I found out a few years ago, when I was almost 40 years old, that I have dyslexia.
In that same moment, I discovered so much compassion for myself.
I hadn’t just been f*cking up my entire life—I had a legit learning disability.
I had literally slipped through the system.
I always thought dyslexia meant that you saw letters backwards—but it’s not that simple. It affects how your brain processes information. Sometimes I see letters, not backwards, but jumbled, and not always.
When I think back to middle school in Northeastern Ohio, it feels bleak and dreary. That Pink Floyd song comes to mind, “Hey…teachers…leave those kids alone.”
In seventh grade, I received five F’s on one single report card. I failed every single class and was simply scolded and passed on to the eighth grade. How does this happen?
As a grown woman reflecting, I’m amazed and disgusted that no one thought to have me tested for learning disabilities. No one sat me down to ask if there was maybe some trouble going on at home. Which there always was.
Although my learning challenges didn’t start there. It was discovered when I was in first grade that I had been having petit mal/absence seizures for some time. I would basically drift unconscious but appear to be present. Eyes wide open, but completely not there.
One of my most vivid childhood memories is being in kindergarten and having the teacher say to the class, “When I call your name, I want you to come up to the front of the room and get your paper.” I remember sitting there, riddled with anxiety—little five-year-old me—saying to myself with anger and frustration, Becca, you are going to hear your name this time…You are going to hear your name this time. Listen, dammit.
And then all of a sudden the teacher would be in front of my face, snapping her fingers while repeating my name. I was having a seizure but I didn’t know it at the time. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t just pay attention.
I grew out of the seizures, but I still have trouble focusing. I have been diagnosed with ADHD, but I don’t consider it a disorder. There are plenty of us who have it, and there is nothing wrong with us. Our brain is just wired differently, and we tend to thrive in nonconventional environments.
I have learned that I don’t fit in the same box that most people do and I’ve had to create a life that works for me. I rely heavily on daily rituals such as yoga, writing, and meditation to help me stay grounded and focused. I also medicate with the proper cannabis strains and—on most days—a plant-based diet.
Through the practice of yoga, I was able to get to know myself beyond the dyslexia, the ADHD, and my life story that had become my identity. Yoga led me, eventually, to love myself just as I am, and taught me that forgiveness is a daily practice.
Not that it is always easy or enjoyable.
Yoga is a discipline. If we keep coming back, we eventually face our shadows. While holding Pigeon pose, a few tears escape as a memory makes its way to the surface and is then set free—no longer trapped within the muscle tissue of our bodies.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~ Anaïs Nin
Yoga is a communion with God, Source energy, the divine intelligence, and knowing within all things.
It is this higher intelligence within nature that tells seeds when to germinate and flowers when to bloom. It is the force that pumps our hearts. It is this source that we connect with when we step onto our mat and sync our breath with our movements. It is Love.
Together we step on our mats. We greet ourselves right where we are today.
Inhale, we breathe in love.
Exhale, love breathes us in.