Growing up adults had a lot of words to describe my inconvenient behaviors – defiant, smart-Alec, manipulative, inconsiderate, lazy, stubborn. Some of these words came out of the mouths of family members but teachers always had the most to say.
My mother would say that I was very smart and could succeed at anything, if I would only apply myself. She also called me manipulative when I tried desperately to control my surroundings. Many times my grandmother called me “Smarty” in a sarcastic tone when I interpreted her too literally.
My teachers called me disruptive, inattentive, and lazy when I was bored with the lessons they were teaching in class and overwhelmed by the sensory assault bough about by the classroom environment. They didn’t seem to care that I already knew how to read or understand that learning my alphabet seemed illogical to me. I didn’t understand why they were going over this baby stuff.
They sent me away to a special education reading group when I had trouble reading out loud. Never mind that I was reading above grade level in my head, the teachers wanted to hear it. Speaking out loud in front of an entire classroom filled with mean kids who bullied me was terrifying.
I have never cared much about proving my intelligence to others, teachers included. I’ve always been able to hold myself accountable for my own knowledge. Why wasn’t that good enough?
In math class I was accused of being a cheater because I could easily do the problems in my head and did not show my work. Writing out all the steps was illogical and a waste of time. I’ve always had trouble with fine motor control, and even now writing by hand hurts after only a little while.
So many mean words, so many assumptions. My entire childhood, more than anything I was misunderstood.