Not so Golden Silence

May 25, 2011
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Senior year—it is finally coming to an end. My fellow peers, the time has come. It is now time to depart on our own separate ways into the journey of life. This journey will include hardships as well as happiness. Some of us will become doctors, and others, the local sanitation engineers. Whatever it may be, this is just the beginning of our lives. This beginning, however, was marked by painful experiences, funny situations, and quiet times. We all went through many of these experiences to reach this point in our lives. Now ask yourselves, was it worth it?

My memories of the beginning of the beginning, or the beginning of high school, remains as if it took place four years ago; it seems too long ago to call it yesterday. Anyhow, I would constantly get asked throughout my high school career, “Can you please just say hi once verbally?” The answer always resulted in a smile slapped on an Asian guy’s face waving the word “hi.” If not obvious already, yes—that Asian guy would be me back in the day. I was the silent Chinese, Korean, Japanese, or any other Asian nationality others would normally stereotype me as. People would refer to me as “the one that never talks.”

How did this come about? During eighth grade year, my friend and I made a bet to see who would not talk for the greatest amount of time. However, he ended up departing to South Korea for his family, leaving me with the curse of not talking—just kidding! However, that is the story I told people, and they actually believed it. The truth is, I simply made use of observational learning. My friend did indeed leave to Korea and he also never talked, but a bet never took place. I observed how, for someone that never talked, he received quite a bit of attention. As a young eighth grader, I copied his behavior to achieve the same result—getting attention. This attention was enjoyable for a period of time, but it started to get old and annoying, like my dog, after a few years.

I never got bullied about the non-verbose side of me, but I did get tired of being asked the same question everyday of the eternity-like school year. While it lasted, my speechless life was quite a terror. Every time I wanted to explain myself or the situation I happened to be in, I remained silent with an internal burning sensation. In order to carry out my message, I pulled out my pen and wrote my words on paper for others to read. This process involved too much work and I was too lazy to do this most of the time, so I usually had people read my lips, which I do not think they enjoyed. Teachers chose on me in class, knowing that I could not, or would not, say anything. Cruel, huh? There were also teachers that made me not only read, but read with exuberance. I will not mention any names in order to protect their identities.

This was my life as a high school student until the end of the eleventh grade. That was when my life flipped, not 180 degrees, but sixty degrees. I was, and still am, the same person that has the same perspectives about most topics, but the sixty degrees account for the change in my speech skills; slowly, I began to break the curse. After talking verbally for a while, I figured that it made life much easier—thank God for voices.

The one person that helped me in getting through this change in verboseness was Jesse. You may or may not know this Indian being, but I know him like no other. We knew each other since the eighth grade, but our friendship began in the tenth grade. He was the one friend that I could always rely on. He was the one person that I actually talked to, but he kept this fact a secret for my sake. Before I go any further, I must explain our relationship status. Because of our close friendship, many people have a misconception that we are partners in love, but to straighten matters out, we are not at all loving partners. The story of Jesse and me being thought of as boyfriends can wait until another memoir comes along, but we are both ideal male specimens that prefer dating female species more than males.

To carry on with Jesse’s impact on my life: Jesse slowly opened my shell up, allowing the little voice in me to escape gradually. I began by talking to him and my other friends, who were surprised to find that when they asked me to say “hi,” I answered with a simple “No.” They looked as if they saw a mute person talk in a casual manner.

As time passed by, I began talking in my classes. I read paragraphs for my teachers without a problem and asked questions when necessary. It was as if I jumped over the wall holding me back from moving forward. My speech skills were progressing quickly, and the next thing I knew, I was dancing as a cheerleader, during the pep rally with Jesse, in front of the whole school! Not only was I yelling chants, but I was performing embarrassing dance moves in front of hundreds of people! Talk about the not so little boy that could, right?
Unfortunately, people came to associate me with “the one that never stops talking,” and I still hold this honorable recognition today. Whether I talked or not, I was always too extremely quiet or too loud, and, as a result, I thought of myself as an annoyance to others. I constantly had this internal conflict that made me feel lost in life, to a lesser extent. Then, I realized that friends were potential guides—showing me the path to take with the help of their support.
It is people like Jesse who help people like me realize that being oneself is always more than enough. It took me four years to finally realize that there is no need to copy others, that true friends are guides that will not hurt, but support. We are similar in our species, but unique in our individuality.
My fellow peers, I am here today to say yes—my journey was worth everything I have been through. These are a couple of memories I can write a memoir on, and I can write more, but I will not be doing so because this is the last assignment for Mrs. Perreault’s APES and monkeys, hopefully. I will miss you all, except you Akbar, who makes my life that much more difficult by messing with my hair. No, I am joking again. I loved my high school year with all that it was, and I love you guys, the people I will attend graduation with. Let us all lead a life worth living; one composed of individual uniqueness. Good luck on the journey of life, my friends, and thank you for showing me the path to this life-long journey.





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