A Challenge I Had to Face

By , Los Angeles, CA
In elementary school, kids would always ask me, “Why are you so quiet?” I never told them the real reason why. Instead, I just stayed quiet and looked away. It was kind of embarrassing because eventually, they would start making comments to tease me, but I wouldn’t tell them the truth. I would sometimes ask myself, “When are they going to stop?” I just wanted to forget about my problems. I was afraid that if I talked in school, the kids would laugh at me the same way my Uncle Salvador laughed at me just to make fun of me. My uncle Salvador the oldest one from all three, has a tough personality.


o I grew up quiet and scared in a house full of fights and chaos. My mom was young when she moved into an apartment with my dad and his two brothers. My dad and his older brother name Salvador would always drink. When me and my twin sister were born, my mom would just stand there watching them fight until my other uncle would come in and break them apart.


o When I was 4 years-old, I became more conscious of what was going on. My Uncle Salvador’s drinking was causing fights with my dad who would also drink. At night, I would hear men shouting and my mom crying.


o Sometimes when my uncle drinks, he argues with my mom and treats her badly. He also insults me and my sister and I have always been scared to talk to him. In that time, he was like a stranger to me.


o My dad, Ramon, has a similar personality. My dad works hard everyday and often comes home late from work. Then he starts drinking acting like my Uncle Salvador. My dad knows how to defend himself by using words, but he doesn’t like to physically fight.


o Everyday, I new I had to be strong–but as night would fall, the yelling would begin.


o My fear at home developed into anxiety and shyness at school. I began to think that all people were the same as my dad and uncle. I was afraid to talk to other people, even my other family members. I only talked to my mom and my sister.


o I remember, one morning my mom woke me and my sister up early to take us to our first day of preschool. When we got there, we saw a big place filled with toys, alphabet letters, small tables, a play house and rhyming words. I saw the toys calling out to me.


Luckily, my mom kindly told me, “Go ahead and play while I’m here talking with the lady.”
I softly said, “Okay.”

I went to play with some mini wooden blocks. While I was playing, I saw my mom leaving. The lady who my mom was talking to was a teacher. She took me to her class and I was frightened.

The teacher excitedly asked me, “What’s your name!”

I didn’t answer. I was scared. I thought that if I spoke, they would laugh at me just like my uncle. I didn’t know anybody. My mom left us there and my twin sister was in another class, so I was alone. I heard the other kids making fun of me for not speaking.

Later on, the teacher took us outside to play. I went far away to play by myself, but the other kids began following me. They wouldn’t leave me alone.

They rudely asked me, “What is your name? What happened? Can’t you speak?”

I didn’t know what to do. They began pushing me. I didn’t want to play because I was scared. I was just wanted to sit on the bench watching the other kids play.

Everyday, at school would be the same thing. I didn’t want to play because I was scared. I was sitting on the bench watching the other kids play. When the other kids would tease me, I wouldn’t defend myself. They would disrespectfully tell me what to do, saying, “Get out of here! Give me that!” Every time there was a field trip, my mom would let me stay home because she knew that if I went on the field trip they would beat me up. My mom would tell us to speak up and stop being scared, but I couldn’t.

I felt like I didn’t belong at school. I was scared to talk to the other kids because they would bullied me. I didn’t have any confidence in myself. I felt like the ugly duckling, not fitting in anywhere. When I began kindergarten it was the same. I wouldn’t speak at all and there were even more people that I didn’t know. I had a few friends, but the others would just call me names. My teacher would ask my mom, “Why doesn’t Lorena speak?”

When I began 1st grade, I made a lot of friends who cared about me at school. I started whispering. Every time I needed help, my friends would always help me. One of my friends asked me curiously, “Why do you whisper?” I still didn’t want to say anything.

When I started 2nd grade, my teacher told me to speak up because she wanted to hear my voice. I knew that if I wanted people to stop calling me names or asking me questions, I need to speak, so I tried.

One morning, a lady knocked on the classroom door. Her name was Sarah. She was a skinny lady with short, straight charcoal hair. She asked for me and she took me to an empty room with a table. She nicely asked me questions about my personal life and how I was doing in school. I mentioned a few things about my dad and my uncle.

Every time I was with her, I felt like everything was going to be okay. I would tell her what was really going on at home, things I would never tell my friends. She would give me advice about what to do. I trusted her. She helped me to separate school problems from home problems and to speak up more often.

By the time, I got to 6th grade, my uncle had moved away. Everything got better in school. I wasn’t scared anymore, I had more confidence, and I would participate more in class. Eventually, I stopped going to therapy because I didn’t need it anymore. I was glad it was over.

To conclude, I learned that I shouldn’t let my uncle affect me because I shouldn’t have to be afraid of anyone. To those people who feel shy and insecure, don’t let it stand in your way because if I could face a challenge, you can too.





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