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How I Overcame Illiteracy

Happy Valentine's Day to You and Yours! I also wrote and published this post for "The Bachelorette" blog series dedicated to all Bachelorettes who could be my Valentine. In this Life blog series, I will share how I overcame illiteracy. If someone told me 20 years ago that I will have an official website with the domain name JasonTom.com and be an author of a Music, Hip Hop And Faith Life Blog that engages 2.3 million page views and 2.1 million unique visitors, averaging 2,000 plus page views and visits per day, it may have challenged me to fathom it.

20 years ago at this time in 1998, I had no computer, I was self-conscious, felt socially awkward as a 15 year old, still searching to find myself. I attempted my hand at basketball during a summer league, because I had an aspiration to be like Michael Jordan. I discovered basketball was not my calling. At a young age I was illiterate and I flunked the first grade. What, who does that? I been there and done that. I never gave up. My father, who passed away last year on Father's Day, pushed me and disciplined me out of love very hard the best he possibly knew how. My parents both worked tirelessly in the restaurant industry. My older sister was academically successful with her academic achievements and awards. I was academically challenged. After I flunked the first grade at Liholiho Elementary, my mother took her time outside of work and held alphabet blocks to assist me to learn the ABC's.

My second go at first grade, this time at Kauluwela Elementary, I learned my ABCs, vocabulary, and began to read. Eventually, I began publishing and drawing my own homemade "no word" comic books. Gecko Man was created during that time. On the side, I recorded myself beatboxing and speaking into my audio cassette tape machine. I also watched countless hours of cartoons, television and Michael Jackson. Reading for enjoyment began for me when my mother assisted me by buying me the comic books I wanted such as Superboy, Incredible Hulk, Amazing Spider-Man, etc. Then I published my own homemade comic books and came up with own comic book company name and began using "word bubbles" and "word captions" with original stories and dialogue. During my years of publishing my homemade comic books, I had an audience and readership of five individuals, my childhood best friends Jonathan, Alan, Mark, my father, and sister. My father read daily.. he also drew. So I took my enjoyment for reading and art today after my father.

I was not consistent in my pursuit for drawing and writing comic books shortly after my grandmother on my father's side passed away. I eventually pursued athletics in soccer and judo. In judo, I was called by my coaches and teammates, "Spider-Man." In 2000, I got online with my first computer, self-taught myself HTML through Microsoft Front Page and I published my first personal website with the AOL Hometown website builder. From 2001 through 2003, I was very involved and connected with the international Michael Jackson online fan community, published Michael Jackson fans sites, and I wrote an article for a Michael Jackson news fan site.

In 2004, I decided to change paths from my endeavor for judo after I got hit by a car after one practice. Having that as wake up call in my life, I pursued music as a beatboxer and that eventually led me to the path to pursue and seek a relationship with God. I got planted at Word of Life and I got into reading the Word of God also known as the Holy Bible, starting with the Gospel of John. Today, I love to read and write. I read daily. I write daily. I also read the Word of God consistently for my devotionals and I journal. 10 years ago, I began reading the New International Version then transitioned to the New Living Translation to King James Version, and now I read the New King James Version. I also journal and doodle offline while endeavoring to write and publish blog posts consistently. I appreciate my website visitors and regular readers of my blog, especially those who visit and comment on my blog. It really does mean something to me and it does make a difference. It encourages me to update with content and to consistently write and publish with you the reader in mind.

Best,

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