Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dyslexia on the Silver Screen

I can not say how long I've waited to see people like me be seen. Recognized. How long I've wished that there was someone like me, that wasn't fixed. No fixing, not magical cure to everything.

And finally it happened.

Meet Vanellope von Schweets from the movie 'Wreak it Ralph'.  

The idea behind the movie is that the video games in the arcade are alive, and when we're gone they go on and do their game things. Like go to the bar, or Bad Guys Anonymous, or have parties. Ralph is a bad guy who wants to be more and becomes convinced that the only way he can do so is through a getting a metal like the hero's and good guys do. Through a series of events he runs in to Vanellope who steals his metal to enter a race, promising to win it back for him. For the rest just watch the movie, it's really cute.

Vanellope is the first ever disney character that I remember that has dyslexia. Especially the first I can ever remember being picked on for it. She lives in the game 'Sugar Rush' and the whole point of it is racing, and Vanellope is not allowed to mingle at all. She is literally ran into hiding. There are posters of her face that ban her from entering anything especially races. The other racers actually corner her and destroy her car that she made. All because she is accused of being a glitch. (To which she replies she just has pixlexia, there for just a worthy to race.)

It was just this absolutely unreal experience to finally see someone like me on the screen.

Replace the game with a school, and the races with state curriculum and I'd like to introduce myself, "Hi I'm Vanellope von Schweets, good ta meet ya."

There is probably a post out there somewhere about the dyslexic joke being offensive but I related to Vanellope so much that I don't think it was a joke. I think she truly is pixlexic. She can feel it in her code that she was meant to be a racer, because she glitches however she is banned from the tracks and exiled to an unfinished bonus level to live alone. Once given the chance she excels and actually uses her glitch to give her an edge over the other racers.

I always had a thing for stories, even before I could write and it became apparent that I would not meet a few standards of writing. I am an author. Dyslexic and Dysgraphic, I am an author. The school was content to put me in special ed and then not let me take any honers classes even if the teacher, myself and my parents said I could handle it. When I finally got in to honers and then went straight Ap I was belittled in peer review groups because well, "are you smart enough if you can't even spell?" Am I smart enough to hold an officer position? Am I smart at all?

Like Vanellope even when the day is saved, I still glitch. Nothing will change who I am, and nothing will change the wiring I have for written language. But that is why I love her so much is she still glitches even when everything is fixed. Even when she can now race, she glitches. There wasn't some magical cure, because nothing was wrong with her, and she's once of the best racers because of it. My parents and the rest of my siblings didn't understand and might not ever fully understand why I was so happy about it, but there was a dyslexic hero. One who stayed dyslexic and became proud of it; used it to make her the best racer in the game. One who proved that there's nothing wrong with a little glitching.

She's a pixlexic racer, I'm a dyslexic author. In a way she's done what I hoped to do with published books. Let others out there struggling with the harassment and the off hand comments and self doubt know that they are not limited by what is 'coded' for them. They are more than their glitch, and their glitch is not a limit but a whole new way to 'race' that others will never get. It's not always easy, but in the end it's always worth it.