When I was a little girl in school, I couldn’t do much.
I hated being there, nobody liked me and I couldn’t handle how noisy the other kids were and didn’t like working with them, so I often hid under a table and just cried. I wasn’t a very ok kid. I also couldn’t do much, as I said above, meaning I couldn’t do math and still can’t, and worse than that I couldn’t read, and this was even by 2nd grade. However, eventually a tutor at the school took me into her office every day for an hour and taught me to read. By 5th grade, I was reading college level books. While this is an accomplishment, especially at that age, it remains the sole thing that I am better than other people at. I recognize that life isn’t a contest or anything and I shouldn’t compare myself to everyone else but let’s get fuckin’ real, we’re humans and that’s what humans do.
So, I can’t do math. I can barely use an oven. I can’t tie my own shoes, whistle, snap my fingers and I have a hard time washing my hair, BUT, I can read well, and that’s what I can do better than most. I spend so much time in books, and it’s because I feel like it’s actually an achievable goal, finishing a book. It’s something that I can actually do. It makes me feel good to finish books, because I can’t finish much else. While that’s great, it’s a blow to the rest of my self esteem. I can’t do a damn thing else. I’m waiting for the day the world suddenly makes sense to me. I cannot wait until the day I wake up, and everything finally is easy to grasp. I don’t mean like I wake up and can suddenly do nuclear physics or anything, but for god sakes, if I could just one day shower and understand how exactly it is you’re supposed to shower correctly then that’d be great, and I recognize that the statement ‘shower correctly’ makes no sense to anyone else but me but here’s the thing…when you don’t do anything else but read well, you’re convinced you’re doing every single thing else in life the wrong way.
I can’t brush my hair, wash a dish or do anything without feeling as if I’m doing entirely the wrong way. That anyone who sees me doing these things is silently judging me for my poor workmanship. That one day someone will take me aside and go, “Listen, this isn’t right. Let me show you what you’ve been doing wrong all these years”. When I was in 4th grade, I was told by a doctor that I have bronchitis and needed an inhaler. I still have an inhaler today. I can’t even breath right. I went through all of school, straight from elementary through to graduation in high school doing poorly and failing pretty much every class I took. I tried applying for jobs for seven years solid and never got even a callback for a job interview. To my poor sick brain, I really cannot succeed or do anything right. The only thing I can do is read, and write about how poorly I do everything else. I’m a failure except when it comes to pointing out my flaws and failures. I’m an expert at that. I guess that’s something. I’m great at pointing out how bad I am.
And yet, despite all of that, despite everything I try and fail at and how poorly I feel about myself, I never once stop. I always keep doing these things. I always keep trying.
Silver linings and all that.