The Pen of Worth

When I was at first school, we all had to write in pencils, until we were deemed ‘good enough’ for the handwriting pen. Now, I was a late developer too, learning to read and write later than other kids (though once I started, I couldn’t stop!), so at first school I was probably seen as “below average”. At middle school too. It wasn’t until secondary school that my ability went anything above “below average”. I even went above average in some subjects; not maths though, never maths. I think that was an indicator of my autism. Because I thought in a different way to the set tasks, I never felt good enough and I couldn’t get the grades, throughout the majority of my life.

Let me get back to the handwriting pen. Okay, so I was a late developer, and my handwriting could not be read very easily (though some teachers who cared had learned my handwriting, like it was some new language or something), so I did not get my handwriting pen. At the end of year three, everybody else in the entire year had a handwriting pen, except me. I even lied in middle school, saying that I’d received the handwriting pen, because I didn’t want to be seen as different.

This handwriting pen seemed to symbolise how worthy you felt as a person: the earlier you got it, the better. If you didn’t get it at all? Well, you suck, don’t you? It was such a small thing but it meant a lot and that was something that knocked my self-esteem. I was never worthy of that pen when everyone else was.

Why did a pen define us? What that pen did to me, to my confidence, doesn’t mean that I wasn’t worthy of another pen. Maybe I was worthy of a different kind of pen.

Have you ever had small things knock back your confidence? If so, what?