January 19, 1998
The story this week was written by Elaine Catherine Papps, from Kelowna, British Columbia. Elaine is gradually overcoming almost impossible odds in her struggle towards selfhood. Her biography is certainly a worst case scenario; everything that could go wrong went wrong, starting with a dysfunctional family, learning problems, unfortunate choices, narrow general information and limited problem solving skills. The result of all these difficulties is a heartbreaking lack of self-esteem. However, Elaine has made tremendous progress. Not only has she gained in writing ability, but in her discernment. Growing self-confidence allows her the time and space she needs to read and consider issues and offer a reasoned opinion. Elaine's future is bright, as her tutors assert.
In the past year I've been tutored, I thought it really changed my life for good. Well, it seems I've slipped backwards and need help to cope.
I have no self-esteem or even the tiniest fraction of confidence. I don't want to feel sorry for myself. If that was the case then it would be easy to pick myself up and start over. I need someone to show me how to take the aching and the hurting in my life away.
I find it so hard to communicate with people I've just met or some co-workers. I hate the feeling that seems to be destroying me. All I want is to be able to deal with my problems and have a fulfilled life.
When I try to explain things to people I get nervous and the words come out all wrong and I feel like a fool. There I am slipping backward and keeping very quiet and to myself. I can't defend myself, even when I know that I'm right.
Most people don't want to be around people who act like that. I can truly understand that, and that's why I want to solve these problems. I want to feel accepted and have a great attitude and life.
[This story was taken with permission, from a compilation of stories by the participants of Project Literacy Kelowna Society's one-to-one adult basic literacy tutoring program, entitled Our Words III, p. 38]