When I was little, I was very shy. So shy that I remember hiding behind my mother when we’d visit her friends’ houses. I didn’t speak up much. I didn’t see a need to when my two older brothers were making enough noise to fill the house.
I didn’t really stand up for myself either because quite often my brothers would stand up for me. Most of the time I just didn’t want to make trouble or draw attention to myself. I had some good close friends that lived on the street of my childhood home and they understood me. Those who didn’t understand me ignored me, avoided me or worst of all, bullied me.
I suffered the worst bullying when I did finally stand up against some mean girls in middle school. I stood up to them because they were harassing my girlfriends and me during gym class. I stood up to them and used my flare with words to call them creatively cruel names. Perhaps not the best course of action but I’d endured more than enough harassment. My girlfriends didn’t stand up with me so I found myself standing alone. Worst of all, those bullying girls reported me to the gym teacher so I had to apologize to them! Their bullying grew even worse after that and had my family not moved that year, I’m not sure what would have happened.
Moving to a bigger school really didn’t help my shyness but I was able to make some good friends who stuck by me. I was so relieved when I got a boyfriend at 16 because he’d stand up for me and he became my voice. I liked having him order food for me because even at that age, I was afraid to speak up and say what I wanted. It took me many years to realize what a mistake that was.
Don’t think that I’m a mute though. Those that know me the best know that I’m a sarcastic, blunt, outspoken woman with a sharp wit who has always been marching to her own beat, even if it was one no one noticed at the time. When I’m not with my family, friends or those I’m really familiar with, I’m still a quiet observer, taking it all in. Have you heard that saying that it’s the quiet ones you have to look out for? There’s some truth to that.
I think it’s safe to say that I’ve now found my voice and broken out of the shy shell I hid in for a majority of my life. I still regress now and then because it feels safer there, but I know I’m not helping anyone by clamming up. There are many things I believe in and feel are worth standing up for and speaking on behalf of. I can’t do them all at once but I focus on what I can when I can and put my whole heart into it!
At heart, I’m still a little girl. Hopeful, optimistic, energetic and kind. Now that I’ve found my big voice, I know I have the power to change the world, one word at a time.