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Dyslexia Is Our Superpower Podcast

Nov 1, 2020

"What I'm not the best at doesn't take place of what I'm amazing at." -Zaida Jo, age 10

Check out Zaida Jo's short story:

The Beautiful Brain of Zaida Jo

I’m Zaida Jo and I am 10.9 years of age. I was born (or gifted as my mom says) with something called, Dyslexia! To me it’s a big word that most know little about-but it’s dyslexia awareness month, so with a little help putting my words on paper-I’m here to tell you about me, like a story of me-so kinda my own biography in a way.

I knew I was different in kindergarten. I would look at books differently than the other kids-mostly, I stared at all the glorious pictures, I love pictures not only are they beautiful, but they tell a story. I often make up my own stories in my head about the pictures I see in books because words are scary. I hate books without pictures, but teachers love them for some reason. Sitting in class watching others read without struggle, and writing like they were born to do it feels so lonely. I tried to write like the rest but my pencil rarely does what my brain wants it to-so I would draw a lot. Not all teachers like for you to draw all the time, and sometimes I would get in trouble for it. So I would put my head down and cry. My parents found out I had dyslexia in kindergarten, but not much changed for me other than being pulled out of class more for extra help. I liked my speech therapist a lot, but she also gave candy and chocolate is the way to my heart! The other special help felt like more work-more work that I didn’t understand. Words are mean sometimes, I look at them and they run away from my brain, scatter, and never look the same.

Some really cool things about me that make me awesomely different is my imagination! I love art, set design, makeup, role play, preforming on stage(dance)-and I’ve been really great at these things for years! I pay a lot of attention to detail, so like if I’m dancing a solo-I like to dress full head to toe and express my full character. I did a solo a last year to the song: ‘Unsteady’ and I painted makeup that looked like dirt and ashes all over my face and body, and cut holes in my costume so the judges would understand the movement behind the song. My room is full of what my mom calls, “Zaida Jo’s nest!” I collect amazon boxes and build houses for my dolls or towers, I also built a night stand out of a box. My dolls bed is a tin lunchbox wrapped in tissue paper, and don’t get me started on all the home décor items I’ve made from art scraps I find here and there. I love creating stuff you use from things you would normally throw away. Sometimes my mom gets upset about her missing tape, and makeup-but only if it was the last of it and I didn’t tell her, oops. My brother finds his stuff missing from time to time too-but, they usually figure out is was me and it was really important for my “nesting!” I also love a fun adventure-I’m not scared of much at all, and I’ve always been called fearless. My favorite color is pink, hot pink, nope-actually neon pink. The color makes my soul happy. I thoroughly enjoy any and every Disney movie-they’re all magical to me. Except ‘Dumbo’ that one made me an emotional wreck, dear Disney: you’re wrong for that one. I didn’t watch it twice that’s for sure! I also love talking to people and telling stories. Unless I’m in a learning environment then I’m in the zone and my brain is working super hard to process everything. That’s when I get the serious look on my face-some people think I’m being stand off ish-but I’m really just trying to process what I need to know and my face just looks intense.

In Third grade I transferred to a special school for kids like me. We all have the same struggles and different ones too. I have some really awesome friends there, and words aren’t as scary now. I mean I’m sure I’ll always not like them much-but I don’t feel different at my school. I’m in fifth grade now, and I still love everything dance-something about the stage makes me feel free and Jordan my teacher understands dyslexia, and me. I feel comfortable with Jordan because he does the dance moves with me. I don’t do well with too many steps and directions-I do so much better when I see things. I have learned to tune the music out and use my body for the steps-this ain’t easy sister. Having noise in the background while a teacher is telling you multiple steps is cray cray on my beautiful dyslexic brain. But over time I figure it out. I joined Girl Scouts this year, and my troop is really supportive of my dyslexia and dysgraphia-plus we get to help others, and go on fun adventures so it’s a win win for me.

Some of the things I struggle with outside of the walls of Lakes and Bridges are definitely menus! So I rely on my mom or brother to read stuff to me-but sometimes this embarrasses me so I just order the same stuff. Words are everywhere-like everywhere and if you don’t have dyslexia you really don’t understand how much of a struggle it can be. I use talk to text on my devices at home and I can google faster than my 14 year old brother this way, haha. Writing is still a touchy thing for me, I’d rather draw-I’m good at that! Another thing I notice when I’m around other kids my age without dyslexia is they think I’m kinda slower or maybe I don’t understand much-It can be intense at times and scary, or even sad. You just have to be proud of who you are, and I always think of the great friends I do have. They’re the ones missing out on my magnificent self, and I think I’m a really good friend!

I’m a happy kid most all the time. Dyslexia is just a part of me-but I think it makes me awesome! No one else in my family has it(that we know of), so it’s like I’m the first. My doctor’s adult daughter has it and he talks about it with me every time I visit him, his name is Dr. Beane-I like that about him. Basically everyone at my school has dyslexia, at least the kids do. So I’m always surrounded by people who (for the most part), understand me. I love to love. I really love hugs, my family, and friends. I always find ways around my dyslexia-there is so much beauty around. What I’m not the best at doesn’t take place of what I’m amazing at. I truly think our world could be a better place if we all just listened more to each other even if it’s a kid. Kids have a lot to say, and even if you’re old you can still learn! So that’s me, a bit about me at least! I hope it opened your eyes and heart about dyslexia. If you have a child that does not have dyslexia talk to them about it-it will help, I promise!

Signing out: Zaida Jo Billups