As I began to watch the Umbrella Academy series on Netflix in lockdown, I began to resonate with the story line, likening their feeling different and not understanding why, to my also feeling different without the understanding.
It took me until the age of 46 to know about cerebral palsy, another 10 years to know that my mental and emotional struggles were autism. It would also take me 46 years to be able to put pen to paper through my blog, not know that my being able to write is my ‘superpower,’ my gift to myself.
Although I feel better for knowing, it will never take away the hurt. The continual struggles, my inability to learn and being ridiculed because I was a ‘nice’ child, but failed to grasp even the basics in school. Teachers calling me out and those problems being ignored, as if I had no disability or struggles around my learning.
It was a smokescreen for what lay ahead. But it was always clear to me that I was continually struggling to grasp new concepts and as a result was continually lagging behind. Whilst my peers had finished their work, I would be told to speed up.
In truth, I needed a remedial education, now called a ‘basic skills development education.’ It’s an instruction provided to students who need more classroom support. I struggled to learn and with 37 children in a class, I had no realistic chance of achieving.
Looking back, struggling today with mental and emotional difficulties arising from my autism, I know that I didn’t fail myself, others have collectively failed me through their lack of understanding. Much like the ‘Umbrella Academy’ siblings I see myself as a misunderstood ‘superhero.’
With a successful 10+ year website and book behind me, I have finally been able to prove my worth and all my critics wrong.