His name was Christopher. And, every day he was sure to greet me by pinching my skin and stealing my pencils and various school supplies from inside my desk. I would squint my eyes and glare back at him, but I never said a word.
Kindergarten – 2nd grade
Some days it was more than Christopher pinching me and stealing my belongings. Sometimes other classmates joined in on the fun at my expense. I understood that they were just trying to react by talking at best. But, for some reason I never said a word. Not even in self-defense.
Most kids looked forward to recess after lunch, but I never did. That was because Christopher would chase me around the playground, until he’d catch me and pinch me. The few times he caught me, it it was because I’d trip and fall. Every now and then a teacher on lunch duty would finally notice and reprimand him. But, that never put a definite stop to it. And, per usual, I didn’t say word so I had the next day to look forward to the same torture. Many days I went home with scraped knees and bruised elbows. The most I would do to stand up for myself was to run away, attempt to take back my belongings from the inside of Christopher’s desk when he wasn’t watching and to shove him off of me when he got too close. Oh! And to glare with all my might, of course.
To this day, I cannot tell you why I never said a word. It was one thing to be shy, but another to not even open my mouth and alert my teachers of what was going on. Instead of standing up for myself, I kept my mouth shut. And, at one point, my teachers held discussions with my mom about special education classes as an option for me. Although I did not talk on school grounds for years, I was not mute. And, I actually excelled in my studies so, I was never put in Special Ed classes.
I got a fresh start when I reached 3rd grade. My family and I moved to central Phoenix and there I started 3rd grade at a new school. And, guess what! I finally started to talk. Very little. But, at least I bothered to respond when spoken to.
When I got to middle school, I dreaded lunch breaks because I was always alone. I didn’t make any friends. Not until junior high school. In 6th grade I finally made a friend. Her name was Elizabeth. And like me, she was quiet and didn’t hang out with anyone before school or at lunch. We had a few classes together and by default we were often paired together for projects when the teachers let us choose our partners. Neither of us had anyone else soo.. a friendship began to blossom. Outside of answering questions when called upon and reading aloud when it was my turn.. She was the only person I would talk to while at school.
I also didn’t like my voice. I did not like hearing recordings of myself, because I thought I sounded like a boy.
During 7th and 8th grade, I still didn’t have many friends, but things were much better for me. Those days, choir and band became a huge part of my life and I finally began to feel less like an outcast and more like I’d found somewhere I belonged.
I didn’t begin to come out of my shell until high school. I was a loyal member of choir and band all throughout high school and even college. I found a place where I could blend in and be myself.
But it was my junior year of high school that really changed my life. That was a great year for us during marching band season. For the first time we went to competition and ranked. But, that wasn’t the gamechanger for me. It was the day I wrote a poem for a class assignment and won a spot to perform on stage. In preparation for the event, myself and other students from around the valley gathered and.. The details of what happened that day is a blurr this moment.. The moment I was introduced to the art of spoken word poetry. That was the day I found an art form that would allow me to express myself in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Sevan (Apollo Poetry) performed two of his poems, Alphabet Poem and Heart. I was instantly mesmerized by the rhymes, rhythm and flow. I fell in love with spoken word poetry; the definition of painting pictures with words.
I began to write and perform spoken word poetry. I found my voice. I found courage to express myself; to say all of the things I’d once been too afraid to say. For all the days, as I child, that I’d refused to open my mouth and speak..
For years, I wondered why I was the way that I was. It was like there was an invisible muzzle, disabling me from speaking and being myself. And, even when I began to come out of my shell and make a few friends, even then, I never really fit in. Sure I blended in, when we had things in common, but I’ve always been a misfit.
To this day, even knowing and being confident in who God has created me to be, I still identify as a misfit. I’ve always felt like the odd one out.
Often, I think about all the times I’ve felt invisible and forgotten. Always on the outside looking in. There have been a couple times in my life where I contemplated suicide. I felt as if no one would notice that I was gone, so why not just disappear? I figured if anyone really cared, they would have noticed or reached out. I didn’t go to anyone for help, because I did not want to be a burden. The most recent time I battled with suicidal ideation was when I was dating my ex-boyfriend. Even he didn’t notice how depressed I’d been. That reality, sent me spiraling. I couldn’t wrap my mind around how someone so close to me couldn’t see how much mental and emotional turmoil I was in. But I thank God, I’m still here!
I’m still here to share my story. I’m still here to use the voice that God gave me.
I had no idea that the way I was and everything that I was experiencing was for a purpose. On the surface, it doesn’t make sense. But over the years, God has revealed piece by piece, the puzzle of who he has created me to be and what he has created me for. He has shown me my purpose. Even the reason why I was so shy and why I always felt like the odd one out.
So, if you have been wondering why you’ve had to face certain challenges in life and if you’ve ever wondered what your purpose in life is.. If you’ve been wondering how and why you’ve survived the bullying, the abuse, the betrayals, the disappointments, the health scares.. I’m here to tell you that it was all for a purpose. And, when it doesn’t make sense, that’s because it’s bigger than you.
There is purpose attached to your life. The challenges we face in life are meant to prepare and position us to fulfill that purpose. We may lose some friends along the way. We may miss out on some opportunities along the way. That’s because everyone can’t go where you are destined to go. Every open door is not meant for you to walk through.
There is magic on the inside of you. And when I say magic, I mean something there is something unique! Something that can be imitated, but cannot be duplicated. Something that makes you different. Something that makes you stand out from everyone else. Embrace the magic that is on the inside of you. Embrace your story and share it with the world. Someone is need of what you have to offer. Someone’s breakthrough is dependent on your ability to use the gift God has given you.
The poetry I write. The words I speak. It’s meant to do these things: uplift and empower. I understand that everything I’ve gone through was for a purpose. There was even a purpose and blessing in my shyness and loneliness. And honestly, because I am still here, I refuse to let what I have been through and overcome be in vain.
“You have something special. You have greatness within you. You have something no one else has.” He even goes on to say, “You have the ability to do more than you can ever begin to imagine.”
– Les Brown
Remember who you are and embrace it.