Word of the week, “cacography” – Embrace your imperfections


Cacography – poor penmanship; bad handwriting.

Okay, I was never the brightest kid in the class. In fact, I used to struggle quite a bit at school. I was the nerd who put in extra hours in just to climb into the “above average” bracket.

But if I thought school was tough, my brother, who was diagnosed with “severely dyslexia”, must have quivered at the concept of “double english”… Something that I rather enjoyed.

For those of you who do not know, I have two brothers. We are all a year apart in age, and couldn’t be more different professionally, emotionally and personally. There’s Jack, the eldest, who works in civil engineering. Rupert, who is training to go into the army as an officer. And then there’s me, the youngest, and an aspiring journalist.

Jack didn’t have the easiest time at primary school. He was bullied to the point where school was pretty much a torture chamber for him. Many of us know what it is like to experience the playground bully, but I think with many, it’s something that passes over time, when we find the confidence to speak up and put an end the pettiness. Unfortunately for some, it’s not that simple. The bully can create a deeper whole to sink into, where the victim feels as if their voice isn’t listened to, understood or even heard.

So it was a pretty rubbish time for my brother, and my parents wanted to do something about it. My mum, very selflessly offered Jack the opportunity to attend a school that catered towards heavily dyslexic children. A chance to move schools and start afresh – the offer was accepted warmly!

It’s amazing how a single place can bring the best out of someone. Being told that you are “thick” day in day out is damaging. I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but Jack soon realised that his bullies were wrong about him. It turns out that Jack’s pretty good with numbers, physics and all things mathematical. Topics that go straight over my head.

I believe that we are born with certain skills. Whether that’s in physics, sport, english or whatever. Ultimately it’s what we chose to do with them skills that impact on what we achieve in life. Jack, for example, studied hard and went to university to study civil engineering, following in the footsteps of my dad. My other brother Rupert is preparing to start training at Sandhurst next year and ultimately become an officer in the army.

Away from our professions, we love the water. Sailing, windsurfing, surfing, whatever. I think we will always have that in common. Being brought up a stone-throw away from the sea was awesome. I couldn’t have asked for a better childhood.

My mum and dad have always been supportive of the decisions we make. It’s incredible to think that we have all chosen very different paths in our careers, and we seem to making steady progress on them having all graduated from university this year. I’m grateful that we haven’t fallen into dead-end jobs. I think it’s important to focus on the things you are good at and find interesting!

 So back to cacography. I guess my point, that seems to have got lost along the way in the post, is that you don’t have to be good at everything. Embrace the imperfections. For me, it’s mathematics and science that feels me with pain. Double science was my torture chamber, yet english was an escape! Find something that you are good at, and enjoy exploring more of what you can offer the world. 🙂


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