Must find my dictionary! Once upon a time, I was quite proud of my vocabulary. Dad joked with me, “stop using 50 cent words with my 2 bit vocabulary”. Amazingly enough, as a middle school student, I knew what “2 bits” was referring to.

Throughout my teenage years and all through adulthood, I have been mocked by my peers, a few teachers and several bosses about my word choices and speech patterns. In hindsight, I should have considered the sources. Several of my managers were illiterate and they never denied this fact. Today’s result is my vocabulary sucks!

Words I once knew are now foreign to me. I struggle with my spelling and with using the correct word in a sentence. I feel uneducated. This is my own fault of course. I am the one who choose to dumb down my speech patterns to make those around me feel more comfortable. In the case of a few friends, I did it to make them feel better about themselves.

Tonight, I was reading a new book. Several paragraphs had to be read more than once because I was struggling to understand. This makes me feel sad. The subject material was not difficult and once I figured out the words, I realized I hear them frequently on the news or in some of the documentaries I watched.

I do not like how educated people are put down by those around them that decide not to be educated. I like to read. This expands my knowledge base and my vocabulary. If you decide that you are allergic to books, that is no reason to shame me. This is a lesson I would love to teach to my younger self. Now it is time to remedy how I feel and improve upon my speech. Especially my pronunciation. While trying to teach my toddler to say new words, I am noticing that I am not saying them correctly myself. No wonder two of my three girls have a speech impediment.

I wish vocabulary was still taught in public school. I wish children were required to learn definitions of words and taught how to apply them to a complete sentence. And most of all, I wish I had never felt bad about my own abilities just to appease friends around me.