The most powerful thing you can be is 100% yourself, and specifically be the things that make you different, yet uniquely you. But we live in a world that values sameness that drives conformity, that lack of openness to different can cause significant problems for adults, and even more so for kids. We discuss all these and more with our guest, Kayla Taylor.
Kayla Taylor is the author of Canaries Among Us, a Mother’s quest to honor her child’s individuality in a culture determined to negate it. If you’re different, you love someone who’s different, or have a child in your life who’s different. You’re going to love this conversation with Kayla.
Pay special attention to the part of this dialogue about how we’re all grappling with being caring and sensitive to the needs of others and on the other hand, not being so overly careful that we can’t say anything to anybody about anything for fear of being criticized or canceled.
You’re listening to Christopher Lochhead: Follow Your Different. We are the real dialogue podcast for people with a different mind. So get your mind in a different place, and hey ho, let’s go.
Kayla Taylor on receiving appreciation for her work
Kayla expresses gratitude for when people give their time and validation of her work. She describes her book as a vulnerable endeavor and admits to considering not publishing it multiple times. She recalls expecting critical reviews, which almost led her to give up. However, a positive review convinced her to continue.
Kayla feels a sense of obligation to address the stigmatized issues covered in her book and support others who may be going through similar experiences. She acknowledges that while others have written about similar topics, they often reflect on childhood experiences or feel restricted by privacy concerns. She believes there is a lack of literature capturing the current challenges of raising children with learning differences who face bullying, and she wants to fill that gap and offer support to others in similar situations.
Kayla Taylor on writing under a pseudonym
When asked as to why she wrote under a pseudonym, Kayla explains that she couldn’t find a memoir from a parent in the midst of dealing with issues such as bullying, learning differences, and anxiety. She desired a book that captured the present moment and felt poignant.
However, she also wanted to respect her children’s privacy and avoid publicly shaming individuals, including the children who behaved poorly. She believed that all children should have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and grow without enduring public shaming. To protect people’s privacy, avoid shame, and honor her own principles, she chose to write under a pseudonym.
Additionally, through her research on different forms of victimization, Kayla discovered that society often fails to support and center those who have been victimized. She didn’t want to contradict her belief in prioritizing victims’ privacy and autonomy by publishing a book that would potentially expose everyone involved. Thus, she decided to use a pseudonym to maintain consistency.
Understanding Learning Differences
Kayla discusses her journey into understanding learning differences when her child faced bullying for being unique and different. Through research, she discovered that one in five people have diagnosable learning differences, including dyslexia and ADHD. However, this statistic doesn’t account for other factors such as sensory processing, mental health issues, and physical impairments that affect learning. She criticizes the education system for being designed during the Second Industrial Revolution, focusing on standardization and neglecting individual strengths.
Christopher shares his own experience of having multiple discernible learning differences and emphasizes that being radically different left him with no choice but to embrace his uniqueness. Despite not having a GED, he became the head of marketing at a publicly traded software company.
Kayla acknowledges that many successful individuals, including Albert Einstein, dropped out of school or struggled within the rigid system. She highlights famous scientists and CEOs who are believed to have learning differences, such as dyslexia and autism spectrum traits, to challenge the notion that such differences hinder capability. The conversation emphasizes the need to recognize and value individuals for who they are rather than conforming to a rigid educational system.
To hear more from Kayla Taylor and how being unique in a world of sameness is actually a good thing, download and listen to this episode.
About Kayla Taylor
Kayla Taylor writes to address important issues plaguing families, and she uses a pseudonym to protect the identities of minors and other vulnerable individuals.
She supports organizations that promote mental health, neurodiversity, and bullying prevention.
Connect with Kayla Taylor!
We hope you enjoyed this episode of Christopher Lochhead: Follow Your Different™! Christopher loves hearing from his listeners. Feel free to email him, connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and subscribe on iTunes!