I’m so sorry I’ve been away for so long. I’ve learned something new about myself, and it’s taken me a while to really accept and understand it. And to be honest, I’m still figuring out what it means to me and my future.
I just found out a few months ago that I have dyslexia.
In some ways, it shouldn’t be surprising. I’ve always struggled with words; definitions, pronunciation, spelling. I’ve never really enjoyed writing; that’s part of why I started a blog, to get more comfortable with it.
But it is surprising. I’ve always been a good student, in honors programs and advanced classes. And I love reading, especially big, wordy, descriptive fantasy novels. But I’m mostly shocked that I’m only just now figuring this out. I’m 24 years old, shouldn’t this have been squared away when I was a kid?
Part of me is a little resentful. Why didn’t any of the adults in my life notice this when I was younger? Why didn’t they have me do some test in elementary school? It would have been so nice to have extra time for tests in college! I try to push these thoughts away. That’s all in the past, and it doesn’t matter now. I know now and that’s all I could ask for.
Mostly though, I’m confused, and a little scared. I want to write. I want writing to be a part of my life. I’m a scientist. Communication is essential. Writing, public speaking, teaching…how can you share what you know and what you learn if you have only a sub-par grasp of your own language?
Eventually, I want to have some sort of job in science outreach. Either teaching science at a small college, working at a museum, or doing science reporting. All of those positions require writing and speaking, to some degree. How can I do that if I have an actual disorder in using language?
Needless to say, I was a little disheartened. I didn’t want to touch this blog; what was the point? What does it matter if I keep writing, if I might always just suck at it, by the very nature of my neurodivergent brain? I may have started playing the victim a teeny bit. And until now, I hadn’t written much more than bullet points on a PowerPoint slide.
Ultimately, I’ve decided that that attitude was bullshit. So I have dyslexia. Possessing that knowledge doesn’t actually change me. I’m still the same person who I was before I had that diagnosis, and you know what? That person wanted nothing more than to communicate science for the rest of her life, to bring it to the masses in a simple, easy-to-digest form. And I still want that. I am still going to work towards that goal, learning disorder be damned. Maybe I give myself a little more time to write. Maybe I edit a little more carefully. Maybe I ask more people to edit my work. Maybe I can be a little more compassionate to myself when I make a mistake or write an awkward sentence.
The point I’m trying to make is that no, this blog is not going to die. Maybe my focus will change. Maybe I will try to be less afraid to publish something very rough, with a very few polished pieces sprinkled about. Maybe I’ll post way less often. Maybe nothing will change at all. But I’m staying. This little niche in the blogosphere is mine, and I’m not giving it up.
If you’re reading this, thank you. Thank you for the support that you’ve given me. Thank you for not judging. Thanks for being freaking awesome. And thank you for witnessing this journey with me.