esteem and kept me from so many opportunities. Sucks right? Not really. Because I saw my self as less at one point, I now see myself as a force to be reckoned with.
I may not be the person who could catch a ball in gym class, but I was the same ten-year-old that walked into the Guidance Counselor's office and said, "I don't need accommodations."
This disability has taken me down dark roads and has caused me to make self-destructive choices, but it taught me a lot about myself. I learned that everybody has something. Whether it's a learning disability, a social disorder, mental health ailments, health complications, etc.
The world will not stop turning because I have a learning disability and poor self-esteem; we have much bigger problems. Above all, we have much greater joys in this life. I am one person out of seven billion; I'm not that different. It took years to realize that I am not "messed up", rather, I'm gifted in ways I still am learning to appreciate.