I wasn’t diagnosed with dyslexia until I was in my twenties and at university. Apparently my tutor thought my handwriting ”looked like someone with dyslexia” and sent me off to be tested. When they confirmed I was, I purposefully didn’t look into what that meant. I didn’t want to be labelled. But as my middle child grows and struggles with most probably the same thing, I have started to investigate more into the condition so I understand her better. And I started sharing my writing publicly to show her that even though we have this, it is in no way limiting.
Over the years I’ve found it easier to express myself in writing than in conversation with a stranger. With someone I know well it’s fine, I’m relaxed and articulate. Sometimes even witty. But with stress and tiredness it sneaks out and starts to win, the internal override switch no longer works and I lose control. Letters don’t sit in the right places, they swap themselves around when I’m not looking and thoughts jump around in an illogical way. Alice with labyrinth thoughts, twisting and turning, branching out then suddenly ending with no warning. That’s the dyslexia.
I’ve learnt to recognise and spell words by shape. Each word is special and usually has an image attached to it to help me remember it. My brain jumbles sounds, making taking on information orally and phonetically spelling hard, so I learn by reading copiously and prefer to express myself in writing where I can take my time to think about and get my answer exactly how I want. This is where the beauty of computers comes into its own. I just write as the images come to me and then cut and paste it later into an order that is hopefully legible. It’s probably why I prefer to write flash fiction and poetry. It suits my style more.
Dyslexia helps me too as a writer. Not being able to spell a word or even guess at the beginning order of letters, means that I have a huge vocabulary. If I can’t use one word, I usually have three I can replace it with. Listening to people can be hard, I’m better at one on one then in a large crowd. But it means I listen intently, quietly, and I watch their mouth and body language carefully. Great for show not telling in my characters. And I remember in images, my mind is filled with pictures.
I use my words to paint these pictures so I can share what I see with others. Hopefully they can see the beauty I see and not a jumble of brambles. And maybe just maybe they might even be inspired to try for themselves.
Tamsin has re-found her passion for writing after the birth of her second child. It was the breathing space and creative push that she had been lacking in her life and she hasn’t looked back. Her work has been published on-line, she has written for a local newspaper in London, writes copy for websites and is currently working on flash fiction and poetry. You can follow her on twitter @Dandeliongirl01 or visit her website http://dandeliongirl01.
Sites That Link to this Post
- Writing with Dyslexia - Women Writers, Women Bo... | August 14, 2013