A private blog for my w-rants, writes and arts.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Dear Doctor Strange; an expression of plight.




Dear Dr Strange,


I have writing problems.

Strangely, I do not know why it is you that comes to mind first while thinking about whom to address my grievances too. Maybe because I need a magic badly to heal my pain, maybe because I have a great admiration for how your character was able to move from paralysis to magical healing. But my mind wants to bleed to you, and it will.

My real name is Akinyemi Muhammed Adedeji, a penultimate law student at the University of Ilorin, Kwara state, here in Nigeria. Travelling through the multiverse, you might have come across this country – maybe unnoticeably – at least once. We are a black nation with a penchant for staying black in a digital world. There’s a lot to say about how the blackness of this nation can cause ripples in the time rift, but that will be for some other day. I write you at this moment because I suffer from a learning disability.

As ironical as it would seem, I am a writer. I mean I write often; I tell stories, I report events, I write articles, I express my love for nature and the people around me in poetry, and whenever I find it hard to express myself orally, I write. This is what I am doing now.

Growing up, I had a lot of problems with writing. Well, I didn’t think they were problems until recently. In a society dominated by stigma, assumptions, and presumptions, I was nurtured to believe I was just lazy. I had a dread for papers. Papers scared me. I look at papers and I see the twin towers falling. I look at papers and I see Danaery’s Dragon projecting flames in my direction. But I had a lot of proving wrong to do, so I managed to scale through it all. Just read, and write that which you can. You shouldn’t be tagged lazy anymore. I would convince myself. I discovered very early, that I preferred ticking multiple choice answers, to writing long essays on paper to explain why I think God is good. Also, I discovered that apart from constant panic which I face when I see papers, my hands ache a lot when I write. Again, I felt I was just being lazy. I tried to combat that attitude by competing with classmates, as to who writes the fastest. Most times I come behind, and then I begin again.

In the middle of the entire ruckus, I had a bad handwriting that could ruin fine eyes. My words fly about like ninja darts and have irregular spacing. I would get beaten for this as a kid and would be forced to learn to improve. I would write slowly to be more legible, and then I would have to catch up most times after class. Secondary school – high school here Dr – was not much worry for me. My parents trusted me to be fine, so I had the freedom to adjust to my handwriting at my own pace. It was around that time I started noticing errors. I would write bride for dribe, dread for breab, and some other minor misspellings. Dr, I grew up knowing how to spell words very early as a kid. My dad was an English language and literature lecturer at Osun state college of education, and I would carry books for his students, assignments, and peruse them. Heck! I read more than ten Shakespeare before I was ten. I did not understand most, but the more I read the more words I knew. But when it came to writing them down, I would fall into a pothole of errors.

I never saw this as a disability because my community didn’t allow me too, and maybe because I didn’t have the luxury of the internet as I do now. In 2013, I wrote Senior School Certificate leaving Examinations and I had well… average results. The same year, I wrote Joint Admission Matriculation Examination and Post-Universal Tertiary Matriculation Exams, and I had terrific results. I scored 251 in JAMB out of a total 400, and 68% in POST UTME.             These exams must I add, were computer based. Unfortunately, due to a string of situations, I could not gain admission until the next year. Need I add that I had made tremendous progress in a year?

As a freshman, I was lost in a Rat race, running after a law degree I never wanted. Man, did I not try my best. I was very bright in class and did well with attendance and participation. When most of my results came out, I was swimming in Cs. I had an A in a computer-based exam, and two Bs in two written exams, accompanied by another B in another Computer-based, but the rest were Cs and an E. My second semester as an undergraduate came with a much more devastating effect than the first. Heck! I did a lot of preparations. I attended tons of tutorials. I did extensive reading, but the results weren’t encouraging.

By the beginning of the next session, I wanted to do better, but the fire was lost. Heck, the more notes I had to write, the more confused life was for me. Eventually, I settled for photocopying notes and skipping classes.

In my third year, after a titanic falling display of second-year results, a lecturer dished out our test papers and I saw a 7/15. Not impressive I must say. I, in my curiosity, went through other scripts and picked a 13/15. I took it home. I’m sorry about this, but I just needed to know what I was doing wrong. I studied both scripts and I tried faulting mine, there were very little differences to our arrangements, and apart from having troubles reading some of what I wrote, I felt I deserved better than 7, maybe a 10 for the writing errors. I would tell my best friend later, fuck it, I never liked law anyway.

Long dreary stories brought to the present Doctor, some days ago, I was in a writing workshop and we had been told to write an assignment on paper. Heck, I begged Tj Benson, the facilitator to allow me to write directly on my PC, I also told him how papers make me panic. He said I should try. He went all Martin Luther King Jnr on me, and I was motivated to write on paper. After carefully thinking out the plots for half of the day, I picked a time I would be able to fully concentrate, and wrote. Very beautiful things I must say. I swear by my name, I read the works multiple times and spotted no error. When I was satisfied, I gave it to a younger sibling to help me transcribe it with his PC. Some minutes immediately after he started, he called my attention to a spelling mistake. I laughed out loud at such puny error and told him to continue. Need I add that the word I spelt wrongly ruined the whole sentence? Or need I include that since I got comfortable writing on phones and PCs, I’ve not been doing a lot of writing on paper? That the only real time I write for long durations on paper is when I write in exams?                                   Then he called me again...and again. At some point, embarrassment flushed down my cheeks. I made a Facebook post about it, requesting for help.


Dr, while I waited, I ran to Google and searched for my symptoms on different tabs. They all came back with Dysgraphia.
One of my search queries was “When I write on paper I spell the words wrong.” I read the Wikipedia material on it and this struck my heart “People with dysgraphia can often write on some level and may experience difficulty with other fine motor skills, such as tying shoes. However, dysgraphia does not affect all fine motor skills. People with dysgraphia often have unusual difficulty with handwriting and spelling[2] which in turn can cause writing fatigue.[3] They may lack basic grammar and spelling skills (for example, having difficulties with the letters p, q, b, and d), and often will write the wrong word when trying to formulate their thoughts on paper. The disorder generally emerges when the child is first introduced to writing.[2] Adults, teenagers, and children alike are all subject to dysgraphia.[5]

Then it started making sense to me, all the errors of my past. By the time I was done reading a few pages, my Facebook post had found helpful support for me. It was a young lady whom I like to call my therapist, Adetokunbo Adetoun who had been mentioned on the post by a friend of mine. We discussed further and she told me she suffers from dyslexia, another learning disorder. She was, however, willing to conduct intensive research on it, in order to help me manage it.

Dr, we are from a country that doesn’t recognize our disabilities. I can type five thousand words in a single sitting without worry, but not a thousand words can I write without gritting in pain. But I am forced to keep writing because my society lacks an understanding of my situation. I made a few more pieces of research on mothers in America who have dysgraphic children and checked how they helped them combat it. None of it can be primarily welcomed into the Nigerian environment.
I dare not request for special papers during exams or request to write my exams using a jotter and a PC. How do I explain that I belong to the little fraction of our society’s percentage of people with Learning disabilities, or that I suffer from 15 out of these symptoms?

·         Cramping of fingers while writing short entries
·         Odd wrist, arm, body, or paper orientations such as bending an arm into an L shape
·         Excessive erasures
·         Mixed upper case and lower case letters
·         Inconsistent form and size of letters, or unfinished letters
·         Misuse of lines and margins
·         Inefficient speed of copying
·         Inattentiveness over details when writing
·         Frequent need of verbal cues
·         Relies heavily on vision to write
·         Difficulty visualizing letter formation beforehand
·         Poor legibility
·         Poor spatial planning on paper
·         Difficulty writing and thinking at the same time (creative writing, taking notes)
·         Handwriting abilities that may interfere with spelling and written composition
·         Difficulty understanding homophones and what spelling to use[9]
·         Having a hard time translating ideas to writing, sometimes using the wrong words altogether
·         May feel pain while writing (cramps in fingers, wrist and palms)[2]


Dr, this has been one long expression of my condition. I believe understanding that I have Dysgraphia at all if anything has brought me more peace in recent weeks. Also, I must appreciate the young lady who has committed herself to finding remedies for Nigerians living with learning disorders. She is even planning to organize a forum for people with writing disabilities. That’s the coolest thing I’ve seen since the Dr Strange movie debuted.

I understand it is going to be harder from here. I know it will be difficult to forge ahead under these unfavourable systems, and maybe that is why I write to you Dr, just for a little bit of magic to make our society understand we are not like everyone else. That every person has a distinct factor that makes them stand out, or away from the crowd. Maybe not today. Maybe many years later. But I hope there will be enough magic to make Parents, guardians, Teachers, around here stop forcing people to bend to conditions that do not suit their living.

Thanks for reading Doctor; you have made my heart light.

Yours sincerely,

Akinyemi ‘Princely FawX’ Adedeji – The Ten green bottles.

11 comments:

  1. Beautiful. Our society do not give deep attention to the perceive little things. Although I have a good handwriting and sometimes enjoy flexing it on papers, but I really love typing than writing shit on a sheet of paper. Written exams has been fair on my path and most CBT end up hurting me;like having 69, 68, 59 and many near distinction syndrome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol. Near distinction syndrome.
      I wish our society would aptly adjust to 21st century needs

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  2. I hope this serves as eye opener to the vast populace in this other side of the world where differences and personal difficulties are not appreciated, and one of the problem we have towards this is the over dominance of our traditional belief to what is actually obtainable naturally, we believe traditionally that all those things aren't literally in existence, meanwhile they flow around us like a moving water, but our belief has forbade us to put our nose to the grindstone about such conditions and probably proffer ways to help those who are in this condition.
    our little knowledge about this has also reduces the rate of professionals to help with it.

    I hope this Leicester gets to everyone and pray that we all drive towards a change and help those suffering from it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ikr. How we take very important things for granted at dire times will never escape my amusement. But what we can do as persons is to make as much awareness as reasonably possible

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  3. Can't believe I could read this to the end!

    Very well brother. I believe everyone has one deficiency or the other but most are yet to discover theirs. I feel happy for you to have identified yours, and happier for you to have resolved to tackling the deficiency. Kindly channel your efforts towards saving people who are not exposed to this and also to those who are, but don't know the cause.

    And for the system of Education in our country, I trust the government will gradually key into the reality of this only if someone could champion the initiative.

    God bless you brother.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for mentioning this. My primary purpose for writing this is to reach out to people. And I'm happy I've been getting feedbacks

      Delete
  4. Bro, you are not alone. I experience most of those symptoms you expressed there. To meet up with duration of exam I had to write with the whole of my body and cancel, change and sometimes ignore a lot of "spellographic" errors.
    Though, most of the time, my exams come out fine. But the issue discourages me from creative writings.

    But I must commend you, you've got good things going on in your head.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm sorry to hear about your problem. I have some minor writing problems and have been making efforts to deal with them myself. It's a good thing you are, too. I recommend you consult medical practitioners, neurologists to be precise. You can consult Dr Biodun Ogunbo, a consultant Neurosurgeon. He has written columns on various nervous disorders on his page in The Punch newspaper. I think he could be of great help.

    And personally, if there is anything I know about you, it's the ability to rise above the odds to make a difference. This one wouldn't be different. You will make a difference. Stay strong.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is selectively Intelligent and a nice work
    Permission to share please

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is selectively Intelligent and a nice work
    Permission to share please

    ReplyDelete

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