"Sarah...Sarah!" I lifted my head and opened my heavy eye lids. The attempt to avoid the florescent light burning my eye balls came to an end when Mrs. Arundle called my name.
"Do you know the answer?" She followed with an undertone of frustration, pointing to a math problem on the chalk board.
Paused in the moment, gathering thoughts to help me refocus I shook my head. Proceeding into my day dreams I thought, "How would I have known the answer if I was sleeping? And how come I can't be in recess with the other kids."
There were three other kids in the classroom with me. Although, it wasn't really a classroom, it was the old janitors closet in the basement of the school. The room, crafted with cement walls was cold and filled with a stench of mold. There was a blackboard in the front of the room with a row of six desks across the middle facing it. Poor Mrs. Arundle, she had to deal with all of us down in the gloomy basement without a speck of sunlight to kiss her with hope.
It wasn't until 4 years ago at the age of twenty that I understood why I was in that room. And it wasn't until 3 months ago that I started to accept that being in that room did not make me dumb. See, dyslexia and ADHD are heavily embedded in my DNA, so naturally, I was the kid always needing extra help. No one explained to me that my mind does not learn best with how the public school system operated. Instead, they put me in the stinky basement.
When other kids see you doomed to the stinky basement they make the same assumptions as you do. They believe some thing is wrong with you, you lack something the world requires, you're inadequate, you're dumb. It was hard enough to live the stinky basement life and got worse when other kids saw the stinky basement life lived out. Quickly, I became aware of the world, people want to be validated and sometimes that means pointing out flaws in others around them to feel validation. Unfortunately, ten year old Sarah Lu did not understand this nor would have if you tried to explain it to her. Fortunately, twenty-four year old Sarah Lu has validation in a never ending love and doesn't need the public school system to tell her if she's brilliant or not.
This past week I started a series of weekly meetings with a dear friend. The ultimate goal of these meetings is to grow in knowledge of the bible. The absolute first thing he explained to me was that the bible was written in an eastern culture and we live in a western culture. In the most simple form he compared the culture differences to books. Western culture would be a textbook, where eastern culture would be a poetry book. Mind. Blown. Heart. filled.
Sometimes when growing up children get told that the arts are pointless, life is all about spread sheets and cubicles. 100% of the time when people speak lies like that to an adolescent, they are wrong. Gifts are gifts. Passions are passions. Go after them. They are your hearts desires and you were created for them.
All the greats were a little off balance to the world. They saw the unimaginable and went for it. Submitting to the low standard boxes the world creates never got anyone their dreams. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Jesus.
Don't let "the club" drizzle doubt syrup on your sundae,
-Sarah Howard, A future best seller