I have a favorite story. It’s a favorite because it reminds me of a girl, who, despite her extreme shyness and fear, found her voice and made a difference for herself. This story is my favorite because it reminds me of who I used to be and who I still can be.
The story is this…
In eighth grade, all health class students had to take care of fake, crying baby for week, and I couldn’t wait until it was my class’s turn. (Obviously, thirteen-year-olds are stupid.) When the time came for our teacher to pass out the dolls to us, my class blew its chance by being rowdy and I’m sure what the teacher would call “disrespectful.” She told us we weren’t mature enough to handle this assignment, and instead, projected the school disciplinary agreement on the board, making us copy it down the remainder of the period.
I wasn’t having that. I was shy, I was quiet, I was a nerd who didn’t cause trouble, and I wanted that freakin baby. So instead of copying the given assignment, I wrote a letter to the teacher explaining why I deserved a chance with the crying doll.
Guess what? She gave me a chance!
The following school day, she pulled me aside after class, explaining to me that she had read my letter and was convinced. I could pick up a doll Friday afternoon and return it to her Monday morning.
At thirteen, I learned the power of the written word.
To this day, I’m still shy. I struggle with speech and absolutely balk at the thought of public speaking. Discovering that yes, I had a voice (it was just a written one) at age thirteen changed my life. My confidence grew. I was able to argue and make my point, even if I did have to write it down first. And because words were so fun to manipulate, I developed the passion for storytelling and poetry, I still have today.
I believe I had to learn to write to survive. That scared thirteen-year-old stood up to an authority figure, fought for what she wanted, and got it. When anxiety and depression start to take over, I cling to the knowledge that that girl is still inside of me. I still have the strength to fight for what I want, and get it.
My fears can’t stop me from being brave.