I am chicken shit. Three Tuesdays ago I rocked up to French class and realised I'd left my textbook and my notes at home. I've been studying since February, and it just doesn't come naturally to me. When our teacher went around the room asking questions, I would flip madly through my books to prepare my response in advance, testing out my pronunciation in my head, so I'd be in control and ready to dazzle by the time she got to me.
But without my security blanket I was useless. For the whole class I was shaking and looking down at my (borrowed) piece of paper hoping I wouldn't be called on. But I was, and I floundered and blushed and tripped over my words in my dreadful accent as if every word of French had fled my brain like a school kid from a classroom on the last day of term.
Our teacher frowned at me over her glasses and shook her head and asked me if I ever did any revision at home? And on the rare moments when I managed to answer something right, she'd throw her hands in the air and say, "Oh hooray! I was just about to give up on you Shauna!"
I scrunched myself down in my chair as if I could somehow make 5'9" of flushed face and fat arse disappear, but it didn't work. I know she doesn't mean to sound offensive, but she is a French native and sometimes her English doesn't come out quite right so it seems mean and mocking. But of course I took it personally, like I always do.
Thursday night rolled around and it was time for class again. I curled up on the couch with my quilt and Harry and Ten Capital News and didn't move. "You'll be late for French," my sister said.
Now it's two Thursdays later and I still haven't been back. It would be ten hours of catching up now, so I wouldn't have a hope of being prepared for the exam. I told myself that is fine to quit, because I only started learning because it was meant to be fun and relaxing, but then it got too serious.
Then I felt ashamed and incredibly lazy and let down and gutless because I didn't put in enough effort and I gave up too easily and what is Mum going to say when you tell her you couldn't even handle a simple little French class?
I am scared of my mother. I am scared of people, places. I am scared of many of you guys. I am scared of looking stupid and scared of anything remotely different and I hate me for it.