Every person is an individual puzzle piece. We are all part of one giant, messy, beautiful puzzle. Being a puzzle piece you are expected to surround yourself with the pieces that are similar or simply connect to you. Sometimes it’s hard to find where you fit in. Sometimes you find yourself crammed into an area surrounded by pieces you don’t connect with. You may become uncomfortable. You may feel lost. But it’s in those moments you should take a step back, stop focusing on the puzzle, and start focusing on the piece. The most important piece… Yourself. Take a close look at who you are. Dig deep. Find the details. Learn more about your own piece than you knew yesterday and soon enough, you will find yourself surrounded by the pieces you connect to.
I’m the youngest of 3 in my family, and like my older siblings, I went to the same private school they went to, and I loved it there. But I was kind of different than the other kids. I would stand at my desk instead of sit on the chair, switch hands in the middle of writing, and rarely finish my school work. My teachers were not impressed. On open house night, my parents showed up and I was more than thrilled to run around and show them all of my FRIENDS work with excitement. And when they asked me where my work was, I would casually say “oh I didn’t finish it”. My teachers… weren’t even aware. The school encouraged my parents to send me to an OT (Occupational Therapist). I LOVED going to her, because I got to bounce around on one of those big yoga balls and not do any real work. I was 7 years old when the OT suggested I be tested, and the results were a diagnosis of ADHD. After my diagnosis I spent two more years at my private school doing averagely well (kind of gliding by) but by the time grade four came along it was evident that I was not thriving in that school, I was not succeeding in that school, and in fact… I wasn’t even passing in that school! My parents decided against medication but instead to change my environment. As a young kid you could tell that I was very artsy. I liked performing, I was very outgoing, and I considered myself quite the singer… sooooo, my parents agreed that the best option was to pull me out of the school I was in, and have me audition for an Arts based public school. I auditioned for grade 5, was accepted, and from that year onward… everything changed. I flourished and thrived in that environment. I performed, sang and creatively expressed myself all throughout middle school and found my passion for public speaking, writing, and the theatre. I learned to set goals and work hard and to embrace all the parts of myself…including my ADHD. I graduated Baythorn arts program having achieved the most improved award, drama award, and overall excellence in the integrated arts process award. After elementary school I auditioned for a drama program in high school and was accepted as well. I recently started a project called B.Y.E which stands for Big Yellow Envelopes. Big Yellow Envelopes is a support system for kid/teens who need a friend or mentor when it comes to coping with their Learning Disability and/or ADHD. Looking back at where I was in grade 4 to where I am now, I am immensely proud of myself. Sometimes I like to think back and imagine my life now, if I never left my private school. I know for a fact that I would not be this passionate about speaking, writing, performing or even the learning disabled. If I never met my friends from middle school I wouldn’t be nearly as much of a goofy, optimistic, little ray of wacky sunshine, like I am now. If I never had those teachers who made a serious impact on my life (both good and bad) I would most definitely not be succeeding as a student and I wouldn’t have been able to not only overcome, but to embrace my disability.
I am a puzzle piece. As we all are. And I am lucky to say that at 14 years old, I have found the pieces that I connect to.
— Jordyn Preston