by Ally Anderson Mayo
Ally is a rising junior at Jemicy School. She enjoys writing and reading and has been diagnosed with dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia and ADHD. She recently won the Linda Conner Writer of the Year award at her school and reflected on her journey for Dysgraphia Life.
When I was very small, I would read. A lot. It’s something that I’ve always enjoyed. There was something almost magical in the way the written word flowed together to create stories of tragedy, or triumph, or truth. I can’t name all the books that have impacted me, not here, at least. There are simply too many.
I’ve sat down to write, to create, to spin wonder out of a blank page, seven or eight times now. If you ask me how many novels I’ve finished, the answer is “none.” Things just never seemed to flow right, when I wrote, but I still tried, over and over.
I’d say writing is harder than it looks, but honestly, it’s about the same; It seems impossible, and, for a long time, it was.
I don’t remember a lot of my second grade year, but one memory sticks out to me: My teacher asked me to write a seven word sentence, and I couldn’t.
This does not need embellishments, flowery metaphors, or poetic phrases. It is a simple statement, rooted in a memory, and it’s enough to summarize where I started. If this were a movie, and you fast-forwarded to about a month ago, you’d see me sitting in the theater for my school’s weekly Morning Meeting, wondering about how the nurse would have reacted if I’d accidentally spilled hydrochloric acid on my sleeve in Science that morning.
Weeks prior, I’d assumed the award would go to a senior. Imagine my surprise when my name was announced. I was sitting in the first set of rows, so I had a good view of the announcer. I looked at him in no small amount of shock, then made a gesture, asking if he wanted me to come up on stage. He did. So, up I went, mumbling something along the lines of “I’m so nervous.”
I got on stage, accepted the award with an awkward laugh and an “I didn’t actually expect to win,” because, really, I didn’t, I submitted a sad poem and was a sophomore in a senior contest. Logically, the award should have gone to a senior. Instead, it went to me, and that was baffling.
The reality didn’t really sink in until a few days or so after, when my mom sent me a link.
(Please note, she does this often. I never know whether it’s urgent, optional, or just so she can have it somewhere easy-to-find.) So, naturally, I asked. She explained that there was a request for me to tell my story, had me read up on Dysgraphia Life, and, well, here I am.
It’s funny, once upon a time, I’d never have even dreamed of actually being able to write, and if given the chance, I would have talked for hours about the things I wanted to impart upon people.
Now, I can’t think of a single thing I want to say. It’s silly, and it’s taken me weeks— a month, more like —to write this, but I’m still struggling. I want to get it right, I want to be inspirational. The words aren’t flowing right, but that’s always been the case, and even with that obstacle, I succeeded.
I think if I’m to say anything at all, it’s that struggles don’t always limit success.