This I Believe

January 8, 2011

Everybody has a story to tell. Everybody need to find their voice to tell their story. I have a story to tell about a silent little girl who struggled to find her voice and is now speaking to you about how she found her voice. You can find your voice. Your voice can and should be heard.
Throughout elementary school and middle school, I was a shy little girl walking the halls with a backpack just getting through the day. I had a hard time engaging in a conversation and feeling comfortable with the people around me. Every night I would write a lot in my diary about how I wanted to share with people, but I wrote it with a positive feeling that one day I would be heard.
In third grade every Monday morning we would share about our weekend. Whenever it was my turn, I would not talk. I would just keep silent. I would shake my head that I didn’t want to speak. I felt that nobody cared about what I had to say.
The most embarrassing moment happened in eight grade. I was almost done with a speech about America, and I looked at the paper blurry with teary eyes. I looked at the people in front of me. Then I looked at Mr. Juan, my history teacher, and told him that I couldn’t do it anymore. So I stopped and burst into tears and ran out of the room. At the time I felt so embarrassed that I never wanted to speak in front of a class again.
In the middle of my freshman year I had a choice to take an elective. There were numerous electives to pick. In order to pass high school I had to take one practical arts elective and fine arts. The guidance counselor suggested taking a fine arts class to get it over with. She suggested I take band or orchestra, but I personally didn’t like either of those. The counselor also suggested I take choir or public speaking. I didn’t really like singing in front of people. I asked a lot of questions about public speaking. It was intimidating at first to hear that we had to perform in front people. She said students who took the class last year gave positive feedback. It was eye-opening to think about it in a whole different way. I was going to look at a fear that I had since I was little and challenge myself to experience it in a worthwhile way.
The class was scary and motivating at the same time. Sometimes I wanted to give up, but I completed all the assignments. Every time someone would say, “Speak louder, I can’t hear you,” it would lower my self esteem It shattered me. But I kept trying. With my teacher’s and the other students’ encouragement and belief in me I felt safe to express who I was.
I remember the day of the semester presentation. I took a peek from behind the curtain. Left to right I saw a crowd of people. I got so nervous that I had butterflies in my stomach. I just wanted to get out of the auditorium and cry. I knew I would make a fool out of myself. The auditorium lights were so bright, I didn’t believe that I was center stage at the moment, but before I knew it all over. To see and hear the applause in the auditorium made me feel I accomplished something important in my life that I will carry with me.

The author's comments:
My public speaking class. I hope people will challenge themselves like I did. Also to feel important.

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