I don’t know why I was born this way.
It’s something I wish I could grow out of. I wish it was just temperary, that it would go away. But, I hasn’t.
I grew up with something called Selective Autism. Selective Autism: a phychiatric disorder in which a person who is normally capable of speech is unable to speak in given situations or to specific people. Selective Autism usually co-exists with shyness or social anxiety.
The last sentence of the actual definition above, I don’t like. It’s not shyness to me. It’s something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
When I was little, old enough to talk but not go to school, I would talk to only a few people; parents, siblings, grandparents and my two friends. I wouldn’t talk to my aunt & uncle, or cousin, who lived behind me. They talked to me and I hid behind my mom, looking at the ground, just wanting to be left alone. I just wanted to sink into the floor, away from everyone.
It only got worse from there.
When I began preschool, it was torture. I remember the classroom. There was two rocking chairs in the front, a dry erase board, and a big carpet with colorful squares, big enough for one child to sit on each. Everyday, after begging my parents not to make me go, on the car ride there, I would stop talking to my parents. My mom would take me in there, and she told me to go in the classroom. After crying and holding on to her leg, she make me go. Everyday I sat in the last square to the right, crying. Not once did I sit in another square, never. The teacher would ask everyone to name the shape on the flashcard and then they could go play. She asked a few children, then came to me. She asked me what it was. All the kids were staring, at me. I didn’t answer, I couldn’t. She said she would come back.
I was the last one on the carpet. She showed me the card. I knew what it was, it was so easy. An oval. A green oval. She sat with me, asking over and over again what it was. I never answered.
One day, there was a practice fire drill. Everyone was outside, teachers calling everyones names to make sure they were there. My name was called.
I didn’t answer. I didn’t even raise my hand. She gave me a cold stare, along with everyone else. She called my name and turned her head, pretending to be looking for me.
“Well, class. I have to go into the building thats on fire.” It really wasn’t. “..and look for her.” She did.
When she came back out, she gave me a long lecture, in front of everyone.
A while later, when my parents noticed no changes in my behavior, they put me in a different school. Maybe on that specialized in kids “like me”. I’m not sure, we rarely talk about it.
I met a teacher there. She treated me as if I was her daughter. She took me out for ice cream, my mom and I went to her house just to hang out. Things were going a bit better. By first grade, I would only talk if I had a friend help me. That was the deal between me and my teacher. I had only a few friends. Liz, she was really nice, she helped me. But other times, when she wasn’t there to help me, I would cry if everyone looked at me and the teacher was asking me a question. Second grade, the same way.
I will have more out soon: My Life — Part Two.
Until next time,