I’ve always loved literature. When I was really young I thought one day I’d be a writer. Until I began to be told my spelling was rubbish and my handwriting illegible. I’d intended to do it until I was told I couldn’t. I still read though. I enjoyed reading for pleasure. I could read quickly allthough not always accurately, skipping huge chunks of text or reading the same paragraph 3 times. This didnt bother me much as it meant next time I read the book the story would be a little different.
I’d read everything, fiction, poems, museum signs. I always loved poetry the best. The short often incomplete sentences meant I got the whole story the first time. I liked how the were emotions tied to the words, a deep rooted empathy in the page.
When I was around 10 years old I won a contest run by the school or district to have a poem published in a book with other school children’s poems. This didnt make any sense to me as I was being told at this time that I was lazy with spelling and writing as I hadn’t found out I was dyslexic at this time. Besides I didnt see the poem as any good, it was a jumble of words on a page about an ant and a rain drop. There were no heart wrenching feelings or deeper meaning in it. Looking back this experience showed me I liked reading ‘good’ poetry but I didn’t have to write what I considered good poetry.
For my GCSE English I was predicted a D maybe a C if I did really well in my exams. My teacher thought I was lazy, I was penalised for ‘graffiti’ on my english books when in reality it was doodling to help me concentrate when the teacher was speaking. My coursework was marked down, averaging around a D I think. Then came the exams, I tried my hardest but with low expectations. When I asked the English teacher my grade I remember the shock in her face, her double checking the transcript. A complete stranger had graded my work as an A*. This meant that despite my teachers best efforts my english grade was on par with the results I was receiving in other lesons where they cared less about the spelling and grammar. A complete stranger thought I could write!
Now I write poetry for myself. Its helped me to process a lot of things, from emotions to relationships and interactions. I left university in my 3rd year, not because I couldn’t do it but because I just wasn’t interested. I’d lacked support all through secondary school so was lead to believe that I’d only ever be good for a job in science. This angled my selected a levels and then my degree. I found a deep hatred for it that resulted in me not attending lectures or practicals then not studying for exams, unsurprisingly I then failed. I like to tell myself that had it been something I really loved I would have stuck with it but that’s hindsight and something I’ll never really know the answer to. Theres a lot of tough bits of thinking that writing poetry, which to be honest may never see the light of day, has helped me to process and left me in a place where I feel comfortable with everything that’s happened.
Now I work in an industry I love where the focus is more practical. I am challenged by the problem solving that comes with the everyday that is the living breathing machine that is hospitality. I still read for pleasure although less, but now that I don’t feel compelled to do it, I have more enjoyment in it as I can just do it. I write a lot more, mostly poems with a few little stories about my life. For the most part I don’t do anything with them. They just sit in the notes section of my tablet. It’s the process of writing I find comforting. Knowing no one will read it so it doesn’t matter if the spelling is terrible or the grammar is off.
What used to be an everyday struggle, not helped by being told I was no good at it, has become an enjoyable pass time. It helps me de stress and work through anxiety, process anger or sadness in a way that doesn’t as severely effect my mental health as it used to.
Had my school recognised the support I needed or nurtured my interest, maybe I’d be somewhere different. But here I am now and I am quite content.