Today I am going to talk about some of the obstacles I have had to deal with and overcome in my life. From problems in school and growing up all the way through to creating and running my own business. And I am Going to talk about dealing with possible dyslexia and the obstacles in being self-employed and owning, managing, and running my business. And teaching myself all about antiques, and the mountain of skills you need when running a business on your own.
I would like to firstly point out I have never been diagnosed with dyslexia by any medical practitioner. I was not helped through school or any other government facility. In fact, It was spotted and suggested to me after creating one of my every day youtube films. It took a subscriber who deals with dyslexia on a daily basis to see me and saw me struggling with reading and writing. But either way, I am going to talk about my hurdles.
My Struggles Growing Up Through School With Dyslexia.
I am going to start off with my school days some thirty to thirty-five years ago. My problems started as early on as junior school, the earliest i can remember where had problems in the classroom, Was when I was around nine or ten years old. Our class used to do a thing called reading aloud, and what this meant was, that the teacher would point and select a child out of a class of around thirty or so children. The selected child would then stand in front of the entire class and read out aloud while the other children listened and followed the words in their copy of the book. Once the teacher was happy they had read enough he would then point to another child to continue where the last had left off.
I used to remember the anxiety I used to feel waiting for it to be my turn. all these years later I remember the feeling of wanting to vomit, the sweats, and dry mouth. The earliest instance I can remember was when I stood up to read and has problems, just little things like I would be reading a simple book and I would read words that weren’t there if I couldn’t read a word I would be so embraced I would guess the word or just make them up to what sounded about right in my head inline with the way the current story was heading.
There are ways of dealing with things and I can say whatever the reason was behind the decision for my teacher to deal with it the way he did had a lifelong negative impact on me. The teacher wouldn’t just move on to another child and talk to me in private and get me help, instead, he would ridicule me in front of the class, I remember his shouts and mocks still to this day, and I remember the pointing and laughing by the rest of the class and the names I used to be called.
If I try and describe my reading skills at this time, the only way I can explain it was, that if I saw a word that was hard to read my brain would try to replace it with a word of the same meaning but much smaller and easier to read. If I couldn’t read or understand the word at all I would guess words to keep the story going in the direction it was heading. I would also read the words in the wrong order changing how I felt they should sound in my head.
I used to get belittled by teachers and bullied in the yard by other children. Eventually, this pushed me in a direction of hating school, not attending, and being in the wrong crowd. I used to get bullied on a daily basis so ended up in just about the worst group you could imagine, I don’t think I attended comprehensive school for two years before I got caught and expelled. Which let’s be honest wasn’t really a punishment back to me then.
I Did A Chat On Youtube Talking About This Topic If You Would Like To Check That Out.
Coping With Life After Leaving School With No Qualifications Because of Dyslexia.
Things thirty years ago were significantly different to how they are today, for example in England now children must remain in some form of education until they are 18 and 16 in Wales. However, I left school without sitting any exams and with no qualifications at the age of 15. You were aloud to leave school at 15 as long as you had a job to go into, so I started working full-time working nights as a baker,
I didn’t mind working nights even at the age of fifteen because I didn’t really fit in with the crowds. While the other children would be out just being kids and playing football and chasing girls, I isolated myself and hated everyone and everything including myself, I was an outcast. Even if I was invited somewhere I felt I couldn’t go, In my head, I felt that it was a sympathy invite or that people there wouldn’t want me there, so felt I wasn’t missed anyway and was more at ease and happy isolated.
Over the next half a decade I attended many YTS courses which were government-run courses designed to get people into work and I had a number of jobs but never managed to hold any down. over and over again the jobs all fell through at some point because of conflict issues with employers or other employees,
Eventually, I ended up in the armed forces. I served for just over a year, I completed my basic training and loved it. while I was based in Strensil in York doing specialist training I got injured in my knees. I am not going to go into too much detail but back then I was put on to light duties rather than being allowed to rest and heal.
I was eventually medically discharged and filed a lawsuit against the forces. We worked for years obtaining witnesses and medical evidence, but two years into the lawsuit, my barrister had a skiing accident and my medical specialist died in a private airplane crash and the new specialist had different views on the impact the forces had on my condition and recovery so my lawsuit went up in smoke and we ended up settling for a pathetic nominal amount.
By this time now I had a hatred for authority, if anyone tried to tell me what to do then I would tend to rebel, however, if I was spoken to with respect and asked, then I would work harder than anyone. however, if anyone talked to me wrong once and I would lose all respect and it wouldn’t end well.
Even now at the age of 45 writing this article, I don’t like being told what to do, I have witnessed family members and loved ones treated poorly by sometimes younger and less experienced bosses. There is no way I would allow this to be me so working for myself is the only option available to me.
I am going to admit to something that has really dawned on me while preparing this article, and that is I can count the number of friends I have on my hands. I am also very socially awkward, I am ok with a few questions or saying hello or asking the price of something at a car boot sale. But I find it very hard to hold a conversation when speaking to someone and the uncomfortableness and awkwardness would come through and felt by the people trying to hold a conversation with me, This for people who didnt know me, it would come across as I am simply rude, where in all honesty it was nothing more than anxiety on my behalf.
I find it extremely hard when a follower or supporter of my channel comes and says hello, don’t get me wrong I am so humbled and grateful when someone takes the time to say hello to me and follow my channel. but I am a deer in a headlight and freeze, I have no idea what to say to people, and the social awkwardness rises to a paralyzing level.
My social awkwardness is so bad that the only time I go out is to work or with my fiancee or children. Even then we will only go for maybe a meal, or the cinema or the beach, etc. All quiet and controlled environments. You will never find me out in a loud crowded club or a boy’s night out playing darts or watching a match, it’s just not the social skills I possess.
Difficulties I Faced In My Business/Job.
I can not read signatures or handwriting, which means, I find it very hard to identify paintings and autographs on signed memorabilia.
I can not read inscriptions, things like studio pottery where there is a written name or artist signature.
When reading reference books it may take me a month to read a book and hardly any of it sinks in where my Mrs can read a book in two days.
If I am reading I find that I have to concentrate so hard on the words the meaning isn’t even considered, or if I am reading a paragraph and come across someone’s name for example I struggle so hard to try and read the name that the rest of the paragraph or its message is just lost on me.
I am going to share a true story that happened a decade ago. I was a little worried as the antique trade didn’t always pay a wage and felt I wanted a backup trade in case I failed in the creation of my business.
I went to college to learn to become a plumber, The plumbing course was a two-year course in full-time education in a college, This was ok with me as I could work my own hours and still attend this course, so I did this while working around my antique job. In this plumbing course they gave us a huge book called, jtl for plumbing, this was a full manual with all the regulations and instructions on how to bend pipe, etc.
I found I was great with the pictures and facts and almost have a photographic memory for facts when they are presented in a very simple format, for example, we had to sit an exam on this manual because I couldn’t read it I sat the multiple-choice example on the computer over and over and memorized the answers. I could understand the broken down question and eventually learned the answers from the computer saying correct or wrong.
I have hundreds of reference books on antiques and I have read very few in full, I find when they go into detail about the history of the item I get so frustrated with trying to read the place names or other large words authors use to try and make the book and author seem just that little posher and more educated that I get frustrated, why not keep it simple, easy to read for all but still interesting.
Instead, I use my reference books to fact find, I may read a few pages and write down the facts in a notebook and they become my bible I write them in words I can read with ease, and then I actually do remember them, and very well. I find I learn so much more from visual images or handling the items.
Some of the ways I have overcome dyslexia and learned my trade,
Learning to identify antiques is no different from any other trade out there. it has taken me years and years to learn, Some of the ways I have overcome my problems and learned my trade are,
I think I have seen every episode of bargain hunt, flog it, antique’s road trip, and anything antique-related off the tv. And when experts have talked about things it has sunk in and I have remembered it.
I have attended many auctions both for buying and selling but also to learn, that an auction house will give you such a simple but accurate most of time description and you can read the description and handle the related items at the same time which is much better than a book talking about how to identify an object but not really being able to picture it in your head. using an auction and the lotted items for learning, you can really get a feel for what the item is and it is about.
I used to buy items from antique dealers at full price but make them prove to me how it was the real deal and they would point out what made the item real and what to look for to distinguish a real item and fake, and strangely I never forgot what I was told there.
In my early years, I used to buy items thinking they were right, take them to sell in the auction, and had some good success but also some real big fails, but then the auction house would show me why it was fake.
These were all very expensive lessons but when something costs you money and hits your pride you never forget it. Dealers and auctioneers want you to know how knowledgeable they are and give you the confidence to buy off them so they share their knowledge freely without raising they are educating you.
Now there are better ways, you can google image search on your phone straight away, so for example you could be at a car boot sale and see something you like and have no clue what it is. All you need to do now is to take a picture and upload it, and google will tell you what it is off the image.
You can also use Facebook groups or forums to ask other collectors or dealers for help but beware of this advice as you don’t know the experience level of the person trying to help you. Someone could be trying their best to help you and believe what they are saying however they could have made a mistake or have an incorrect source. Use a Facebook group as a guide to point you in a direction, but always do your own research after.
There is now a program on the market where you can take a picture from a book and the phone will read it to you, this is called Speechify, I am going to create a review film to see how well it works. That will just be amazing, I will be able to take multiple images then, upload them, and listen to my books when driving to boot sales, etc.
There is an app where you can take a picture in any language and it will translate it for you called Google Translate. This has been a great source of help to me.
For things like writing articles, google offers free word documents and spreadsheets for keeping books and inventory. if you wish to write descriptions for stock listings you can use things like Grammarly to help with spelling etc.
Book Keeping and Catalouging items was a challenge and I tried many different methods until I found one that worked for me. again I use a google free spreadsheet to keep track of my items. I will create a film showing how I catalog my items once listed and store them for safety and easy access.
I created my youtube channel to be able to help people, on my channel you will find how-to videos that are designed to help you as best as I can, I also share tips in all my haul films, and tips on websites that can help you through to any tips I feel can help you find the product and make money yourself.
Some of the things i have learned during the process of writing this article are. When you grow up with struggles such as Dyslexia it is sometimes accompanied by Anxiety over the simplest of tasts, depression, and social awkwardness. Growing up and learning to live with Dyslexia isn’t limited to these struggles by any means but what I will say is. From my own experience, if you work hard and find something you love then you can make it a success and not let these conditions be all you are.