I used to be the girl in the back of the room with her head down, hair covering her eyes, and lips sealed tight. I used to be the girl who would stutter so much when she spoke to others that her words were almost incoherent. I used to be the girl who didn’t have a voice, too scared that she would be mocked, laughed at, and rejected.
I used to be the girl with very few friends, for I didn’t like interacting much with anyone. I used to be the girl who couldn’t trust anyone, who thought that no one really cared. I used to be the girl who closed herself to everyone, too afraid to open herself up, too afraid to be hurt.
I used to think I that I couldn’t do anything, that I wasn’t powerful enough to do anything. I used to be the girl who thought that no one believed in her. I used to be the girl who didn’t even believe in herself.
But I am no longer that girl.
I am no longer the girl who talked to people’s feet when they spoke to her. I am no longer the girl who walks with her eyes trained on the floor, never looking up, because she is afraid to trip and fall. I am no longer the girl with the sealed lips and the closed heart.
I have learned to open myself up to the world, to jump and fall, and trust that someone will be there at the bottom to catch me. I have learned that I have a voice, and that there are people out there who will listen. I have learned that I am not alone in this world.
Now I am the girl who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, who isn’t afraid to hold her head high, who isn’t afraid to show herself to the world. I am the girl who can look others in the eye, who can trust that they will be kind. I am the girl who pursues her passions, her dreams, without a care about what anyone else thinks. I am the girl who believes in herself.
Sometimes, though, I go back to the girl I used to be. I go back to being scared: scared of the uncertain, scared of the unknown. I go back to thinking that perhaps my voice doesn’t really matter, that perhaps it isn’t as powerful as I had been lead to believe. I go back to the back of the room, with her head down, hair covering her eyes, and lips sealed tight.
But at least now I know that I will always be able to find my way out again.