Last night as I lay in bed scrolling through my Facebook on my phone and texting my friend. The news feeds starting popping up one after the other ‘Robin Williams RIP’. Great sadness came over me – as I’ll describe the man that was Robin Williams was a ‘Dyslexic Hero’ of mine and always will be.
When I was in high school I remember sitting in a room called ‘Oakshaw base’ – it’s where the kids that need ‘additional help’ or were ‘too much’ to have in the classroom went. In Oakshaw base there were 3 computers, massive things that took half the day to start up. I sat in front of one this time. I was in there doing nothing more than wasting time and this one day the support teacher sat next to me as I was doing a project ‘About me’ so I ‘Asked Jeeves’, looking to add a picture to brighten up the document. The support teacher said ‘Why don’t you say about being dyslexic?’. As she helped me type it in, Boom!, a connection was made that had never been there. In my head and my experience at school I was the only person with Dyslexia and never knew what it was. In some ways as a young person the impression I got was I would just get by at best and at worst would just fail at school and beyond. But this one search brought up 2 figures, Richard Branson and Robin Williams. For some reason I used to watch Robin Williams and the manic crazy way he acted not just in films but on TV in general and I connected with that as well as this being the 1st time I had ever thought of someone having what I had. I did not connect with the admiration or the fame but with the happiness he brought to people. I saw myself in the way he deflected sometimes the hurt from not feeling good enough. I would automatically make people laugh in some way or another. While the teacher read out the article on Robin Williams talking about his dyslexia there was one part that has stuck with me – ‘given the choice of being normal or wacky I would choose wacky’.
I have written this at a time in my life that was just a normal day – just everyday stuff but that one event had a massive impact on myself as a Dyslexic and from that moment on, any time Robin Williams was brought up I said with a smile ‘He’s one of my Dyslexic heroes’ along with many many others now . The more openly people talk about having Dyslexia and sharing stories to let others know they are not alone, the better things will get. I’m sad last night that my ‘Dyslexic Hero’ has passed away and thank him for the laughs and connection he gave me as a Dyslexic.
Nanu Nanu: Jamie-Max Caldwell