Read any of my school report cards, and you’ll quickly realise I was the academic kid, and in particular, I was the literature kid in primary school … who went on to become the literature nerd in high school. It didn’t matter what it was: reading, writing, listening to others speak, just language. Literally, any language and I was properly immersed in it.
My entire childhood? … spent in books. Always reading. Always reading. Curled up in a corner somewhere. So much so actually, that my family often didn’t know where I was for entire days of whole weekends because I’d take myself off somewhere quiet to read, and basically not return until hunger hit and reminded me that there was a life outside o’ that book, ha!
Dream kid, really.
F*ck you Dad, for being so lucky.
[he reads this blog btw, guys. #hiShane].
Me and words? Always tight. Heck, I’d even argue that words were my childhood BFF. Always there for me, and often when I needed them the very most [which was often. #toughchildhood]. It goes without saying that I cannot relate to not only loving words, but genuinely just finding that they always came so easily to me.
Privilege check #1 – I’ve never had to work for words.
By the time I got to high school, the words came so easily to me that I made a solid little business outta them, i.e I used to [very discreetly] offer my assignment writing services for $10-20 cash in hand. I genuinely couldn’t tell you how many assignments I wrote, but I can tell you how many high school parties I went to. That one’s easy to remember, because it was zilch, #lol.
[high school popularity, come at me bruh]. ?
Privilege check #2 – I was sent to a private school where fellow students could afford to outsource their assignments to me
Privilege check #3 – Words came so easily to me that by the time I was 14-15, I figured out I could make money from them
Once I hit university, it was just genuinely the same, except that I cared so much less.
I left assignments until the absolute last minute because I was an arrogant pr*ck, and I knew I could legitimately pull something together at the final hour … and I always did, and it was always shocking when the HD came through because I genuinely didn’t deserve it.
Privilege check #4 – that stupid ability with words has ultimately saved my bacon, time and time again
Fast forward to the professional setting, and it was those early years in copywriting that had folks tapping me on the shoulder and saying, “you’d be perfect in strategy!” … and so from copywriting to strategy I went, and jaysus-mary-and-st-joseph it was there in strategy I’ve passionately wanted to remain, because I love it.
But words? … they absolutely got me there [albeit via the back door, but there nonetheless].
Privilege check #5 – my love [and ease] with [writing] words pulled me into a job that I turned into a career > and then turned into the stupidly incredible business I have now
Finally now? I’m 37 years old and I’m married with children, and I see [I finally seriously see] what life looks like for people who find words difficult, i.e my husband cannot spell to save his own life [s’ok. He’s a mathematical genius, ha!]. But seriously, his spelling? Yikes. And the love of words for this man? … non-existent. He’ll legitimately try to read a book and he’ll get to the bottom of the page, and forget what he even read [and essentially have to read it again, and usually just moments before he’s given up on the book entirely].
I can’t relate to the feeling of reading feeling chore-like and arduous-like in that way, y’know?
Privilege check #6 – something I love [and that comes so easily] can feel chore-like and arduous-like to another person
And my children?
I have one who basically self-taught himself to read in pre-school, and another who still can’t read now as she nears the middle of grade one, and it’s been watching her with silent tears streaming down her tiny, little cheeks as she tries [so f*cking hard] just to be able to read a three letter word like “hen” or “pen”.
Because she’s dyslexic.
And she tries. She tries so hard. She’s so competitive, and resilient [she’s genuinely one of the most resilient little people I know], but words to her are the very opposite of easy, and there have been so many days where she’s cried into my shoulder saying, “I am stupid. I am dumb. I hate myself”.
If you’ve ever parented a 6yo saying these things as they cry into your shoulder, you’ll know how it feels to have your heart broken into a million little pieces, lemme tell you.
And that guys? That was the exact moment I promised that I’d never be a spelling or grammar troll, ever again. Because I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve spent my 20’s/early 30’s correcting my husband’s spelling and grammar [or worse, people online. Random people. People I don’t even know. In the comments section of Facebook, because #pompous #elitist #PRICK].
Privilege check #7 – my brain was wired to read like 90% of the population that just … learns to read.
And that is such a legitimate privilege within itself.
I’ll never spell check again.
I’ll never comment on someone’s social media post with, “there’s no apostrophe in xyz word. Sorry”.
Because I’m brand new to the world of dyslexia, and it’s pushed me into a brand new [to me] world that I genuinely didn’t even know existed [imagine being *that* ignorant?!]. And it’s been through my daughter that I’ve seen how genuinely hard she works to even take in basic phonics, let alone whole words [and my gosh, the goal will be to one day get through a fairly simple book].
If you’re a person who calls out someone’s spelling or grammar, I’m sorry to say this [and I say this because you were me] … but you are being pompous, and elitist, and ignorant, and for what purpose? … so you can make someone feel utterly sh*t about having drafted a caption > shared it with the world, and only to have one of their comments come up as the notification, “this word doesn’t have an apostrophe in it. Sorry”.
Literally stop. Please stop this.
You’re coming from the privileged position of a range of different things [that are too big for this here small blog post], but could be anything along the lines of: an entirely different socioeconomic status / the privilege of education [perhaps it was even private education?] / a neurotypical brain / neural pathways that have meant you learnt like 90% of Australian kids [i.e whole language learning that’s rolled out in the majority of Australian primary schools, and don’t work for dyslexic kids].
I could go on [and on], but you get the gist.
I used to be a pompous, elitist, ignorant pr*ck, and I’m not any more, because I understand more [and now know better] to stop myself from calling out a spelling or grammatical error.
You should see me fall down when it comes to maths.
Dyscalculia come at me, bruh.
Important sidenote? TDP are about to engage with a Dyslexia consultant to review all of the curriculum we use in our in-person and online learning offerings, in an attempt to ensure that it engages [and is subsequently inclusive of] those with learning disorders, because when you know more? … you simply must do better.
And it’s time for us to do a lot better.