Alright, I need to decipher what my handle means as it sounds more like an outlook Eeyore might have rather than the positive thoughts that I long to convey. Oh and by the way, please check out my “About” section to see what I do plan to write about!
We all have challenges in one way or another, I personally grew up with Dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder. That sounds very past tense, though I am confident that my wife and children would testify that I still exhibit symptoms of both disabilities.
Most people think Dyslexia is strictly a reading reversal disability and/or a result of brain damage, neither is true. My type of Dyslexia affected my socialization, expression, self-esteem, and thinking.
It is common for people with these types of deficiencies to have elevated abilities in other areas that are unique, you may recognize the names Spielberg, Einstein, and Picasso. There is certainly no genius typing this blog and not situating myself in their company for that purpose, however, I am honored to share a disability with these greats.
Often these unique characteristics remain uncovered as the “problem child” is quickly written off by those that are understandably bothered by the behaviors which are on display or for which they do not understand.
I will speak in-depth about these hidden advantages later, watch for a future post on one of the abilities that came in my personal benefits package, hyper focus!
Thankfully, my terrific parents funded my treatment by world-renowned neurologist Dr. Harold N. Levinson in New York in the late 80’s.
As a classmate at school, a student, a son, a grandson, a nephew, a sibling, a trainee, even as a patient, I was either being misunderstood or I was working the angles taking advantage of someone who was thinking the situation to be a misunderstanding. In any case misunderstandings were present in nearly every communication.
Many hurt feelings ensued travelling in both directions between my parents and I, as well as during exchanges with my siblings. Failed relationships with teachers, peers, youth pastors, camp counselors, employers, almost everyone really. No one was even wrong, just a continued misunderstanding. I was different from most, not better and not worse, just different.
When I was doing a job for someone though, I never seemed to disappoint. I would detail my Mom’s car for extra spending money as a kid, I always blew her away with the details. I sprayed cleaner onto Q-tips to clean the heat vents, her shock was so fun for me.
As a kid I was always offering to cut lawns for neighbors for no pay. These attempts were nearly always declined as the adult I had approached knew better than to take advantage of the kid at their door. Either that, or they thought they were being hustled.
I was truly just so hungry to show someone that I could do something good, money just wasn’t the currency that motivated me. The look on their face when I completed the mowing task and swept the sidewalk clear of any clippings afterwards, that was what excited me. That facial expression was the currency then and it is still the currency for me today.
I know that my mortgage lender will not accept happy neighbor’s smiling faces as currency so an income is necessary to make my mortgage payment. I have my hands full with my own lawn these days anyway.
In social gatherings I was always the odd man out, not a sob story, simply a misunderstanding. Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time was my modus operandi. Even saying the right thing the wrong way was prevalent.
You know when a group is gathered, everyone is laughing about a topic of discussion and one guy is pretty quiet? All of a sudden, as if he had been piecing words together the whole time, he blurts out his two cents and the topic has already moved on. Ladies and gentlemen…Mister Misunderstood. You can also call him Mr. Awkward, Mr. Red Face, and Mr. Get Me The Heck Outta Here!
People were either laughing at my poor timing, or they were not but I thought they were from seeing it occur in so many other instances. When it was not judgement I was genuinely under, my fear of judgement kept me down in that spot.
The only exceptions were the people that were feeling bad for me, which doesn’t make you feel much better. Actually, it made a great deal of people over the years think that I was clamoring for attention which was quite contrary to the truth as I desperately wanted to blend in, to also participate, but to blend in.
Another major area of misunderstanding in my life has been my genuine desire to serve others. Take my election run(s) as a fairly current example. It had been suggested numerous times from external sources and it would be fair to surmise that a local business person may create business opportunities by running in a municipal election, given the front-line nature of required public involvement. The flip side is that the candidate’s viewpoints, party affiliations, planks and policies could yield just as many detractors as supporters. In my own personal campaign(s), I only endeavored to serve people, that’s it. Nothing fancy, no ulterior motives whatsoever.
To answer the potential question that some may have; no, this is neither a platform for nor a declaration of, my intent to put my name forward in the upcoming General Municipal Election of 2018.
The point was that things are not always as they appear. Perhaps, the offer of service was genuine and not motivated by dollars and cents as some people had thought.
I learned so much through those defeats and I am so thankful for them. Why so thankful, for a loss you may ask? The answer is in my future value of adversity post which I am building towards through a series of short…er…long winded “getting to know you” posts (see “About” section).
I want any potential readers to note that I count the misunderstandings that have taken place in my life to be chock-full of gold-bearing pay-dirt. As I learned about the needs of others, I learned about myself. I had to train myself to adapt to my shortcomings, obviously work still remains and will forever be incomplete, but much progress has been made. With each lesson a better communication strategy has prevailed.
I learned to speak with people in their terms, in the spot where they are comfortable. I now earn a living communicating and have developed identifiable skills that can be shared with others.
My goal here is not to defend every decision or move I have ever made, or to appease any past critics. My goal was to shed some light on the namesake Mister Misunderstood. Oh yeah, and to clarify that I am not an Eeyore, much more a Tigger with oodles of enthusiasm which can be exasperating at times.
B E G O O D T O P E O P L E