Without really knowing what the word entailed, I'd carried the shame of my dyslexia for the best part of fifty years; however, whether through the vagaries of academic fashion, or a mere series of coincidences, I gradually became aware of the term and eventually, following some months of indecision, resolved to get myself tested.
As the day of the test drew near, the mind, having a capricious nature, began to weave an elaborate story. How could I possibly own such a label... what gave me the right to think such a thing... haven’t you learnt anything... what if, after everything was added up I was actually what my teachers would have had me believe, just plain stupid? And even if I passed, did I really want to be pinned with such a badge?
For the first time in my life, I flew past the finishing post in an exam, and took gold. I was definitely very dyslexic.
Extracting this giant thorn from my side filled me with a great sense of relief and some short-lived euphoria. Short-lived, because the result was like being handed the absolute proof in a tribunal. The realization sunk in like a stone. What had happened to me and a good majority of my contemporaries seemed so unjust. More like war than an unfortunate curricular mistake.
It is quite clear that failing the sadistic Eleven plus exam dictated my path into the grownup world. And when I look back at the outcome of this placing, I am appalled at how I and countless others were treated.
On occasion the rage has been so strong I thought I would lose all reason. But by admitting to the crippling fear of failing underlying the anger, I was able to gain some fundamental control over it. Once I began accepting that fear had been the primary emotion in my life, the anger was much easier to handle and indeed lost its dominant control. In the short term, this release brought on a deep emotional collapse. Over time however, through yoga, therapy, and acting – in that order – I began to regain a confidence, not a wilful confidence, but a dignified one, and started to channel my energies accordingly.
I have learnt that if you are prepared to do the groundwork, there is every possibility of a deeper, wiser understanding of revenge, war and the cause and cessation of these bitter, oftentimes uncontrollable, conflicts. In order to get to this place of creativity, I had to allow myself to look into the true source of the tangible fury. I locked horns with some mighty demons.