Hi Lady Code!
My name is Charlotte, the new intern for the Lady Code Blog! I am a graduating senior and words cannot begin to describe how excited I am for this opportunity. I have been following the Lady Code Blog religiously for the past year and now I have the chance to write for it.
Before I start writing about my interests like healthy cooking or sharing clever make-up tips I want to let you in on a little secret. I was born with a learning disability, originally diagnosed as apraxia, which causes motor skill and speech problems. This made writing and spelling difficult. Now my diagnosis is labeled as a disorder of nonverbal communication, similar to dyslexia. My disability prevents my brain directly communicating with my hand. Imagine being able to see the word PERFECTLY in your head, yet it never makes it on to the paper correctly. Sometimes, I try five different versions of the word and none look right which is ridiculously frustrating. In addition, I had a horrible speech impediment. Speaking with both a lateral and frontal lisp, I sounded as if I had marbles in my mouth. These struggles made me stick out which led to extreme bullying.
Frustrated with being a victim of my disability, I took control of my life. I had no choice but to study three times longer than other students to grasp the same subjects. I had to compensate for my shortcomings. Even though I was ostracized by fellow students, I used that as motivation to work harder.
I couldn’t be bitter, I had to be better!”
Struggling with my speech impediments I often felt powerless, but instead of surrendering, I chose to succeed. I went through eight grueling years of speech therapy. I got involved in public speaking and theater and competed in The Optimist Oratorical Competition for three consecutive years. In my final year, I won the entire competition and received a $1,200 college scholarship. I even enrolled in a performing arts high-school to continue acting.
During my Sophomore year of high-school I began competing in pageants to share my story of perseverance and to continue to work on my speaking proficiency. This past summer, I placed top sixteen in the Miss Teen United States Pageant. Now seven years post speech therapy, people do not believe that I ever had speech problems. I was able to overcome my limitations.
I face many daily challenges, but I will never give up on pursuing my goals. I will always have my learning disability, but I will not let it define me. My experience and later success convinced me to start my own community service program, Just Like Me 2, where I speak to children who face similar problems, you can even check it out.
I look forward to sharing more stories over the next few months whether it is about gluten free and dairy free baking or what some of my FAVORITE books are. I can’t wait for my Motivational Mondays and hope you are excited about watching them!
I want to leave you all with an important lesson I learned throughout my experience, problems must be faced head on, and the road is difficult but the destination is worth it.