I am a very thinking, philosophical person and these days I am thinking a lot about how to describe myself. Who am I really? I have a suspicion that I miss out on a lot of help because I haven’t been able to present myself with the correct name.
I just read the Icelandic adventure Watchful and His Brothers (this is my own translation). It is about five brothers who do not have a name. One day they were home alone an old woman knocked on the door. She asked for some water to drink, but had nothing to give back, except names. They got their own names with the properties they described. That’s how they got the names Vaktsom (Watchful), Holdfast (to hold something with a firm grip), Hoggtil (cut or stab), Sporfinner (Tracker) and Fjellklatrer (Mountain climber).
When I read this with some of my pupils, I asked them to find a name that described what they were good at. It was difficult to begin with, but specific interests like singing, dancing, forestry, zombies etc. eventually emerged. I could describe some of the things I like doing myself, but right now I was thinking more in terms of my disabilities, such as nonverbal learning disabilities. I have tried to find out a little about myself. Not that I would present myself to every single person I met as Mr. Thinking, but one of my difficulties is to express and describe my challenges when I have the chance to do so.
There are two names that fit well on me, think and write. I believe I have shown that I can write, and I am even a better thinker. The problem is that no one can see or hear that. Everything looks perfect in my head, but getting it out is another matter. It seems that talking takes up so much of the brainpower or focus, that I more or less get blackouts. I jump here and there during a presentation and forget much of what I have planned. It has always been this way, but it has got a lot worse in recent years.
My brain is more than happy to leave for a holiday in the middle of a presentation. I’m probably not among those worst affected by this. I manage to save some of the presentation, but not enough. It may look to others that it’s pretty empty in there, but the truth is that there is much activity in my brain. There is a lot of blockage, though. When I prepare for work everything looks perfect. I can be funny and knowledgeable, I can draw comparisons between different subjects, I can come up with good evaluations, and advice, I can be aware of how my pupils respond, but something happens when these thoughts are expressed through my mouth rather than through my fingers. The brain works in a different way when I write.
It is really incomprehensible that I chose a profession that requires a lot of verbal communication. It was not really a choice I made. It was something that just happened. I love to study, but has some limitations. Had it not been for these, I had probably gone as far as possible as historian or theologian. Not that the teacher education program is easy either, but it’s not a doctoral dissertation when you spread it out on many subjects. It is just as incomprehensible, at least to me, that I cannot get any help either. The way the authorities see it I don’t need any help as I have an education. The fact that my disability makes it hard to function doesn’t seem to bother them, so I’m attempting to do it alone.
I have the great pleasure of being the thinker, but don’t know if it is as useful to society that I am where I am. I will be more than happy to change name to the writer. It remains my goal to change career. Hopefully I can organize my thoughts well enough to tell the right people about it.
Meanwhile I’m blogging and hope this can help me a step further.