Growing up with dyslexia in a public school sucked. My teachers did not know what to do with an A student who couldn’t tell the difference between her p’s, d’s, b’s, q’s, and all the mixed up letters in between. The only thing they could do for me was stick me in a room with other students who had disabilities that were entirely different from mine and strip away any free time I had to myself by giving me extra reading and writing assignments.
"P's, D's, B's, Q's," Digital Illustration, 2022
Being the (at the time undiagnosed) ADHD 4th grade student that I was, I ended up making it a competition for myself to get better in any way I possibly could just to prove everyone else wrong. I ended up flying through every 4th grade reading level book that the teachers threw my way and sped through all the other reading levels and books even faster. As I moved on from one grade to the next, I kept reading and vividly remember really liking Captain Underpants, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Percy Jackson.
I found myself in the Advanced Placement Literature and Language classes when I was in 11th and 12th grade, and my love for reading did not stop. The Hunger Games, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, and literally anything written by John Green were just some of the stories I was reading on top of the usual AP stories of Homer and Shakespeare. I was also heavily invested in 2012 Tumblr culture, so whatever books were trending at the time, I had absolutely read as well.
"Library Log," Digital Handwriting, 2022
Alongside my AP Lit and Lang classes, I was in AP Art. Visual art always came to me so naturally, whereas reading and writing came to me in an unnatural way. It was this artistic form that was forced upon me because I did not read and write like my other classmates. It was exhausting, but I got such a high from crossing a finished book off of my reading list.
As for the writing, I found myself having a ball trying to emulate writing techniques I learned while reading my favorite books. I used to always say “the best writers are the ones who read a lot,” and I did read a lot, but I am no means the best or the first to even come up with that saying. Stephen King said something very similar along the same lines in 2015. Regardless of who said it first (it was totally me), in 2014, I was offered a writing position as a pop culture blogger because of my quick writing turnaround time and I have not stopped writing since.
In 2014, I was 15 and accepted Comic Con press passes as a form of payment when I wrote the articles. At the time I was given credit for my works, but as owners got passed along from one person to another, my articles were altered from my name to “Team Member.” Now that I am older, I realize how messed up this was to not be paid actual money. I was taken advantage of as a content creator who was a minor. I will be re-uploading all of my old works here on my “Mars’ Manual” blog site to claim ownership of the work I completed.
"Press Pass," Digital Illustration, 2022
I am calling this blog a “manual” because one of the definitions of “manual” is a handbook. This “manual” will end up being an archival storage of my articles, essays, thoughts, and stories that I have written which will in turn hopefully be a “handbook” and guide for my future writing pieces to make me a stronger writer.
Despite my 4th grade teacher's attempts and my own attempts as well to get me to read and write “normally,” my dyslexia did not disappear. It is much better now than it was back then, but I am just one person writing and proofreading my own works. Spellcheck, my anxiety, and I will do my best to make sure there are no typos or errors, but there are no guarantees. So read at your own risk, and hopefully you’ll have just as much fun as I will on this writing adventure!