A local Battleford resident hopes to educate and inspire others in sharing her experience of living with dwarfism in new book That is Not Me: A Journey of Perception.
A retired teacher, Linda Nelson has spent 10 years writing her book based on a poem she wrote in her twenties during a painful period of her life.
Her book chronicles her life dealing with the challenges of dwarfism and how she succeeded in pursuing her goals despite the obstacles.
"In my early twenties it dawned on me: Maybe I'm not the same as everybody else," Nelson, who is now in her fifties, said. "Everybody else is doing all the standard things and my life was different. So I wrote this dark depressed poem."
She said in 2005 after undergoing major surgery she looked at her poem with new eyes and realized how much her life has changed in a positive way since then.
"Every line in the poem could make a chapter in the book," Nelson said. “'Life would be different if I was not me' is the first chapter.”
She said after a close call with death when she was hit by a vehicle in 2016 she felt the urge to complete her book, and finished writing it that year.
"I've always wanted to share this story," she said. "This story is about being a dwarf, about being a little person.
My perceptions of life are different at times; I've been treated differently at times because of being a little person," she said. "There's not many of us around. There are only about 25 of us in Saskatchewan."
Nelson shares some of her unique and unusual experiences in the book including the physical and emotional challenges.
In one encounter she recalls being nearly abducted by someone in a case of mistaken identity.
“It still happens today,” she said. “They’ll say ‘Hi Debbie. How are you?’ and I’ll say: ‘I’m not Debbie. That is not me.’ That happens often. It happens unexpectantly.’”
She said her whole journey of perception has been about how she was mad at the world.
“What I discovered through writing this book was it wasn’t them. It was me. It was my perception of people, my perception of life and my perception of myself. That’s what I had to walk through," said Nelson.
She also talks about her work as a teacher in the Battlefords over the years and the satisfaction she felt helping children achieve their own goals.
“A lot of time I see kids who are struggling and I think they sense that I have worked through struggling,” she said. “I think there’s a connection. I’ve always had a good connection with students. I think they can sense that I’ve been there. I’ve done that. So they can get through it. Plus I like them; I like kids.”
Nelson is planning a launch for her memoir, published under her name L.J. Nelson, at The North Battleford City Kinsmen Band Hall from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on April 28.
She will also be giving a reading of That is Not Me: A Journey of Perception at the town of Battleford Library from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on May 11.
On Twitter: @battlefordsNOW
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