Low literacy – I still struggle with my literacy and understanding. Life is hard and I have seen more than my fair share of grief. My low literacy wasn’t for a lack of trying but a learning disability that was overlooked. This was in many parts, first of my femaleness – some bloke was to marry me and care for me so it wasn’t important that I learn to read. Secondly, I was raised in poverty and with it abuse and neglect. The latter appears to happen more to special needs children, more so the high functioning ones like myself. My special needs required more from my environment and my care givers were not up to the task, so, well, a beating or two would bring me into line. Thirdly, we moved a lot. I attended 9 schools in 10 years. It was a long and winding youth of waking up in a new home once or twice a year, this included a new school too.
So, I became someone else’s problem with each year. Occasionally, someone would notice that i wasn’t up to snuff and would send home extra work. Then we would move again and I would literally wake up in a new home, my bed but different walls. Another new school, no friends or family to say hey, let me read with you. In no way did I appear special. No one sought me out to say hey, I would like to help. I was tainted, not trying hard enough, not being pretty enough, nor any apparent skill that would be endearing to any other soul. Nothing.
I had to help myself and without an education it wasn’t easy. I did what I could. I learned everything I could without crossing those institutional doors of education. They let me down and I was certain that I didn’t want to spend fifty thousand, or more, to be let down again. So, I am mostly self taught.
I started by learning how to sew at the age of 19. It was one subject that I enjoyed but only had a little bit of teaching – it was moving too much that kept me away from the sewing classes. So, I bought a pattern and some materiel and borrowed my soon to be third step mother’s sewing machine. I didn’t do the pattern any justice at all and I ended up at the hospital to have a broken needle removed from my finger. The skirt was worn once and then promptly discarded. Somehow this failure just had me trying for more. I enjoyed that creativity. So I kept at it.
So, I have become obtuse. I will slowly digest the meaning and if I do not understand I start again. Eventually, it will sink in. Yet, I need to ask and pull the meaning out even if the recipient of my query’s isn’t happy with my process. It is my process and I will get to the end of it the best way I know how. And if I am obtuse, it is because I am still choosing to learn.
So get over it. I am not doing any thing wrong when I demand clarification. I have learned that, yes, I can demand clarification. I have rights and I will not give up either my right nor my understanding of what is happening. I will be the thorn in your side until I have satisfied that I have understood what is needed.
Have patience and we will both have a better life.
Low literacy isn’t just my problem. It is society’s problem. And it is costly – more so than the cost of the education that will cure this ill. And not all of can find meaningful literacy due to disabilities. I know that I am lucky in that I worked hard and found my literacy despite my learning disability’s (yes, I have more than one).