i knew how to read and write before i started school. i remember reading "run, sally, run" (or some other title similar to that) with my grandmother. i remember handing my mom sheets of paper on which i had documented the events of my day. i wasnt (and still am not) a genius or anything like that. what drove me to develop these skills are of an entirely different sort.
i was too young to remember minor details about the time when i started to learn how to read. what i do remember is that i didnt read because i liked it. i didnt read because i wanted to know what happened when sally ran. nor did i care that spot ran after sally. i was more concerned if i was pronouncing the words right or if i was reading fast enough or if i was taking my breaths at the right time. i was so afraid of the hand that would punish me if i did anything wrong. i wasnt even three yet.
the hand of consequence was not the only thing i feared. i also feared one particular nanny i had. until today, i still dont understand what her deal was. she was really nice to me in front of my parents but once they turn their backs on us, she makes a complete 180. i vividly remember being so afraid of being left alone with her. i was convinced that she would kill me one day. i would always cry before my parents left for work. i remember in great detail the disgusting things she would do im my home while my parents were away. she acted like she owned both the house and me. i tried telling my parents once but it didnt come out right. i didnt know what to say. i tried calling my mom at work but i was too hysterical to make any sense. so one day, i tried writing things down as they were happening. i knew what the letters were but i didnt know how to spell. i didnt know the first thing about constructing sentences either. but those were the least of my worries. ididntcarethateverythingthatiwrotelookedsomethinglikethis. i just had to let my mom know what was going on when she wasnt around. a few days later, i woke up and the nanny was no where to be found.
this was not the end of my struggle. i dont know when it was but there was a point in my life when i was was extremely paranoid. i was afraid of EVERYTHING. i was afraid that when i spilt my moms eye drops on the carpet it would grow an eye. i was afraid that my stomach would stick together when i swallowed my gum by accident. i was afraid that ants would get in my "pee-pee" when i was sleeping. EVERYTHING and ANYTHING. i called my mom every time i would have a panic attack about one of my fears. at the rate it was going, she might as well stayed with me on the phone the whole day. when she finally had enough of my paranoia, she told me to just write things down and she would read it when she got home and tell me if i should be worried or not. i didnt agree. that was way too long of a wait. but she told me that if i called he at work again for one of my attacks, she would never, EVER, pick-up the phone again. so i started writing again.
fear and paranoia taught me how to read and write.