Fear is a very personal emotion. One only has to watch “I am a celebrity, get me out of here” to see just how personal. I think a viewer gets some idea of how debilitating fear can be and how it can affect your entire personality. Fear can make a person feel inadequate, guilty, worthless, and depressed. Especially when another human, a person with one of everything down the middle, and mainly two of everything down each side, doesn’t have your fear. It’s a cruel and very apparent point of difference.

I have a fear when faced with my trigger; I get a sick feeling, I shake, and I want to hide, avoid or just go to bed. It happens in a doctor’s surgery, dentist, physio or hotel reception whenever I am given a form and a pen and asked to register. Any form or thing I have to write freehand, knowing a person will then read, what they can, of my writing. Look, this fear hasn’t killed me, and I am certainly not after any sympathy. I tell people it’s not a thing; it is just to me. It is years of school and commentary about being unable to spell or write. I can read, but I am exhausted after 10 minutes; my eyes hurt, my headaches And if I have to use graph paper, I want to vomit. The ants that crawl across the page give me motion sickness. I want to read books; I have tried and can read faster than most people I know because I have to piece everything together from the odd word on the page.

So I had a meeting yesterday; I have to appear in some videos to help a wider diverse group get into the TV industry. It was a good meeting, and I was told my journey was inspiring, a very generous comment. Just for clarity, I don’t feel like an inspiration; I know I am passionate about the craft of my industry and am committed to education. I certainly don’t seek out anything from sharing the information above. I don’t want sympathy and don’t want to feel the pressure of being inspiring, and most of all, I don’t want allowances made for being divergent. If I were a child, I would call it my superpower; as an adult, it explains why every other word I type is underlined in red. And the lottery of accepting changes made by a computer.

There are so many important issues in the world at the moment. My job, and it is a job, is to give regular people a voice, regardless of the genre. That’s the responsibility of anyone who can amplify the presence of another person. Be that through social media or traditional media, print, electronic, broadcast or video. And it doesn’t matter if that voice is found through dance, jokes, documentary or drama – even reality TV. It should be seen as “a responsibility” should the producers of IAC give Matt Hancock a platform. Did they hope it would be a ratings winner? Perhaps they thought he would be exposed as the cad I believe he is. Guiding the hand of a campmate into a box of rats, taking two ribs rather than sharing and not disposing of his used shaving water. Or will he win and come away with a bit of forgiveness? 

My actual point in writing that two-fold. As a dyslexic, I don’t think Mr Hancock has done anything for the issues of dyslexia; he said dyslexia was a motivator for him going on the program. I fear another thin excuse from someone who just wanted to go on the show and justify his appearance with even lighter promises of championing a cause.  

I am not a flag bearer for dyslexia; I am just dyslexic. I aim to be the best I can be at what I do and help others reach their potential. So they can enjoy being a part of my chosen industry as I enjoy working every day in TV.

Finally, be kind; one never knows what is going on for other people. It is their choice to share, but you never know. If you are checking into a hotel and a colleague or companion looks stressed, goes quiet or becomes short with you. They could just be experiencing a lifetime of fear at the very thought of using that pen and paper. #jgtvdirector #dyslexia #divergentthinking