My ability to read at the age of four gave me a stupid superiority complex over my other young peers. Yes, I know that sounds annoyingly arrogant. But I don’t feel that way at all now. And I haven’t for a very long time.

I feel average now.

As a young child, I unscrambled letters into coherent sentences that were still foreign to the other kids; I solved the puzzle that nobody else my age could.

I felt special, and smart, and superior. I don’t anymore.

In preschool, my small— and probably sticky— hand unknowingly shook hands with words for the first time.

I met face-to-face with short picture books in preschool. The words and I were friends. Mere acquaintances at the start, I guess. I didn’t know them as well as I do now; we weren’t intricately intertwined like we are now.

That friendship turned into something greater than my young self. I was able to use the words. Not “use” in a bad way— no, not as you think. I didn’t take advantage of the delectable peanut butter sandwiches their mom put in their lunch every day or steal their coins for candy.

I used them. I learned their ways and wrote.

Going into kindergarten, I already knew how to write letters that would transform into my own short stories. I was ahead of the class.

Because of that, I felt special, and smart, and superior. I don’t anymore.

While everyone was stuck in traffic, I was swiftly riding past them on my four-wheeled bike.

I couldn’t ride a bike without training wheels in kindergarten, but I knew how to write and read.

My kindergarten and first-grade teachers transferred my short, handwritten stories to their computers and printed them on special paper for me to add illustrations. Nobody else got to do that. Just me.

I was smart in school. Elementary through middle school, I exceeded.

I wasn’t forced to try; school didn’t seem like a mundane routine that I was required to do.

It was fun. And I was good.

I correlated my effortless ease to read and write as a young child to any academic achievements in school as I got older. That came easy to me, so I figured everything else would. Whether it was the easy math problems or the high test scores, I thought the root of it all was my affinity for words at the mere age of three.

Throughout middle school, I realized that not everything will come as easy to me as writing and reading did.

Math is hard, and it always will be— at least for me. The reading will get harder. Books aren’t a friend anymore; they’re a foe that brings stress. Suddenly you have to annotate them at a collegiate level. Suddenly you have to take tests on the words that you used to know so well.

Middle school and the start of high school slammed the brakes on the bike I once used to speed past everyone else on. Each bad grade— which started to happen more often than not— was a bump in the road that caused pieces of my bike to fade away, making it harder to exceed or even keep up.

Eventually, the bike disappeared. And I was at the end of the traffic line.

Now, school is hard. I’m not good. I don’t excel; I lag behind.

I’ve realized that I’m not as creative as I used to be— or I used to think I was. I can’t create stories out of nothing anymore.

Currently, I find it hard to write because I don’t think I’m good. Compared to everyone else, I think I’m average. Because everyone can write and read, and most can do it better than me.

Everyone is riding bikes now.

I’m not special anymore. Everyone has met the words I met so long ago. Everyone can use the words I used so long ago.

No longer do I feel special, and smart, and superior.

I just feel average.