My greatest fear is also my deepest passion.
I love words. 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. But, my recent move to Brazil has awakened my biggest fear.
I am extremely dyslexic, and whoever created this word was obviously not. I have a hard enough time 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 no where 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 using 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 the phonetics of it. 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 so I can grasp fully what it looks like. But most importantly it gives me baby sentences.
I NEED 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 I felt like my learning disability was going to hold me back forever. But now I know. I CAN learn another language.
Nothing in my educational 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?