What I had always been told was a disability
turned out to be my superpower.
Growing up, school was my worst subject...yup. The whole thing.
As hard as I tried, I could never get anything but terrible grades. When I would try taking notes...they inevitably turned into doodles.
My teachers were quick to scold me and tell me to FOCUS, later using my doodled notes as proof that I was lazy, uninterested, and simply not trying. This was only the beginning of my beliefs about myself and my capabilities. Over time I associated creativity with bad, useless, irrelevant, lazy..I was trained to put art in a box and to store it far away so that I could focus on “what really matters.”
I was one of the lucky ones.
After years of struggling, bad habits and self-sabotaging behaviors, I was diagnosed with a learning disability and was switched to a unique and inclusive learning structure. This system encouraged me to embrace my doodling habits. “If that’s how you remember what’s being said in class, doodle away!” I was shocked and confused. This can’t be right. If it feels good and natural to me, something’s gotta be wrong.
Why would everyone be doing things the same way if other ways were possible?
When I graduated high school, I went on to go one of the best art universities in the country, received numerous scholarships, was selected for the most competitive internships, and immediately joined the workforce with top internationally recognized brands and institutions. I had unique ways to solve problems and was forced to challenge the status quo because of my differences, and this is what made me thrive.
lookin worky in my blazer!
I still felt, however, that I had so much to prove.
I felt I had to overcompensate for my differences, to prove to everyone I could do it all. I worked for things I didn't agree with but it looked great on paper, I worked for clients who didn't value my time, who made me feel empty and useless. I did this in subconscious attempts to seek validation from everyone who had doubted me.
I allowed my ego to inform what I would produce and for whom, and it made me someone I didn't like.
I went on like this for years. It wasn't until one day, a medical scare shook me awake. I looked at everything I had achieved and finally admitted that it all felt empty. Having hit a wall, I took the plunge and invested in my first life/business coach. It was terrifying.
It was the first time I had spent that kind of money on anything other than regular people school.
Working with a coach made me realize so much about myself and my mindset. I realized that I was still living within the mental confines society had built for me, without ever questioning why. I was working towards a constructed idea of success, not my own.