Paralyzed by Fear

Paralyzed by fear.

If reading and comprehension come easily to you, you may not full understand the paralyzing fear of reading or reading out loud. The fear of being told that you are dumb or stupid, to have teachers and peers make you feel like you less than because it takes you longer to read or process. This was my experience from elementary through middle school and even Jr. High.  It was better in High school and much easier during my undergrad.

Tonight, I am sitting at my desk with my printed out essay that I need to read. Its only 9 pages. I start out pretty confident, after all I am 36 and have learned ways to cope with my dyslexia. I have found programs that make my life easier, things that assist with my writing. I buy dual copies of books in paper and audio this helps retain me as I follow along.

In the event that I couldn’t get a text on audio. I would just read it out loud. This works for the most part until I get into textual work or theory, when I get to words I can’t pronounce and start to stubble. I start to get lost in the unfamiliar words. I completed last paragraph on page 3 and the tears start to fall.

I start the next page. Suddenly, I see myself as that 12 year old working on homework for hours, crying and telling my mom that I am stupid.  I would get frustrated and she would should different ways to work a math problem, and even though I would finally understand it. I would still cry because I knew that Mrs. Ragor would count it wrong because it had not been done her way.  I was teased and told I was stupid by not just my peers but by educators. If I had not had a mother that was determined to help me, I would not be where I am today. It was my hungry to learn and her determination that made us unstoppable.

I continued to struggle through this 1930’s essay that yes is still relevant. I hit record on my phone, thinking I might be tempted to share and exert of my reading, but that may be too scary. Online classes add to these fears and anxieties, it’s all textual and becomes a sea of letters and words that I am drowning in. I read through my fears. I can’t read this in my head because it bounces off like my brain is rubber.

Finally, I get through it, the notes were not taken and it took me about an hour and a half. I sat there the tears leaking out of my eyes as if I can finally release the sea I was just drowning in.

It was at this moment, I sent another message to my professors and asked about dropping a class. I felt like a total failure. I couldn’t do this. Two classes, children, and work. There is no way! It’s too much and the reading has me feeling like a failure. All I have ever wanted to do was write and make art, but maybe it wasn’t meant to be. These thoughts of the things my middle school teachers use to say to me were screaming, so loudly in my head. I felt so defeated in that moment. I hit send on my email and let the tears flow.

One of my professors had responded to a previous email. He reminded me of my accommodation and advised me to submit my documentation.  I haven’t had to do this in years, but I will dig out paper work. He told me about PDF reader opinion “read out loud,” which I had to google.  I pulled up the pdf of the textbook my other professor had sent me. The “read out loud”, was the lifeline I needed last night. It’s not ideal, but it worked!!

After I complete these sections. I was going to scan in the previous essay, then I realized that I had a theory book that was on audio, low and behold this fucking essay that took me nearly 90 mins to read, was on the audio text I have.  I listened to this essay and took notes for another 20mins, it all made sense to me.

It was 2 AM by the time I finished. I sat with my 12 year old self. She reminded me of all the things I was afraid of and I reminded her of how far we have come. Together we cried not because it was over, but she is the only one that truly understands.

 

Every Negative has a Positive

Negative: I couldn’t get a single book on audio this semester.

Positive: I spent Thursday and Friday ready out loud to myself in funny accidents to get through the pages.

Negative: I should have than work on the video and the paper, but I was not able to focus on it after all the reading.

Positive: I was inspired to work on my book which has a deadline coming up. So, I got lost in this story and the words.  Relived a few life lessons and before I knew it was 1 am.

Negative: My youngest, who is a night owl.  Requested an hour of TV and in my bed at 1AM. I explained to him that I am going to fall asleep and that he is too big to sleep in my bed.

Positive: I could snuggle with him and after 30 minutes before telling him that I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  He agreed to end the movie if I will tuck him in.

Saturday was just one of those days and was not nearly as productive as it should have been, it was full of interruptions.  There are several reasons as to why this weekend was going to be full of changes.

Negative: The older teenager was going to be here and his plans change from hour to hour. Consisting of mom take me here, mom pick me up there. This is not unusual for a teenager, but I was trying to write a fucking paper.

Positive: He re-met and a friend of mine, and for the first time since the divorce he said. “I like him, he seems chill”

I reminded my oldest that this man and I are just friends, and that I have too much on plate to date.  This idea of me letting people met my children is hard for me, even if they are friends.  The fact that he liked someone even if it was a friend was huge because he doesn’t like anyone new.

Negative: Unexpected visitors:

Positive: My wonderful supportive mom stops by and for the most didn’t interrupt me directly.  She drove with me to drop the boys off and even stayed late to watch a movie with them, while working on my paper.

Negative: I don’t like going to the grocery store. It feels like a waste. I understand that we need food to survive, but it mostly feels expensive. It used to give me a panic attack. Now it’s just annoying with the time and the crowds.

Positive: I got to go grocery and my mom made this trip more pleasant. Plus, the kids brought in and put away all the groceries away for me.

Sunday had just as many distractions, but there are ways a better way to look at the situations and find the best part of it.

Overwhelmed

Well, I feel overwhelmed and I want to have sex, but I am taking a break from that. I want to forget that I feel like my life is spinning out of control.  The reality is that it’s not out of control, it’s just finding a new balance. My fears kick in, “can I read the material fast enough and I will be able to maintain the schedule.”  yet I always find my way.

I am a 36 year old dyslexic who knows all the coping skills with a 4.0 GPA and yet there are moments that I feel like the 12 year old girl so afraid to read out loud.

It’s only 10 weeks

“It’s only 10 weeks,” the phrase that I keep repeating to myself as I start my third term at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) this week. It’s 10 weeks two classes, which equates to an additional 40 hours a week on top of my full-time job, my children, and my book. “Lean into it,” is the other phrase that rings loudly. The extra class mean I can complete the degree a term sooner.

However, my day job can be mentally taxing, and there are days I just want to melt on the couch after work. Let alone do all the responsible parenting things.  My boys are great with their encouragement and even reassure me occasionally that I am not being selfish that I am showing them how to follow their passion.

Except as classes start, I’m suddenly filled with fear of time management and mom guilt. It’s only 10 weeks, right. 400 hours….

The clock is ticking, Friday is the deadline to drop a class and I stand on the edge, leaning, armed with coffee and my cape.