By Laura Vettleson-Trutza
As quoted in one of my favorite songs, “ I am not a Robot” by Marina and the Diamonds, “It’s better to be hated than loved for what you’re not.” When I was young, I was very shy around others. I wouldn’t talk or interact with anyone. I was known by others as the really quiet, yet nice one. At home, however, I was definitely not quiet. I seemed to share a similar personality to my older sister, being energetic, crazy and loved to have fun. Most people never saw this side of me and it was a part of me I never liked to show anyone. I don’t know why, I guess I felt insecure about it and feared people would think differently of me. Even if I wanted to, it was hard for me because I was mostly afraid of coming off as awkward, and that is a shy person’s worst nightmare, or at least mine. It wouldn’t be until about the seventh grade when I could finally start chipping away at my chains and start showing my true self. It was hard at first, but overtime it got easier, and it no longer felt as though I was wearing a mask in front of people. Soon I was no longer known as “quiet.”
What I had learned over the course of my years is that you should never be afraid to express yourself. As soon as you start censoring yourself from the world, you feel like a lie to others or just really out of place. There isn’t much you can do to alter yourself, so why try to hide or change it when it’s you. Life already likes to kick you in the knee here and there, so why give yourself more things to worry about.
Sometimes it can be scary to step out of shadows and into the light. Many are afraid what will happen to them, whether people will hate them or be cast away as trash. I see it all the time from people. They hide their true selves in fear of others’ judgements and possible backlash others could give them. As a lyric in one of Bo Burnham’s more controversial song titles, “Sticks and Stones can break your bones, but words can break your heart.” This is true for many people. However, despite how powerful or painful someone’s words are, you have to learn to ignore them. I know for some, including myself, it’s easier said than done, but as cliche as it sounds, it’s true. The best way to achieve this is learning yourself and figuring out what makes you happy. What makes you, you. Once you figure this out, you may soon realize that others’ judgments don’t matter. Let them judge you, but when it comes down to it, the only one who can truly judge you is yourself. Everyone else’s perception of you doesn’t matter.
Always remember to love yourself and feel free to express who you are. Even if you come off awkward at first, it’s okay because we all cause an awkward situation at some point in our lives.
Laura Vettleson-Trutza is a student at Mabel-Canton High School. She is one of seven area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 19th year.