As I’ve been working on getting the last few pictures for the knitting e-book I’ve been working on, I’m listening to one of the old X-Men cartoons. Quality-wise, they’re not exactly top of the line, but I still enjoy the characters and some of the story lines.
Because knitting is so methodical, it’s just enough to take just enough attention of my left brain to let the rest of my mind wander a little bit.
I started thinking about why I seem to like stories about social outcasts, like mutants in the Marvel universe, the Ninja Turtles in TMNT and assorted other entertainment media. I think it’s because I identify so strongly with the underdogs because of my dyslexia.
Learning disabilities truly are one of the most invisible struggles many of us must overcome. Most Marvel mutants dealt with the same thing, in that most of them look human, but they can do something fundamentally different than anyone else.
Those of us with alternative neurology think differently than everyone else. Because of that, we tend to make connections others wouldn’t, and come to solutions that many people never would have dreamed of. Einstein created amazing theories through his unique take on mathematics, Anne Rice created vivid universes through her writing and Stephen Spielberg directed stunning films, thanks to his grasp on relationships and patterns.
In the X-Men, there always seems to be at least one story-line involving a “cure” for their powers. Some of them gladly give them up to be “normal”, while others cling to their unique powers, since they make them who they are.
I’ve often wondered what it would be like to be “normal”. What would it be like to be able to memorize things like the times table or dates? What would it be like to be able to write or read for extended periods of time without the letters and words eventually swimming on the page? How much easier would my day to day life be if I could recall the words I want to use whenever I have a conversation?
Would I take advantage of a “cure” if there was one?
To be perfectly honest, I don’t think I would. I’m happy I’m so highly compensated, but I wouldn’t give up the gifts my dyslexia gives me for the world. In a lot of ways, some of those gifts stem from the daily struggles I endure.
I’ve been able to evoke strong emotional responses with my fiction because I can picture scenes and events so strongly in my mind. I’ve been able to bring enjoyment to people through things I make with my own two hands. I’ve improved procedures simply because I could see where deficiencies were and creative ways of fixing them.
Would I have been able to do the same through what seems to me to be simple instinct or the next step in patterns no one else seems to grasp?
I don’t know. No one can give a definitive answer to “what if”, because there are so many glorious inconsistencies in the world we all live in.
The struggle is what prompts me to come to creative solutions to problems. I’ve gained a deep appreciation for the issues which face me every day, because I learn from them. Those lessons have, in turn, taught me how to take responsibility for myself and the consequences of my actions.
When you take into account the positive aspects of your “disability”, would you give it up?