I am super clumsy… I have a condition called dyspraxia and one of it’s many quirks is that I can’t balance. Not at all.
When I was eleven it took my mum six months to teach me how to balance on a bike. We were living in a large town at the time and on a housing estate. The back garden wasn’t a bad size but there was also an island of green outside the house that was just the right size for me to be pushed around and held upright.
I remember that summer because two important things happened. First I finally learnt how to ride a bike and secondly I learnt to read.
At eleven I was still struggling with Jack and Jill, and completely bored out of my tiny mind… But that summer something happened. The more I balanced, the better my reading got. Now, I think it is a known practice to work on a dyslexic’s balance as well as their ability to read and write. I believe you sit on a large ball and throw bean bags. Part of me wishes that I had done that. A bike is a long way to fall off and it left me with a heap of bruises.
But we didn’t give up. Me and mum stood in all weather trying to get me to balance.
Then one day I did…
There was no fanfare, I just became able to do it. My brain snapped into place and – I was cycling.
Don’t get me wrong I was never a good cyclist and now I can’t balance on a bike, but for a time I was able to keep up with the other kids down our road. And it was so much fun.
At the same time I started to read. Mum and Dad had always put restrictions on what we could watch, but there were none on reading. I had the whole scope of the library and my mum’s collection. The day I worked out how to read there was no fanfare. I went from struggling through ‘101 Dalmatians’ to understanding how it all went together.
Since then I read all the time. At the moment I can get through five books a week. I’m insatiable.
And yes, I’m still clumsy.