It’s My Life, My Disability & I’m Unashamed About It!

I’ve been living with a learning disability for over 30 years, now. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s a part of me. However, that doesn’t mean it’s been a bed of roses. It’s truly stunning how quickly an estimation is made of someone who learns differently than the average person. There are these ridiculous assumptions on how we as human beings are to be and if we don’t meet them, we are discarded like yesterday’s trash. Forgive me. I don’t mean to come across as bitter. I’m really not. Now I used to be. Wow was I ever! As time goes by, I have come to realize all of that negativity is a complete waste. What can I do to get my naysayers to accept me? Sadly, nothing. Others and I like me are people whom society has decided is not worthy to be here. We should just simply go away, but guess what, as Jennifer Holiday sings “I/We Ain’t Goin” anywhere, NOPE – we are here to stay and as Wendy Williams says…
The Wendy Williams Show – Wendy Williams (How You Doin..)
We have every right to dream and live out the purposes of our life, just as anyone else.
However, despite my “freedom for all” notions, I’ve encountered quite a few people through the years who decided they were going to personally make my life a living hell, all because I had the audacity to believe that I could participate in this thing called LIFE. I never truly understood the depth of the hatred society has for people like me. But without a doubt, it’s there. If they were willing to listen, I would have told them my truth: Yes, I have a learning disability. I can pick up information fairly quickly but being able to maintain it is a different story. Sometimes I can recall without any trouble but there are times when I do have difficulties. There is just no way in knowing. If you are willing to be patient, the information will come back to me. My fine motor skills are affected. I can’t tie my shoes as fast as the average person can. To save time, I wear shoes with Velcro or slip-ons. I can type over 60+ words a minute, I only use the first two or three fingers with the rest laying on the keyboard. There are other ways but overall, I make it work. I am quite independent. I have a job where I can best use the skills God has given me. I pay my bills and my taxes ANDDDD…I maintain my home all without government assistance. People will be people, society is what it is…. but just because that’s so, doesn’t mean that this chic will GO! I’m here to stay..

Do you have a topic that you’d like me to discuss, anything you’d like to know more about me?, Leave me a comment below!

Amy is a resident of Florida.  Since 2006, she has been self-employed in the dog care field.  In May 2017, she self-published a memoir titled “I Am Not Stupid” which is available through Amazon.  She writes for seethegoodinfo, an inspirational website and the Learning Disabilities Association’s newsletter LD Source.

Anger? Over It! – Discriminated Against? Done!

By Amy Temple

I have dealt with all sorts of rejection ever since I was diagnosed with a learning disability at the age of 5.

In school, I was bullied and harassed practically every day. It was very traumatic and left me with feelings of fear, anxiety and low self-esteem. I found it hard to trust. Lord knows I wanted to be more open and friendly but the worry over being humiliated was much too great for me too handle.

Photo Credit: Bing

After graduating and receiving my diploma. I went on to attend a vocational school where I received a certification in general secretary work, soon after I entered a job program for the disabled. While that was my first job and I was excited to start my life as well as my career. This job proved to not be such a happy start for me as I got my first real experience within the workplace of how society really felt about individuals with learning incapacities.

During the annual review, that’s when EVERYTHING came to a head and my presumptions became a realization! The program director just blurted out and told me, that I would never live above the poverty level. And to put the icing on the cake, he topped it off by saying “Amy will always be on welfare.” So, in other words, the degree I worked so hard to get was a complete waste of my time because according to him “I am just too damn STUPID!” At the end of the meeting, we had the option to terminate the contract.

We took it.

The job interviews after that proved to be very uncomfortable per the faces of the people interviewing me who clearly were viewing my problem, rather than my certification which qualified me to work. It was very clear they were only allowing the interview so they would not be at risk for a discriminatory lawsuit.

Photo Credit: Bing

During this phase, it was also becoming very obvious that the program coordinators were slacking up on finding me employment. The job coach assigned to my case was not that reliable either. Most of the interviews I went on were jobs that I’d found on my own. My parents on more than one occasion had to give me a ride to the job leads due to the coach being M.I.A.

With my parents’ help, I continued looking for regular employment. To get out of the house, I began volunteering at a local assisted living facilities where I helped with daily activities.

Every month I must have gone on several job interviews. I even went back to the same vocational training center I attended in high school and became certified in Medical Secretary work where I had multiple internships at a local hospital.

One day I had applied for a position at the medical center of the retirement home I was volunteering for and soon discovered I was one of three finalists and the hiring manager wanted each of us to do a two-week internship. I didn’t get the job…

I must confess, I was surprised as I had the most experience. After speaking with the hiring manager, I discovered the two medical secretaries I was working under had lied about my performance. The one hired was a friend of theirs.

I remember having a conversation with the other candidate. She was a single mother wanting to provide a better life for her kids. If anyone else deserved the job, it was her! My heart just went out to that family. I couldn’t get over how low those two secretaries went just to get their friend the position.

Photo Credit: Bing

After that, I decided I was not pursuing the 9-5 life anymore. I didn’t want any part of a life that was going to viciously discriminate and/or stab someone in the back like that.

Fast forward nearly twenty years later & after MUCH self-examination, I have made peace with how society feels about me.

I got hopes. I got goals. I got dreams.

And, I intend on making them all come true. I’m 42 years young! & The LAST thing I don’t have time for? Is figuring out why certain people hate me. Over It! Done!

Amy is a resident of Florida.  Since 2006, she has been self-employed in the dog care field.  In May 2017, she self-published a memoir titled “I Am Not Stupid” which is available through Amazon.  She writes for seethegoodinfo, an inspirational website and the Learning Disabilities Association’s newsletter LD Source.

Clementine

By Amy Temple

Featured Pic Credit: Bing/Bassett Hound

Every once in a while, someone comes into your life and leaves a lasting impression on you. Whether or not they are in your life for 20 minutes or 20 years, they completely change you.

I have met people who have done that just but the one who touched me the most was a Bassett Hound named Clementine.

Clementine came into my life on June 9, 1987. I was 9. The breeding family raising her decided to sell her when a complicated birth required Clementine to be spayed.

On the day we met, my father and I took her for a walk and already my protective instincts were kicking in. I knew I had to have her.

A few days later we did. Oh I was so excited!

Bing/Excited

I laid out a blanket complete with a treat and a doggie toy. She went for the treat…go figure!

Clementine was famous in our family for eating a whole loaves of bread and half a chocolate cake. The most interesting thing about these incidents was that she actually pulled back the plastic just like a real person would!!

However my mother and I will never forget having to rush her to the vet after she ate a whole bowl of Hershey Kisses, foil and all.

One thing you had to remember was not to bother her whenever she was sleeping or she would growl. We were reminded from time to time but Clementine rarely bit.

In general, Clementine was a very good dog, affectionate and playful. I came home from school sick and she laid on the couch with me, laying her chin on my knee. She always seemed to know when there was something wrong and tried to make things better.

Bing/Bassett Hound

Like any other animal owner, we considered Clementine a member of the family. There wasn’t anything we wouldn’t try to do for her.

Clementine was always doing the funniest things. While we were having supper one night, my father discovered she was sitting right beside him, just staring! I mean, she wasn’t even blinking!

There’s one incident that particularly stands out the most to me…

One day Clementine was sniffing behind the toilet and got stuck! It took a lot of pulling and grunting but eventually she was freed. In mid 1995, Clementine began having trouble breathing and developed a hacking cough.

After numerous tests it was revealed Clementine’s whole heart was enlarged.

Bing/Bassett Hound

She was on too much medication for kennels to keep her so our family didn’t see us too much but thankfully they understood.

Around Labor Day 1997, Clementine had a heart attack while out in the backyard. She managed to crawl back inside and died in front of the coffee table.

I remember how brave my father was that night. He called the family to announce Clementine’s death. He was so calm and strong on the phone but afterwards, Dad broke down.

Clementine’s death tore me apart as well. I must’ve cried every day for two weeks straight. I felt like half of me died right along with her. She was the only dog, I’d ever lost.

Pets are our very best friends and confidante’s, they’re our FAMILY. I miss Clementine and think of her often. She’ll forever be apart of my heart.

R.I.P Clementine ❤️

Do you have a pet that you loved and lost?
Share your story below, I’d love to hear about it!

Amy is a resident of Florida.  Since 2006, she has been self-employed in the dog care field.  In May 2017, she self-published a memoir titled “I Am Not Stupid” which is available through Amazon.  She writes for seethegoodinfo, an inspirational website and the Learning Disabilities Association’s newsletter LD Source.

A Survivor’s Story

Photo credit above via Roshonda – B Creative

By Amy Temple

As most of you know I have learning disabilities.

I’ve had to deal with all kinds of discrimination and rejections for most of my life.

However, what I’m about to confess is something that I hadn’t openly talked about to many people.

In junior high, I encountered a lot of bullying and harassment. Every day I was verbally and occasionally physically harassed. I’d get called all sorts of derogatory names, mocking my learning disabilities. There were trippings, pushes, and verbal threats.

Photo credit: Bullying hurts via Canva

I was so frightened to go to school. I would huddle up against the wall in between classes clutching my bookbag tightly. I would often go homesick.

The school administration really tried hard to get the abuse under control but it was a big school so there was only so much they could do.

After two years my parents finally moved away to another town.

I attended high school in a nice and quiet country town. What a relief it was to see friendly people and not be afraid I was going to be assaulted.

However, I dealt with a male student who asked me out frequently for over a year! He wouldn’t take no for an answer. I found all those familiar feelings of fear returning. I finally got a teacher to get him to back off.

I found myself dealing with some serious trauma issues. I dealt with anxiety, fear, and insecurity.

I wanted to be approved of so badly! I wanted to be free from all of my negative feelings. During my senior year, I thought maybe if I had the attention of a popular guy… all my mental problems would be over.

So, I mustered up the courage and asked one of them out.

Gif Image

In the end, instead of it being lovers bliss. It ended up being a practical joke that the guy and his friend played on me. I felt like such a fool. Let me tell you that didn’t help my low self-esteem at all!

As I previously mentioned I dealt with discrimination and rejection in the workforce, too. No one would hire me because of my learning disabilities. A brilliant job opportunity fell through because co-workers lied about me.

Photo credit: Workplace harassment via Bing

When I was volunteering at a local retirement home, a male resident assaulted me by groping and attempting to kiss me.

With all of the trauma, I experienced I was a mess!

I spent years reading self-help books…it was much cheaper than therapy!

I could not understand why I was being treated like I was.

  • Why was I bullied?
  • Why was I harassed?
  • Why was I assaulted?
  • What is so wrong with me that nobody would hire me?
  • Why would someone lie about me so I wouldn’t be hired at was to be my only decent chance for a job?

I found it hard to trust. I pretty much kept to myself only spending time with my family.

I had imaginings of a bigger and better life but all of what I went through kept me away from pursuing it. I spent 30 years trying to improve my life, to overcome all that happened to me.

I thought plenty of times I had been healed but recently it all came to a nasty head. All the emotions that I been feeling came out one night and I cried! I vented to God for most of the night.

As the song states “Have a little talk with Jesus, Makes it Right!” and it sure did, I hadn’t felt that clear and at peace in a very long time!

I understand I may never forget what happened to me but I can honestly say I am starting to find ways to begin the bigger and better life I have been seeking.

I have come to understand I have to take life one day at a time. I have to keep pressing forward and not look back.

To my fellow survivors…

What happened to us was not our fault! We must continue on living and not give the abusers any more power.

You are just as worthy as anyone else, hence the song from Gloria Gaynor!

I WILL SURVIVE! I DID SURVIVE & SO WILL YOU!!

I Quit…And I Feel Free! by Amy Temple

Featured Photo by Irina Iriser from Pexels

So, previously I mentioned that I’d been working for 13 years as a dog sitter for a Christian couple who live in the same residential community as my family and I. Well, it all went downhill very fast and here’s how…

Last month as I was taking the couple’s Boston Terrier puppy for a ride in its stroller, I stopped to talk to a woman who was also walking her dog.

When all of a sudden the couple’s Boston terrier puppy -who’s name shall remain anonymous at this point, jumps out of the stroller, despite having on a neck strap, in which fell completely off and goes after this woman’s dog!

Understandably the woman freaked out by the sudden action of the terrier but remained calm enough to pick up its leash and hand it to me. Afterward, what conversation we were having had now been compromised, she then took her dog and ran onto her porch, which thankfully was only a few feet away from the incident.

I felt completely horrible about the incident and apologized immensely, more times than I could count. Finally, I picked up the terrier who had seemingly calmed down, put him back into the stroller and walked away….deep down as I left the scene, I knew without a shadow of a doubt…

I was done with this job!

When I got home, my parents picked up that something was a little off with me as I still had the look of horror on my face. “What Happened? they asked. After telling them the story of the terrier and the chaos it called that day, they echoed my sentiment and agreed – It was time to quit!

Two days later, I spoke with the couple and gave my two weeks notice. However, after further discussion, we all mutually agreed that I’d be better to end the agreement immediately. In all, the agreement was peaceful and offered an open door for me to visit the puppy anytime I wanted.

When I look back on the situation, I realize that I shouldn’t have said yes when the couple asked me to return as their dog sitter for a new puppy they had gotten right after their 14-yr old Boston Terrier passed away.

I knew the hours for taking care of the puppy were going to be dreadfully long, especially since both worked full-time jobs. Honestly, I did try for several months to train him but this last incident had proved to be a little too much for me to handle.

Photo Credit: huffingtonpost.co.uk

However, as I move on, I can’t say I have any regrets over my decision to quit. Now, I have all the time in the world to put my time and energy where it matters most and that’s with my family and my dog Echo – who is very glad I am not leaving her as often as I used to!

Now don’t get me wrong – I haven’t done away with my dog training career completely. I’m still working and do have other clients but the work is sporadic and not on a daily basis as the past couple’s were.

The puppy experience over the last few months had left me with a feeling of overwhelming anxiety – so much so, it nearly wiped me out!

But now I feel so free!

Free enough to pursue and kick my writing career up a notch! I already have several writing opportunities lined up.

Hmm! I wonder, could that be a sign from God?

I think it might be.

What do you think?

Amy is a resident of Florida.  Since 2006, she has been self-employed in the dog care field.  In May 2017, she self-published a memoir titled “I Am Not Stupid” which is available through Amazon.  She writes for seethegoodinfo, an inspirational website and the Learning Disabilities Association’s newsletter LD Source.