I believe that not caring about what others think about you is the first step of being you.
As a kid, I never really had much thoughts about what others thought of me. I was a very open-minded kid. I would say and do anything I wanted and I felt like there weren’t any consequences behind it. I was more or less a devil child.
Growing up, however, was a little different. I was born and raised in the Philippines for 9 years and moved here about 8 years ago. The new world excited me. It was so much different and so much more beautiful. This feeling of euphoria didn’t quite last long, however, as I got into school.
I was made fun of the first few years of living in the new world. They made fun of the way I talked, dressed, acted. The biggest was my accent. I remember back in elementary school when we would have reading sessions; as it was my turn to read, the other students would already start giggling. This went on for a while, until I decided to stop speaking my native language to get rid of my accent.
8th grade was when I stopped speaking my native language. Over the years, my accent slowly went away. I tried really hard to get rid of my accent. I practiced saying words over and over again just to be able to say it right. Again, this went on for while until I had gotten to where I am now. I still have a bit of an accent, but many can’t really hear it. Others would be surprised if I told I was born and raised in the Philippines for a pretty long time because I “did not have an accent.” At this point in time, I was very happy. The days of getting made fun of were finally over, I thought. But that wasn’t the case.
My family had noticed that I stopped speaking my native language. My parents, especially. They were disappointed at me when I told them the reason why. They still are. Sometimes, my mom would beg for me to start speaking my native language again. But at this point, I’ve lost most of my accent. I sound foreign whenever I try to speak my native language. It stopped feeling “right.”
Overtime, I started to feel guilty about what I had done. Many people, upon hearing my story, shook their heads in disappointment. As I looked back at it, I started to shake my own head. I had changed myself. I’ve made a terrible mistake of letting others change who I am, because I was afraid and tired of getting made fun of. Because of this, I’ve realized that I shouldn’t let others’ thoughts affect the way I live. This I believe