In my school’s yearbook, there’s a superlative for “Most Memorable”. If there were one for “Least Memorable”, I would take the cake for sure.
I knew it had been happening all 4 years of high school, and perhaps all my life, but I really do just drift by wherever I go. I never go out of my way to make an impression, or add an input, or start a conversation, and that has led to me not having deep connections with the majority of people in my life. This especially pertains to people who are not same-aged peers at my school.
At work, I’m quiet. The most someone could describe me as is nice. When I received a customized letter from my teacher, it was filled with generic greeting card statements about how I am a “hard worker” and “quiet but observant”. At my orchestra senior banquet, as I was called onto stage to hear my personalized superlative, I got the “etiquette” award. After 4 years of having an orchestra teacher, the most she could say about me was that I was nice.
I know that it’s okay to not be comfortable reaching out to people to make connections. Going out of my way to establish relationships is not an easy thing for me, and I know it’ll get better over time. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t sting to see others be praised and lauded by respected adults who couldn’t say one unique thing about me if they tried. It still hurts when I can never be the creative one, the shining star, the one who they know is destined for glory.
I want to make something of myself. I want to be the kind of person who others look at and think, she will do something great with her time on this planet. I don’t want to be the quiet nice girl in the corner who follows the rules and absorbs others like a sponge. I want to be recognized as an individual who has valuable thoughts in her mind, that wants to make a difference. And yes, I already do have a pretty great head on my shoulders. But what use is it if it never leaves my head, to be shared with the world?
I’m going to college this fall. If I continue to be passive to the world around me, and passive to my education, I will never achieve success. Yes, I’ll get a degree, and I’ll get a job eventually. But I don’t want to be just another worker in the world, making the cogs spin smoothly in the factory of our lives. Call me selfish, but for once I just want to be more than a mere piece of the game. I want to be one of the main characters; the action figure everyone fights over to have. (Have I used one too many metaphors yet? No?)
It may be a superficial dream of mine that I’ve had since I was a child, but I sincerely do want to be acknowledged by others. It’s a vain thing indeed, but my self-confidence is raised not only when I do something great, but when others recognize that it was great. I have yet to achieve self-actualization, but you know, that’s okay. At least I can admit to myself
and to strangers on the internet that hey, being lauded does feel great, and just because I feel that way doesn’t make me a bad person. It would also help to learn to accept praise from friends, even though I know they say nice things just because they’re pretending to like me they want me to feel better.
So, here’s to trying harder to not be afraid to be heard. To speak confidently, even though I might be wrong at times. To not be embarrassed when I make a fool of myself, because at least I stood up.
Hi there. My name is Shilpa. And don’t you forget it.