Unspoken

There’s something I never told you. Actually, there’s lots I never told you. But this one is bigger than everything else. I never told you, I suppose, because our relationships were fractious then. And, well, because I was struggling to come to terms with it myself. And because I had little reliable information at my disposal to make sense of it then. So I just carried it within, and never spoke of it to anyone.

Most of my life, I feel, has been characterised by misunderstandings. My experiences throughout my education. Then the journey of faith that came after it. So much was said about both of these, all of it based on pure supposition. It turns out, everybody was completely wrong about just about everything. For the entire duration of my education, I was told over and over and over again that I was lazy; that this was the reason for my difficulties. And then when I took up my path of faith, it was because I had fallen prey to bad influences — just more of the same bad decisions that had characterised my life up until that point.

But the truth? Let’s just say it’s more complicated than that. Let’s just say that I actually just needed support and interventions for a condition I didn’t know I had, and since none was forthcoming, I prescribed myself my own treatment, namely that path of reform in which I sought refuge when I was at my lowest. What was wrong with me, I wouldn’t learn for another five years — but even then, I had much to learn. Indeed, I didn’t really understand its true impact on me until the past few months.

I never told you this, but in 2003, I was diagnosed with a moderately common chromosome disorder. Common, but little known, and rarely spoken of. Except in addressing deficits in physical strength, I hardly learned anything about the condition from any of the health professionals I interfaced with through the years. Other than having an injection every three months for the past decade and a half, no other support of any kind has ever been available.

I had to wait close to twenty years to be able to review authoritative information about the condition. It has taken me this long to access research into its actual impact on the individual with this condition. Only now have I been able to begin to piece together what lies behind phenomena that has bothered me all of my life.

Take my verbal inarticulation, for example. That disconnect between my brain and my tongue, witnessed so often in my life, whenever I try to string together a spoken sentence, only to fail miserably. Only recently have I really understood that language impairment is common in those with this condition. No wonder I hide behind my keyboard, employing the written word as my default mode of communication.

Knowing of this diagnosis can’t change anything at all today. It can’t put back time to change anything in the past. But perhaps it can help you to make sense of much that happened back then when we were young. Perhaps it can help you understand me better. Perhaps you might conclude that I was never malicious. Perhaps you might see that my distress was real. Perhaps you might concede that I had to take up the road I walk to help me to overcome what I could not control.

All of the above, I’d like to share with you. But, of course, I won’t, for too many years have now passed us by. Knowing this changes nothing. I expect I will just take it with me to the grave.

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