Have you ever watched a baby? Everything a baby does, is exploring and learning. You can just see the spark of understanding in their eyes, and understanding stimulates curiosity, and each new thing learned brings with it delight.
But sometimes things happen, and natural curiosity can get derailed with other feelings, such as anxiety due to a perception of being judged. Sometimes this perception of being judged is within. Some people are so sensitive to the reactions of others, that they become self-conscious. Being self-conscious isn’t all bad. When self-conscious, we are aware of the reactions of others. Even before we have a clear understanding of what these reactions mean, we make the connection between our action and the reaction. Some of us will repeat behaviors in an effort to elicit a certain reaction, like laughing. Some of us are so concerned with the responses of others, like laughing, that anxiety is experienced and we hide what we are doing until we feel it is fit for the public. Each person is different.
I’m not sure where on the spectrum I fit. I have been told that as a small child I was happy, outgoing and free. Introspective and circumspect are words that have been used to describe the adult me.
As a child, I had a difficult time learning to read. There were many reasons for this:
- My German father and grandparents spoke with an accent.
- I spoke English with a German accent when I started school.
- Grandma would help me practice my reading.
- The laughs of my classmates were my first clue that something wasn’t correct.
- My ear was accustomed to a German syntax.
- I didn’t attend the best schools.
So there may have been some reasons for becoming more introspective as I matured.
I did learn to read, but grown up reading to my own baby, I could barely get the words out while reading the little baby books. Reading on my own, I took as long as I needed to read things (and I was a very slow reader). It seems strange to me now, but even with the slow arduous process of reading, I loved it. Stories so entranced me that I would read them over and over again. (Doing this contributes to reading fluency.)
I guess I can’t really blame my family for being skeptical about my desire to write. I read everything. I took writing classes. I studied and practiced, and the miracle of miracles happened. The girl who could barely read, who was completely self-conscious, who can’t define more than a few parts of speech, and could not diagram a sentence, became a reporter and writer.
I owe all my success to the power of stories.