Sunday, January 17, 2016

Being "Different" Joyce Oroz

As a long-time mural artist 
and author I have written 
articles and interviews 
about fellow artists and 
writers. What surprises 
me most about these people 
is how many of them are 
dyslectic or were dyslectic 
as children. I don’t have a PHD
behind my name, but I have 
taken my own survey on 
the subject because….
you guessed it, I’m 
dyslexic—not so much these 
days as a senior adult but very 
much growing up. Reading, 
writing and arithmetic were the 
scariest things in my preteen world. I hated school and 
the embarrassment of trying to read out loud in class. 
My attention span was minus zero and I couldn’t even 
play the kazoo.

In the second grade I decided, the heck 
with school and walked home, one mile 
along the edge of the Big Basin Highway. 
Mom just about had heart failure when 
she saw me. I thought it was cool to be 
home and see what she did around the house while 
my brother and sister were at school. I remember 
Mom trying to teach me how to tie my shoes. 
I just didn’t get it, so when I was alone I figured 
out a way to get the job done. To this day I have 
never seen anyone tie a bow the way I do.
The one thing that saved me and kept me in school 
was art. I was able to draw and paint pretty well 
at an early age. I won the Smokey the Bear poster 
contest in third and sixth grades. When the three 
R’s became too much for me, I would retreat 
to my coloring books, clay sculpture and day-dreaming.  
Being dyslexic is tough on young people. One must 
think “outside the box” in order to keep up with 
one’s peers. Dyslexic people work twice as hard 
to accomplish half as much. But as we age we 
are blessed with a creativity brought on out 
of need. Some of us find happiness and success
 in the “Art” world, some in creative writing 
and others invent things. Dyslexia can be a great 
gift once a person makes it through school—then 
the learning begins. All the information thrown at 
us in elementary school and high school suddenly 
makes sense.

Dyslexic people often 
function very well in 
today’s computer world. 
They are the inventors. 
Their spelling might be 
sub-standard, but there 
is no limit to what their 
creative, inventive minds 
will come up with next. 
I discovered there is a 
lot of dyslexia in my 
family, many 
“late bloomers” such as me, 
thankful for the odd gift 
of being different. The gift that keeps on giving—
sorry for the cliché.

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