This I Believe

Michelle - Alexandria, Kentucky
Entered on March 19, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in the importance of talking to people. It is the best way to communicate to others feelings and opinions. For me, it is one of my most difficult challenges. I am a shy person. All my life I have been shy, and all my life I have hated the feeling. It feels like a mental handicap, a chain keeping me from taking part in society.

Grade school was when my shyness was at its worst. I spent the majority of my time reading to get lost in another world, a place where I was not made fun of. There were times when I tried to talk and everyone would just stare at me like I was a freak. I realize now that they probably were just in shock at hearing my voice. Even though I made a few attempts to communicate to people, by my eighth grade graduation there were still many who had rarely, if ever, heard my voice.

When I moved on to high school I decided to choose a school where most members of my grade school would not attend. I wanted to start afresh and rid myself of my shyness. Of course, it didn’t take long there for people to realize I was a shy person there. But I was going to improve. I took part in various organizations and tried to make friends. Today I am a senior. I am greatly involved in plays, singing groups, orchestras, and Latin club. But I have something more important than that as well. I have friends I want to stay connected with as I go on to college and they feel the same about me. That’s not to say I’m over my shyness, but it gets easier every day. Hopefully when I move on to college this will continue to improve until it is no longer a problem. I think one of my greatest compliments was when someone told me, “You know everyone always says that you’re a quiet person, but I don’t see you that way.”

Next year I will be attending a college that is far away. I have yet to meet another senior who will be attending the same school as I. But that’s okay. I know that if I try hard I will be able to sharpen my communication skills. The only thing that saddens me is to be far away from friends and family. Unlike going to high school, where I realized how weak my old friendships were, I am confident that the friends I have now will continue to be my friends as time goes on.

Talking is something most people tend to leave for granted. It is a gift that I am slowly trying to obtain.