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In the spring of 2008, I was called annoying and loud. My voice, apparently, could be heard for miles and in the case of an emergency, I would be the first one discovered by serial killers. My buck teeth did not help as it would only draw out the vowels. Anytime I talked, I would repeatedly be told to shut up by my classmates. When I entered my new school, I decided to be quieter, but a child could only stay quiet for so long. Hanging out with new people, with new personalities was the best option that my parents could think of, but the situation only repeated itself, especially when I thought I could sing. Being laughed off the stage was not one of my best moments, so, in the fall of 2009, I decided to be quieter, to read more instead of being around my peers.

My teachers weren’t any better, thinking I had cheated on my religion exam at the end of the spring semester. It was now 2011, and seventh grade was the worst since the math was getting exceptionally hard. I hated math and had already made up my mind that I was going to be involved with history, and by 2012, eighth grade was the year I decided to keep all the small hurts I had received, the classic jokes by my peers, to myself. And by high school, speaking up or standing up for myself was a pipes dream. In college, as a freshman, I was by myself, and talking to other people with different backgrounds and different forms of speech seemed alien to me. I lost over twenty pounds, a bit on the scary side for an already skinny girl, and only my mother gasped when she saw me as I was coming home.

Not really knowing what to say or how to react made me feel more alone than I already was, and by the time I had gotten over that feeling I had unknowingly pushed everyone away. Now in 2018 of my junior year, I say this to any reader who feels as socially awkward as I do: it is okay to feel this way. In fact, it is not only okay to feel it, but you’ll find that you’re not the only one who does. Don’t do as I did, by keeping everything to myself and let it boil down until you confront it at night.

At night, I suppose was the worst, confronting those events and thinking incessantly about what I could have done differently. If I could have moved my shin back before I was kicked, which left a dark mark. If I could be more clever with my words instead of stuttering. If I didn’t cry as often.

I inspire to become the little girl I once was, instead of the quiet, shy and insecure girl they forced me to be. It won’t be easy of course, because talking to anyone, a friend or a loved one never is. But trusting that person and seeing that they are going through the same struggles as I am is one the greatest common traits of the human race. So even if you aren’t like me, or you are and you’re trying to get by, I advise support from your friends or your loved ones. Everyone needs to break the surface of those thoughts that barrel you when you meet new people and say: “Hi, my name is Arielle, what’s yours?’’

Arielle Canate is a junior at Wells College. She loves anthropology, American Horror Story, films and books. Hobbies include: Mythology (any one), Marvel comics, music, and makeup
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