Getting my college degree

Things are so good right now; I can’t believe it.  Well earlier, I had made a post about how I was struggling with my math class at college, it was the only class keeping me from graduating.  I have a learning disability in math, which doesn’t mean I am stupid or that I don’t try hard enough ( For those who judge me), it means that my brain is not wired to understand math concepts. It’s similar to someone who has dyslexia and struggles with reading the most basic things. In fact, I am not ashamed of my disabilities, they make me who I am and I use my experience to help others.

 

Anyways earlier I had to drop out of my developmental math class, I just didn’t get it despite my best efforts. I had actually taken the course multiple times and it caused so much emotional distress that I couldn’t sleep at night, I was having angry outbursts and anxiety attacks, I was in bad shape. I assume a lot of people with learning disabilities deal with frustration. People without learning disabilities fail to understand that we try really hard and the issue is not that we are lazy or dumb, it’s just that we learn differently and the traditional way of the classroom doesn’t work for us. We need to find our own system of learning; we all have our own learning styles and learn at our own pace.

 

So, we require accommodations, which can include longer tests times, testing in a quieter space, extra tutoring, frequent breaks. I had talked to a disability counselor prior and I had all my documentation, which had al long history of learning disabilities and emotional issues that impeded my learning, including the trauma of losing my brother to suicide when I was 14.  So, I was given the accommodations and even with that in place and putting all my energy into studying, I failed my midterm even though it was an open book quiz, I was so frustrated.

 

I was also fortunate  to volunteer with a disabled ministry at church and the lady who created the group offered to find me a tutor and some other people looked at my math with me. I am so blessed to have so many people who support and care about me, people who take a vested interest in my life. I don’t know where I would be without this support

 

My mom and I decided to have a meeting with the disability counselor, we brought all the documentation and discussed the issues I had with math particularly the fact that I went to 5 or 6 alternative schools while dealing with the death of my brother.  The meeting went well I asked for them to either waive the class or give me a substitution but she is insinuated that a substitution was very rare, so I wasn’t very optimistic when I left the meeting.

 

I was told that I would be contacted about the school’s decision. I waited and waited and heard nothing. So, a week later I emailed the counselor and she told me she had sent everything to her boss and I would receive a call or email. Again, I waited 2 weeks and heard nothing so I was losing hope. I mean, all of that hard work and it was a brick wall.  I felt like my dreams were crumbling. It just seems like there are so many obstacles and its hard not to want to give up sometimes.

My mom who is my best advocate wrote a letter on my behalf, asking what the hold up was.  And before anyone makes a judgement, I am so grateful that my mom advocates for me. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to confront people or seem pushy and she is really good at fighting for me and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.  She was able to get their attention when I couldn’t.

 

Almost immediately, we got a response saying that the substitution had been approved, I couldn’t believe it, I was  so excited because I thought it would never happen. I wasn’t expecting for them to approve it. I am going to take astronomy and that is much easier for me than math. It will require studying but I know I can pass this. It also means I will finally have a college degree, a life long dream of mine. I couldn’t have imagined this 10 years ago when I was struggling so much.

 

The lesson I learned from all of this was preservice, never giving up, and to have faith.  I thought about God an how he is always working in my life and always answers my prayers.  It’s funny because I am assisting a special needs Sunday school and the theme this week was perservance and not giving up, I mean how much clearer could God’s message  to me be?

 

I also find it interesting that at this time, I would get a troll, saying that I was stupid and lazy and couldn’t even pass a math course and this miracle happened immediately after. Like the devil trying to trip you up or something.  Things happen for a reason and this troll attempt only gave me confidence and got me more connected with others and propelled me to write even further. So, I am grateful for the troll comments, gives me motivation.

 

So, I wanted to share the wonderful news with you and to thank you for all of your support. I will keep everyone updated

 

 

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Depression is a liar

Depression is a liar, it tells me I’m no good, when I know it’s a lie. It tells me no one likes when in reality the one that hates me the most is myself, others loves me when I can’t love myself. Depression tells me I’m stupid because I don’t learn as fast as the others, when the reality is that I’m quite bright when I’m given the write ( 😉 ) tools, that is when I am the most successful. Depression tells me not to even try because I’ll fail anyways. Well, despite the obstacles, I have achieved a lot and with some motivation a ton of determination, I can achieve even more, if I put forth the effort, I’m sure of it. Depression keeps me focused on the past and the mistakes I made, what I could have done differently, beating me over the head with cruel taunts when I need to be in the present and preparing for the future. Depression tells me, it will never get better and it will always be this way, not it won’t. I will rise above it, far into a better space where I can be at peace. Depression makes me fearful of asking for help. “If you talk about depression openly or appear vulnerable, they’ll laugh and call you weak; most haven’t, asking for help has gotten me the support I need, so another lie right there. Lastly depression isolates me, tells me I’m all alone, no one else feels this way, well, that couldn’t be farther from the truth, I’m not alone and I know for a fact there are so many out there just like me, millions. And together we can tell depression ” We aren’t going to listen to you any more, you’re a damn liar”

 

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I’m back in school

I want to make a quick update. Today was a new semester of college for me and I only have a few classes until I can get my degree in human service disabilities and finally graduate. I have finished all of my classes including internships and now all that I have left are these math courses.  All my life I have had learning disabilities in math and every time I see a math problem; I automatically feel dumb and I feel myself get frustrated. When I got to class; we had to take knowledge check and I didn’t know anything.  Out of 20 questions, I got 1 right; again, I felt stupid.  Luckily, it didn’t affect my grade but it shows how far behind I am; I’m not bad at math; I simple can’t do it. I said a little prayer and told myself not to get frustrated because that only makes it worse. On a positive note; I am determined this time around; I am going to make this class successful. Late last year; I got in touch with a disability counselor and she said she could give me some accommodations; which hopefully will help. I’m going to email her tomorrow and see how she can help me. There is also a tutoring class available and I am going to go to that tomorrow; I really intend on making the effort. I pray that God will see me through and I am fortunate to have a lot of support and I am blessed.  Thank you, friends, for all your kind words and understanding; it really makes a difference in my life.

 

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How I have grown as a writer

I just finished backing up my blog; it took a long time and I finally got it done.   For the last year or so; I have been working on my old computer and I don’t have Word on it; so, everything was saved to my blog only and I was really concerned about losing everything. I finally managed to buy a new laptop for Christmas and was determined to get everything safe; in case (God forbid) something happened to my blog and I lost all of my writings; that would have been heartbreaking.  So right now, I am relieved to have everything saved; safe and sound.

As I was saving my writings, I noticed that I have written a whole lot since I started my blog in October 2017 (has it been that long?); 530 posts to be exact.  I sometimes would make 2 or 3 posts in a day; I had a lot to say; a lot of personal pain and memories I needed to get out; it was therapeutic.  My early writings are short but potent and raw, honest; full of anger, extreme sadness and a need to be understood.  It was the first time I had ever written these feelings and certainly the first time sharing them with an audience; I was risking being vulnerable and feared being judged about my posts; I wrote quite a few posts about the anxiety of sharing my writings online. I had been judged all my life and put down and wasn’t sure how people would react to my posts; I was surprised at the positive reactions I got; I didn’t expect it at first.  I was just happy people were reading my posts and could relate to them.

 

I look back at those writings and although I’m proud of all my posts; I can’t help feel somewhat embarrassed at my early writings. I hadn’t found my voice as a writer yet and while I was honest; I spoke about my feelings in metaphors. I wrote a poem about River Phoenix that was really about my brother that passed; I couldn’t bare to write how I felt about his death; I wasn’t ready yet. When talking about my anxieties about women; I wrote a poem about traffic lights and mixed signals; it’s a great poem but it wasn’t until I made posts about how exactly I was feeling (without the metaphors) could I really reach my audience in a major way.  So, while I wrote poetry; I also had raw honest posts about the death of my brother, childhood memories, my issues with mental health and disabilities. The more I wrote; the more confident I became; I stopped caring how my audience would react and just started writing from my heart. As I scrolled up; my blog posts got much better (in my opinion) I found better ways of articulating my feelings; my posts because longer and expressive and I could write about a different range of topics; with an air of confidence that I didn’t have in the beginning.

I learned a lot about myself in reading my posts throughout my writing journey; I see myself as a different person now; the writing helped me make sense of the past and cope with the present. It hurts to read some of those posts; some of the most painful things I have ever written and it was in public no less.  Sometimes I see a post and it makes me want to cry; other times I smile at my accomplishments and other times admittedly; I cringe.  I saw I’m proud but some posts I made were cliched and amateur but that’s how you get better, right?

I hope this past inspires new writers not to give up; to keep writing and to be honest; to grow as writers.   My tip is to write for yourself and hope it reaches someone; if you write (like I did in the beginning) and worry what others will think; your write will come across as authentic and the best writing is real; so be real; be yourself and keep posting; even if it’s multiple times a day.

So now I can sit back and relax; proud of this blog and grateful for all the amazing support of my followers; you guys have been amazing. I have had nothing but positivity on this blog (with some rare exceptions) and I appreciate all of you; your comments make the difference and give me the confidence and the privilege to call myself a writer. Thank for taking this journey with and will continue to blog for many years to come.

 

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Why I don’t read books

Can I make a confession and please don’t judge me but I don’t read. And I don’t  mean that every blue moon I read a book; no, I don’t read books at all ( unless it’s for school and that is a chore I can barely get through)  When I see authors and writers on Instagram and this blog; go on and on about the books they read; I actually feel stupid. In a sense they make me feel as if I am stupid.  Because I know there are some who think that you can’t write if you are not an avid reader; I don’t really have a rebuttal.  I just want to talk about why I don’t read. Here’s the thing: I love to write. Sure, my grammar isn’t the greatest but I think I am proud of what I’ve written; it comes from the heart and I try to be honest and I just enjoy expressing myself. I love writing poetry and have just started trying to write fiction and it’s a lot of fun; creating characters, dialogue, setting the tone, giving them a backstory; I love it.   I just have never been focused enough to read; I can’t get through a few pages without getting lost or distracted and within about 15 minutes; I give up.  Maybe it’s because I have ADHD or I’m a visual learner but I have such trouble reading.  And people have suggested audio books and again; I just can’t focus on a voice going on and on unless it is about a subject I really am interested in.  What’s I find to be interesting is that fact that I pride myself on having a large vocabulary and a way of expressing myself through words and people say you can only get that way by reading a lot; I got that way because I truly believe my writing abilities are a natural talent ( not bragging) and maybe one can be a writer without being an avid reader, I don’t know

And I love to learn;  I think being a spectrum; I have this obsession with learning, you know.  I can talk about history or music or different cultures all day long. At one point I downloaded over a thousand documentaries on every subject imaginable and although I lost most of them; I watched a lot and learned so much about history, cultures ( different subcultures) music, social movements, documentaries about autism and mental health disorders., nature and animals, biblical history, space, more BBC documentaries than i could ever watch in a lifetime.  I consider myself an avid learner who is hungry for knowledge.  When people go home and watch reality shows; I’m watching a 12 part series on Civil Rights; not because it’s required but because I genuinely enjoy it.   The weirdest part is that I learned to read at a very early age with very little help.  My parents say when I was 4 or 5; I just started reading on my own; without any help.  I never struggled learning how to read at all; it came naturally to me.  So maybe I just have to accept that reading isn’t my bag and it doesn’t make me stupid; despite what some other writers and published authors may think.  Maybe it means my writing is pretty damn good; considering I haven’t cracked open a book since I was about 10.   Just had to vent.

Dave

An ADHD poem

I wrote this poem after a long day of dealing with ADHD symptoms at work; I feel exhausted

A flow of ideas; a stream of my imagination;information overload; the clutter of  too many noises all at once drains my mind’s battery and I’m  left exhausted; in a state of helplessness ; the wheels in my head constantly turning like the whirring of the industrial machine beside me. Too many conversations create a blur; a whirlpool and confusion takes over; i cant decipher the coded message coming the loud speaker and I wish my brain was like yours How you do process of all this constant information without feeling overwhelmed? Why cant people understand I am working as fast as my brain will allow me? Why do i feel dumb when i know i’m not. And why don’t i give myself a break; shrug my shoulders and realize i’m doing the best i can?

First day volunteering

Today was such an incredible day today. In my previous blogs I talked about a volunteer opportunity with my church that helps the disabled. I really wanted to be a part of it but I was frustrated because I was concerned because I have an erratic work schedule; I was thinking that I would have to work on a day that I wanted to volunteer; I have missed so many things due to being stuck at work and I feel bitter about it.  I thought “I could be out there making a difference but instead I’m stuck here wasting my life away”; I was in a negative space.  My mom told me they had all sort of volunteer opportunities during the week and I finally decided to contact them; they were excited to hear from me.  The organization are run by a mother and daughter who have someone disabled in their family; which I think is the sole reason why they started up the disabled ministry in the first place.  But they are both so incredibly nice and enthusiastic and they made me feel so welcome.  I am blessed to have met them; to connect with those who are passionate about helping the disabled and by observing them I could tell they really cared about the young adults with disabilities; they were so kind and I was impressed. It was a totally different vibe than my experience with my internship; which at times felt really negative. I wonder if being a Christian organization makes a difference; I’m not quite sure.

So on Thursdays at my church; they have a lunch that is served by the disabled; they prepare the food, take the orders and do the set up and clean up and let me just say they do an incredible job and the volunteers are so helpful. We started out with a little bible study and it gave me a chance to get to know the young adults I will helping out. I then helped them set up before everyone rushed in.  I ended up working in the kitchen area; helping a young man who was washing dishes; I dried ( easy enough).  I basically made sure he stayed on task; which is funny because I am the last person that you’d ask to help someone stay on task lol ( ADHD anyone?) But it went great and we really got along.  To be honest I have always worked well with the disabled; they are easier to be around than non-disabled people; to be honest.   But it was difficult keeping him on task because I trying to keep myself on task but I will improve; I promise haha.  But it was a lot of fun.

I just feel so blessed and I know God is working in my life. I prayed for an answer; a way of helping others so that I wasn’t so self centered and depressed; God came through.  I have my ups and downs but God has never given up on me and I think about all the people in my life who I have loved and are there for me. And I feel this volunteer opportunity is a chance to meet new people and be of service to others; what could be better than that?. I pray that God allows to continue with this ministry and that I continue to be positive.  I am a very lucky man; not everyone has the amount of support I have or the opportunities to make a difference.  I think my 36th year is started out to be a very good one.

Thank you so much listening

Dave

 

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