My greatest fear is also my deepest passion.
I love words. But, my recent move to Brazil has awakened my biggest fear. I just wanted to let you know in case that wasn’t obvious from my blog, short stories, or the ridiculous amount of tweets I send out on a daily basis.
I am extremely dyslexic, and whoever created this word was obviously not. I have difficulty composing my subpar English for others to read, that learning another language terrifies me. (Also, having anxiety that renders me mute doesn’t help either.) I spent years trying to learn Spanish and failed miserably. Thankfully there are no graded exams in life; I, myself, just have to conquer that paralyzing stage fright. No one is expecting me to say everything perfectly, but they are expecting me to try.
Over the past few years, I have listened to my husband when he speaks to his family, and I’ve picked up on a few things. And I’ve only noticed as of late how much Spanish I actually learned while in school. I have developed enough of a vocabulary that I can pick apart people’s sentences by focusing on context clues. It’s like learning how to read all over again, except this time, I must remember if a word is masculine or feminine, and I’m nowhere close to understanding tenses.
Six months before I left, I started to really dive into learning the language. I started using Duolingo on my phone daily, and it has helped a lot. It may not be helping me get over the fear of speaking, but I understand way more now than I would have used another program. I don’t learn just one way. If you say a word, I need to know what it looks like. I need to break it down and understand its phonetics provides. I need to associate the word with something else so I will remember it. Duolingo has really helped with that; it gives me the words with pictures to fully grasp what it looks like. But most importantly, it provides me baby sentences.
What I hated most in school was learning words but not knowing how to use them. By the time my teachers got to sentence structure, I was already so discouraged that I felt like my learning disability would hold me back forever. But now I know. I CAN learn another language.
Nothing in my academic life has been easy, so why should it start now. Why should I let a little thing like stage fright stop me from doing what I love most; communicating?