The infuriating inability to read because your brain doesn't work
Posted Sep 25 2012 12:00am
When I was twelve, before the demons came, I could read. I read, and read, and read. Nancy Drew, the new Hardy Boys novels, Sweet Valley High. I read them voraciously and with a true hunger for the words.
I don't know when the last time I read a novel was, but I can guarantee you it wasn't within the past twelve years.
The fact is I can't read anymore. My brain frankly refuses to cooperate when I need to read something. The most I can ever manage is a magazine article in Rolling Stone, or something, but these days I can't manage that much.
I've often wondered if I had dyslexia and it was just never diagnosed.
I can recall all the desks in all the libraries, in every state I have lived in, where I sat, and tried in vain to read a book. All of them. I will tell you, I did this in Baltimore, when I lived there in 1999, at the community college I went to there and at three different public libraries I went to there, at the library in Alexandria, Virginia when I lived there in 2002, and this isn't even talking yet about the bookstore....I tried in vain to read at the bookstore at Pentagon City, I tried in vain to read at my community college in Clearwater, FL, and at every bookstore and every library I have ever been to in my entire life. I tried to read last year at this time, and couldn't. I tried to read six months ago, and couldn't. I tried to read ten minutes ago and couldn't.
I don't ever try to read fiction. I can't. I don't like it or something doesn't work right with it in my brain and I can't read it. I can't write fiction either, except in my head. I never really try writing it though so I guess there's a remote possibility that I could.
I must be dumb. It's truly amazing that I have over 120 college credits, and I have not read 98% of the materials assigned for reading in any of my classes, ever. Truly. This is the truth now. Let's be real. Something is wrong with me.
I lied in my bed just now trying to read my textbook. Dumb. As if I have ever been able to read in my bed. I can't. I laid there and made up a poem about how I was trapped inside my bedroom and it was like a prison. I talked to my cats. I told them to leave me alone so I could read (they like it when I talk to them, so that didn't work). I gave up. Again.
This is all good and well, because it plainly doesn't matter in the ignorant, illiterate society in which I live in the United States if one can read or not. As long as you know how to turn on a TV you can get through life here. But it matters when you're, say, taking a class where you have to read entire legal cases and then report what you read to your entire class whenever the professor decides to call on you.
So once again, I have a problem due to my inability to read. It's funny; I collect books. I love books. That's why I spend so much time in bookstores and libraries. But I don't read all of an entire book often at all. I read excerpts. Just enough to get by without overwhelming my brain. I am a fraud with an apartment full of stocked bookshelves. This is like a joke. My life is like a joke. It's pathetic.
So there you have it. That is my confessional for the week. I can't read. I am not stupid in all honesty, but I certainly feel stupid when I can't read. I am eligible for reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act at my university, but it doesn't include someone putting information into your brain because you were unable to absorb it through your eyes. How unfortunate is that?
I realized recently that I'm never going to be able to go to grad school, because I can't read well enough to fake it that far. I can fake it through a BA, but I think that is all.
This feels like such a lame thing to admit to the world, but it is true. The funniest part of it is that I used to be an English major. Guess why I switched majors? Literature. We just don't get along, lit and I. We have a complicated relationship. Earlier today I was in such a good mood, I posted a link to James Brown singing "I Feel Good" on a Facebook group, but right now I feel like garbage rotting in Florida in August in the dumpster below my kitchen window.
What I would give to be able to read this damned textbook.