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!!

Advertisements

Finally Letting Go In Order to Move On…

I’ve been living with a learning disability for most of my life.

And if that wasn’t enough, I’ve also lived with the fact of having many medical professionals tell my parents – that unfortunately, I wasn’t going to amount up to anything.

Because of this stigma, I’ve felt the pain and agony of school bullying and harassment. After graduation, I joined a local job employment program for the disabled where I got my first experience of just how unacceptable society can be.

And trust me, just because I had a disability – employers didn’t waste time making me feel worse than what I already had been feeling, each looked down on me as if I was a complete waste of time, almost as if they “had” to hire me because they didn’t want a lawsuit. My heart went out to the other members in the program who had more severe disabilities. Lord knows what they must have been going through!

After several years of nothing but frustration over the discrimination and rejection, I decided to quit the job search.

Being 23 at the time, most people my age were already living on their own with good paying jobs and there I was, still living at home without a job prospect in sight. I remember volunteering at the local senior citizen center just to get out the house.

I began to feel bad for my parents whom were still having to support me. Thinking of that the job search and the remnants of school bullying and taunting began to make me one bitter person, it was like a plague that seemed to latch on to me daily.

However, I could go on and on about how angry I was at being disabled. The bitterness, resentment and grudges I felt from others judging me because of it which led me to carry some big chips on my shoulders – towards everyone!

Oh my, years of holding all that hurt affected me in all areas of my life. So much so, I began to live with worry, fear and anxiety. It all started in junior high when I created the habit of picking my skin to the point of scars and my nails to the point of nubs. I soon developed an eating disorder.

I had major trust issues. I didn’t have any friends outside of my volunteer work. I didn’t date. This lasted for years.

When I was 34, my maternal grandmother died from esophageal cancer. She was my last surviving grandparent. Losing her finally opened my eyes, it’s sad that it takes a tragedy for us to really see ourselves. I decided that I could no longer live this way and I had to do something about it.

It took me several years of self help programs and books but I have finally found peace. Now that’s not to say I haven’t made some pretty big whoppers. I mean, I am still human and do make mistakes, but I’m a much better ME, a me that I finally approve of!

I’ve been on this earth for nearly 42 years and have done an extensive amount of soul searching. In that discovery, I’ve learned quite a few things about myself as well as my environment and that’s this:

  • Not everyone is going to accept you.
  • People are going to hurt you because they’re hurting themselves and get a “high” off of causing others pain.
  • If you allow haters to rule your life, you’re slowly killing yourself.

I know because I spent well over 30 years accepting and doing just that. Don’t waste your life over how others perceive you. How God perceives you is what matters. He sent His son to die for you. All of your sins, all of your mistakes have been forgiven.

You are fearfully, wonderfully and beautifully made.

And don’t you EVER forget that!

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.

Learning to Be ME

by Amy R Temple

As anyone of you who may have read my previous post about living with a learning disability may recall, I have had to deal with numerous discriminatory situations as well as being rejected; simply because I didn’t “fit” the status quo.

And please don’t ask me what “status quo” is because I have no idea and even if I did, I would totally ignore it!

Anyone who knows me would tell you (my parents, especially) that I don’t like being told what to do, I just hate rules! But let’s back up a sec, I’m not saying that I will purposely go do something completely stupid and get myself arrested, Of course not. Although I have been tempted to strike someone for looking down on me for not meeting this ridiculous status quo!

It all began when I was little…

Whenever my parents would take me to this one particular pediatrician, I would be fine…until he walked in. And then I would begin to cry. Let me rephrase that…I would wail!

After a while, he asked my parents, “Have you ever considered the possibility that Amy may not be educable?” Yeah… no, I very seriously doubt that EVER crossed my Mom and Dad’s mind. Needless to say, calling me stupid didn’t win the man any brownie points. Then there was the psychologist who was going to base my intelligence on whether or not, I knew what a frankfurter was. “Did you know that Amy doesn’t know what a frankfurter is?”

“That’s because we have always called them hot dogs”, my mom said. “Oh… good point.”

Again, no brownie points were scored. To make a very long story short, what they were trying to indicate was that I was going to be in a nutshell…..pretty much, a waste. According to them, I wasnt going to amount to absolutely nothing!

“Amy will not be able to be independent.”

“Amy will always need help taking care of herself.”

“Amy will have a tendency to get lost”.

Have any of you seen the movie, “Top Gun”?

Remember the scene where Val Kilmer coughs the phrase “Bull—-”?

Mom, Dad and I have made the facial equivalent numerous times! I honestly could not have asked for a better set of parents. Other people may have given up on me, but they haven’t and won’t let me do it either. And I will always be grateful to them.

I was diagnosed 36 years ago. I have dealt with these disabilities for over half my life. It’s who I am. It’s me and if someone created an operation where you could rid me of them…

Offer it to somebody else!

What is the big hairy deal about having learning disabilities? It’s not like it’s contagious or anything! How can they think that we are not going to amount to anything because we don’t fit their ridiculous notions? They wouldn’t hire me because of them?

Fine…

I started my own dog care business nearly 13 years ago where my main focus is on walking, feeding and playing. And that just gives me more time to write. Now I may sound as if I have all my ducks in a row and yes, that is true. But that doesn’t mean, I haven’t been affected by it. I am ashamed to admit that I wasted a lot of years wondering what was wrong with me and I tried to change myself to fit other people’s approval and acceptance. I thought, what is wrong with me?

I am ashamed to admit that I wasted a lot of years wondering what was wrong with me and I tried to change myself to fit other people’s approval and acceptance. I thought, what is wrong with me? What was it about me that made them think they could do this to me? I can’t do anything about the learning disabilities, but I thought if I could change this or that, maybe I would be accepted.

I royally messed with myself mentally and emotionally for years. I don’t know how many self-help books I read, trying to find THE cure. As much as I think it stinks that I am rejected because of my learning disabilities, there is nothing I can do about it but just move on with my life. I don’t have any more time to waste. 

Accept me or don’t. It’s your call.

Me? I’ve got a life to live. So, excuse me while I go live 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.

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.