One of my many favorite things about Lake Superior is the rocky shoreline. Those massive cliffs were originally poured by now extinct volcanoes and later molded by glaciers. Over the years, nature and previous generations of humanity shaped them into the glorious shape they’re in now.
If you know what to look for, you can find agate, mica and a whole bunch of other interesting stones in low lying areas. What captures me every time we go, though, is the flowers blooming amongst the basalt.
From the very first year we got there, long before this blog was even a thought, I identified with those deceptively delicate blooms.
In many ways, those of us who are identified with dyslexia, or autism, or nonverbal learning disabilities, or any other invisible disability are just like those flowers. From the start, we’re tossed into a terrain that should be impossible for us to flourish in.
Like those little plants, we latch onto the core bit of nutrients we can find with our roots and use whatever we can find to continue to grow. It’s not easy, but we do it.
We’re the misfits. It’s not simple growing up so far removed from everyone else, especially when we look “normal”. Sometimes, we wilt. Sometimes, we die. Those of us who finally bloom, though, are sights to behold.
Not everyone becomes wildly famous, like Whoopi Goldburg, Dan Aykroyd or Anne Rice, rich beyond all expectation, like Charles Schwab or Richard Branson, or pioneers in our fields, like Temple Grandin or Jack Horner, but when we’re determined enough to develop our talents and lucky enough to have resources to rely upon, we’ll surprise everyone who told us we can’t reach for our dreams.
Not all of us dramatically change the landscape, but we make it far more interesting than it would have been otherwise. Though, if we have just the right circumstances, we may be able to wear some edges down or break some corners off.
Although our individual situations are unique, we still share that sense of isolation. We share the struggle to find our cores and the fight to survive in a world we’re not designed to fit into easily.
Like the unlikely flowers in the cliff, we didn’t choose the conditions into which we were born, but we can do remarkable things with them when given the chance.