Saturday, 28 November 2015

The Reading Contest

Original Picture taken from StockSnap
 As a child I loved to read and I loved to read out loud.
It loved giving each character a different voice. It was my way of really diving into those fantastic stories and the worlds they created. Then, I was probably in 8. grade, there was a reading contest. I was declared the winner of my class and later, I was to represent our school in the next round, which consisted of the winners of other schools around town. 

On the day of the contest, I was so nervous. It was the first time that I really competed for something, and I wanted so desperately to be good at it. Not only because I was passionate about books and writing, but because I felt like people were counting on me. I didn't want to let them down. 
We were required to read a passage of our choice first. Then, we were given an unkown text we had to read out loud. I chose Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone as the book I wanted to read from. Not that I was a big fan of Harry Potter, unlike most of the children back then and today, but I guess I thought my chances would be better if I picked something popular. 
I remember my heart pounding really hard against my chest, as I was sitting in the audience, listening to the other children. Though, I can not recall if they were really that good or not. When it was my turn, things went quite well. During the break, a journalist from the local newspaper even came up to me and asked me for an interview - which I was glad to give. It made me happy, that people seemed to appreciate what I do. I was so very proud

The second round was probably my weak spot, because I did not win the competition. It was a big disappointment. Not for my parents, but for me. As it was my first real competition, it was also the first time that I experienced the feeling of true disappointment. I had been disappointed because of school grades of course, but in my head, that was something completely different. I didn't cry because of my grades.
After the announcement of the winner two old ladies came up to me and told me that in their eyes, I was the true winner. At that moment, I was too crushed to really appreciate this, but looking back, it makes me happy to know, that there were people who appreciated what I had presented.

That following Monday, the newspaper article about the competition appeared. About 3/4 of it was about me. Only at the very end, the winner was mentioned. I cut it out and kept it in my bedside table for years, but I don't know where it went. 

Even though I cnn not recall every single detail of this event, it is something I think of quite often. Maybe because it shaped me so much in a way that I now regret. I regret the way handled this, but what was I supposed to do as a child? I was disappointed and this disappointment taught me to avoid contests (and challenges in general) in the future. I grew accustomed to the idea that I was not a winner - an attitude that has been compromising to this day and that is hard to overcome. 

The power of experiences and the memories they create is unbelievably strong. What we remember might not always be 100% accurate, but it influences us nontheless and it's not easy to let go. 
While I wouldn't call this a childhood trauma, I am, to this day, convinced of the fact that it impaired my ability to read out loud. 

Do you have a childhood event you often come back to?

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