Memoirs of a Dyslexic Daydreamer: The Early School Years

I was never good in school, from grade school all the way up until I dropped out after my sophomore year in high school, I barley pasted. In fact the D+ was a grade designed just for students like myself because it was just enough of a passing grade for the teacher not to have to deal with me again the following year. It is suffice to say, it was mostly because of my daydreaming. It was not until years later when it was discovered that the daydreaming was a mere symptom of a bigger problem, namely dyslexia. Finally, when I was in college I realized that I had to get control over my daydreaming if I wanted a life outside that of my cerebral creations. The first time I remember getting into trouble for my daydreaming I was in the first grade. I guess after kindergarten you are expected to perform academically and staring off into nothingness is no longer tolerated and become a punishable offence. When my first grade teacher first caught me daydreaming, punishment came as warnings. It soon became apparent however, after waking me, that it was only a mater of time before I would simply slip back under and way. She then began to punish me by segregating me from the class. She forced me to sit in a chair that was facing one corner of the room for short periods of time. Of course this was laughable because if you know anything about daydreamers you know that quiet places away from people are the perfect environments for the birthing of the greatest of out-of-body recreations. She quickly understood that this was more pleasurable for me than any true punishment, and she change tactics. Instead of a quiet place in a corner somewhere she would send me outside to walk the perimeter of the playground. This method merely added fuel to the fire, literally because it gave rise to more visual stimuli that I could incorporate into my daydreams — and what glorious daydreams they were. When my teacher realized that her techniques were not working to sequester my daydreams she threw up her hands in defeat and sent me to the principal office for corporal punishment. Unfortunately for me, this was quite often. My school consisted of a very large multilevel building, with the lower grades starting with kindergarten at ground level and the higher grades, such as junior high and high school continuing to the top; the principal’s office resided at the summit. The only way to reach the summit was up a series of stairs and landings, and through the gauntlets of onlookers and well wishers. Of course to a small child knowing what was to greet me at the peak was punishment enough. The only reason for a kid my age to be traveling this academic obstruction was because I was in trouble. This knowledge was quite apparent on the faces of the bigger kids as I passed them on the stairway — this scared me even further. Occasionally one passerby would pat my head and say “you’ll be alright kid”. As this trek became my sometimes monthly Mecca, some of the older kids even got to know me by name. I developed a copping mechanism in order to force myself up those proverbial steps and it always contained a daydream. The steep steps were already ominously

2 mountain like as is, so that is what they became to me. I imagined the trips to the principal’s office were treks up chilly snow caps Tibetan mountains. Granted at 7 yeas of age I knew very little about Tibet or the Tibetan people, but I did know there were monks that lived in the mountains and they had a lama named Dolly. I also knew that there were bad people called the communist that wanted to take the lama for themselves. I imagined that I would save the lama and be a hero to the monks who would out of shear gratitude give me one of their pretty colorful dresses and make me their honorary monk leader. My ambitions were small, but I was a humble child. As I would climb the steep, wind swept mountain towards my destiny, the peasants who past me on the way down, were of an assortment of emotions. Some looked fearful, some worried, others joyful, laughing and teasing one another with body jabs and quips. Many were in an awful hurry often tripping over themselves as they passed my by. I would habitually stumble once or twice on the cold stone path myself, but bruised but never defeated I would pick myself up and continue my quest. The lama was housed in an inner chamber at the summit and I would have to pass several test of will before I could enter. One test I knew would be a test of self control. I would need to face the leader of the communists, disguised as a monk and stare into his eyes never flinching while he spoke to me in his foreign language for seemingly hours. This was always one of the hardest tasks for me to get past because not only was staring into his eyes extremely uncomfortable, I would have to do it with out succumbing to his mesmerizing and hypnotic tone and spellbinding gaze that would often send me drifting off to sleep. One trick I would frequently use was to not look directly into his eyes but just above them at the bridge of his scalp. This trick would give the appearance that I was still looking to his eyes, but I would not be subjected to the effects of his hypnosis. The second test was a test of strength. The masquerading monk after his homily would then bring me into an adjacent room where I was made to bend over a metal table. My backside was then beaten several times, depending on my previous attentiveness, with a short handled wooded flat face paddle. I was never able to develop a trick for this mission. I would merely hold my breath until the trial was over, and the communist was finished. After, he would often kneel down to my height and grab me by my shoulders and hug me in a feeble attempted to throw me off guard and win my loyalty. His hug was his greatest tool in his arsenal and I would time and again yield and through giant pools of crocodile tears tell him I was sorry and promising him anything. My trudge back down the stairway mountain was often one of sorrow and shame; not once was I ever able to save the lama from the communist. I would tell myself, as I met the same hurried and worried face down the steep rocky mountain pathway that I would never find myself up these parts again, but the allure of places elsewhere always drew me back. My daydreams were not just young fantasies of an over zealous imagination, nor just whimsical creations to alter my sometimes distressing reality, they were my saving grace and my anchor. My steadfast consistency, were the characters and setting may change, but the meaning behind them never did.

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