Today's Challenge

I was born into a competitive environment. The countless times I was laughed at for the smallest mistakes and I couldn’t help but internalize every second of it. I asked for help trying to reduce the pain spreading but no one answered my plea so the worthlessness continued to tug at me. Was my problem invalid, or did I somehow exaggerate or twist the truth to the point that I deserve this happening to me? My mind desperately wanted to escape the world and travel somewhere that I could be free without my enemy, but this was not the reality given to me. There was a high expectation in my personal and social life that I would live up to my siblings. My friends enforced the pressure upon me unaware of my parents expectations. Apparently having multiple talents and having a high IQ in academics were better, which I lacked, than anything that I could offer. I felt anger and frustration flood into my head and my muscles tensed when I thought about the laughing, the worthlessness that I had to deal with daily, and the number of times that I was shouted at for speaking up about my struggle.

Reading was another struggle that I had to endure through my childhood. Words were something that I struggled to decode so there was very little motivation for me to learn. I hated it when someone sat down with me and forced me to read. What was the point of forcing me to accomplish such a burden? The only explanation given to me was that “I was lazy”. A spree of frustration often flew out of me whenever someone told me that sentence because I was far from lazy. I guess my parents thought I would grow out of it. My parents were wrong and later I learned that my battle with reading is called dyslexia. I also have APD or auditory processing disorder that basically means I have a low memory storage. Most people can store five to seven items in their short term memory but I have the capacity to store two to three items. As a result I was called dumb, lazy or yelled at because “it isn’t that hard to remember”. They also made sure I knew that being the youngest child had more advantages than older siblings but the reminders did nothing but give me more rage. Everyone expected me to succeed as much as my siblings, specifically in academics. However I failed to achieve the expectations over and over again.

After sixteen years of living in rage, I was diagnosed with learning disabilities. Only in recent years have I had the opportunity to learn how to nurture my APD and dyslexia with the accommodations made at school. I have also had a chance to nurture my mental health and rebuild myself from what was crushing me for so many years. It has taken a lot of support and therapy to regain self confidence and self esteem, and in the last two years I have grown tremendously. The younger version of me couldn’t have imagined writing actually being my strength but here I am writing my personal life story to you. My memory is still a work in progress though and there are still days when I struggle to remember the events that took place yesterday. All this has led me to accept that I can’t change the way my brain is programmed; but what I can do is I focus on my strengths as a way to internally heal and prepare for the challenges I will face tomorrow.

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