Would an earlier diagnosis have helped me? Perhaps I’d have sworn at myself less. But the psychological impact of a diagnosis is multi-faceted. Perhaps I’d never have tried certain things in life if I’d had a label. Would my school friends have treated me differently? It might have become more of a “big deal”, rather than something I could mask with a goofy sense of humour and deft avoidance skills. Would I have used it as an excuse to not try challenging things? Even now, I found myself fleetingly reconsidering my commitment to kickboxing. What’s the point, when the odds are stacked against me?
Then I snapped out of it. My diagnosis isn’t about sinking into defeatism. My diagnosis is about helping me love the bits of myself that I’ve always found confusing. My symptoms don’t define me, but my coping mechanisms do. I adopted a self-deprecating sense of humour to smooth over my physical ineptitude, joking about how I should just buy a T-shirt that says “SORRY” on it, because I felt like my day was one long apology to strangers, for bumping into them, dropping things, causing chaos. I’d laugh along merrily at people’s observations that I ran like a “flapping flamingo” or a toddler.
Being a dyspraxic feminist sucked, because I appeared ‘ditsy’ despite my desperate efforts not to. I could never master pool in pubs and I discard debit cards like pistachio shells