“Oooh ooh oooh, pick me, pick me, pick me! I know, I know!” I was “that kid”. My little fingers would always reach to the sky during class, asking the first thing that popped into my mind and never hesitating to answer a question. In elementary school, teachers always told my parents that I was extremely outgoing and passionate; their only worry was that I didn’t have the patience to raise my hand before answering a question.
Slowly, outgoing became “too loud” and passionate became “too annoying”. I now paid attention to the snickers that followed a question out of curiosity or when someone would roll their eyes when I answered another question. I always wanted to sit front and center in a class to participate and pay attention, but now in high school, I tend to sit in the back of class, hoping to fade into the background and not get noticed.
I used to be this fearless little girl, never afraid to speak her mind or ask questions, but I don’t know where that little girl is anymore. I originally wrote the SQUID Post after visiting my 1st grade teacher who had always encouraged my enthusiasm and eagerness to learn. She reminisced of the our Cinderella play where my microphone went out half way during a play, but no one noticed because I was already so loud without a microphone and another time, when she was 5 minutes late to class, and I already started “teaching” other kids. “I’m sure you’re giving all these AP teachers a run for their money, aren’t you?” I just smiled and nodded because I couldn’t tell her the truth: I wasn’t that brave, outspoken little girl anymore.
In a blog by journalist and speaker Warren Berger, he discusses this idea with Richard Saul Wurmen who delivers some helpful insight: “In school, we’re rewarded for having the answer, not for asking a good question”. This is somewhat true, but this isn’t the entire reason why I’ve changed. Like in Mr. Z’s class, I know that Mr. Z never hesitates to answer any question that a student may have, but I don’t want to be known as “that kid”.
Change is a part of life, but I’ve lost a part of who i am in the midst of change. As I’ve grown older, I’ve started to care more about what others think.
I hate that sometimes I’m afraid to speak out. I hate that I can’t wear whatever I want to wear without the fear of looking weird. I hate that I don’t ask questions because I’m scared that it will be a “dumb question”. I hate that I’ve sacrificed being me in fear of what others thought.
I know insecurities a part of life, but I feel like it’s taken over my life. A lot has
changed. I play safe now. I’d rather be quiet and not speak my mind. But I have to find her again. This isn’t hopeless, sob story. This isn’t the end for me. I’ll find that bubbly, loud but proud, outspoken little girl again.