My mother says that I wouldn’t talk until I could speak in full sentences. She embellishes the story by saying that when I did speak, it was perfect, free of error. I don’t know how much I believe that, but I honestly cannot remember any different.
I was not a babbly child. In fact, I remember not liking children as a child. They were too much for me. I was shy and quiet.
I remember my Nana taking me to get my hearing checked. I think she thought I was deaf or mute or both, and that my mother just somehow hadn’t noticed, and I remember my satisfaction in passing the test with flying colours.
Somehow, in holding back my speech, I was labeled as gifted. Maybe that’s honestly what gifted meant all along, the kids who are too afraid of other kids and all their noise and need a fucking break. I was small and cute and followed the rules, so I was allowed to stay in on recess to reading books above my grade level.
I had always been really engrossed in books. I had been read to every night as a child. My favourite was Beatrix Potter. Maybe it was because for me speaking was so rare, but according to one poignant story, I used the language of these books in my daily, child life. Throwing a tantrum, little me screamed “I AM AFFRONTED” before slamming her mbedroom door shut. I know. Fucking adorable, and really ridiculous. But not to discount the feelings of little me either- I probably knew the words mad, angry and upset, but wanted to make my point. And make it I did.
Perhaps this treatment forced me to appreciate every word. Maybe that’s why I ended up here, working towards my English degree. I just can’t get enough.