This I Believe

William - Clayton, Australia
Entered on December 19, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: setbacks

I believe I’m scared of words. Not the most typical of fears but it does have a power over me. During my elementary years, someone took note of my reversed letters and the odd differences between my math and reading scores. I can remember the tests at Holy Cross Hospital and then later a car ride with my mother. She was in tears as she told me about my difference. I have the newly titled: Learning Disability comprising a reading disorder, but to me, I’m just dyslexic. It takes me longer to read. If I have never seen a word before, I’ll just substitute something else for it instead. What feels horrible is when you are told what that word is and you already know what it means. Kind of like looking at words in other languages, you understand that you should know the meaning of them but it is the presentation that gets in the way.

I’ve heard it called a curse for the intelligent, but for me it just meant school after school, misplaced anger, running from my shame, and a life of slower written comprehension. I dropped out of high school, then five years latter got a G.E.D. I ran away from college when it asked too much, or when I was too afraid to do the work. Sometimes just trying to read a book would hurt too much and I would disappear from the class entirely. I once told someone I would have rather been born stupid than have the life I have, still trying to figure out if that is true.

Three years ago I came to the truth that I was bored with my job and life and that I needed to go back to school. After three semesters at a community college I then accepted an offer to go to Monash University, which is just outside Melbourne, Australia. Being an adult back in school has been strange: new social graces, having more in common with the teacher than the rest of the class. The willingness to answer a question when asked is just weird in comparison to my former academic life.

I got to Australia with the hope that I had gotten through my past imposed scholastic self torture, but personal baggage seems to find its way even if you don’t want it. I’m facing those same problems again, and I’m losing to it. I’ve been close to just leaving school life behind again. Running away and living with my fear and personal illiteracy, but I need to give it one last try. I’m going into creative writing, facing my hell head on. Trying to make it that the words that I read, are mine and not the one’s I can’t figure out. So far my life has been spent finding ways around my problem. Now I believe that I have to face it or let the words write into nothing.