This I Believe
Ten years ago I was the shyest person you would ever meet. Unless I knew you, if you spoke to me I’d blush and murmur a response. Along with being shy I’ve always been small— currently, I know that getting past 5’1’’ is a goal that I will never achieve— that combination makes you an easy target for ridicule in elementary school. I got called many things, not all too clever, but still easily hurtful to a seven-year-old. Some meant it all in good humor, others had different motives, either way the words hurt. Again, I was shy, though, so I never fought back, just let the words hit me, shed a tear— or fifty, then go home and become more unsure of myself.
As the years passed that shyness didn’t change much, but my mind and opinions were racing through my mind like a child on sugar. But, being the shy person I was, I held them all in, locked away so not one person could see the real me. Well, obviously that isn’t the greatest thing to do and as those thoughts started to expand I became more stressed and began to break down a lot. I could get viciously angry or burst out into tears in a matter of minutes due to the smallest possible thing.
During my sophomore year, my journalism teacher approached me about joining the school newspaper. Considering I couldn’t even get myself to read my articles aloud to my class, I was deathly afraid of the entire school reading them. Despite that fear, I said yes anyway. I basically told myself it was time to suck it up and put myself out there. It didn’t matter anymore what people thought, love me or hate me, I was finally going to tell people what I thought.
I knew that if people were going to read my writing it was going to be about subjects I was passionate about, so I chose to write editorials. That was a decision that changed my personality considerably. Building up the courage to put my opinions out there for people to read, allowed me to climb out of my shell and become the much more opinionated person I am today. Sometimes I’m respected for it and sometimes people hate me for it— but it’s me. Taking that step has taught me not only to stand up for myself, but also how to show people the real me.
I believe in speaking my mind.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.