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Many times people in my life have said to me that I must love the sound of my own voice, or that I just like to hear the wind blow, and that I would talk until my lips turned blue. All true things of course; I think my voice is splendid, and listening to the wind is calming, and I do tend to talk more when I am cold though I am not sure what the correlation is. There have been many times that people tune me out whilst I am spinning another tale, people who should at least be better at pretending they are interested in my newest details. I used to really struggle when I was younger, specifically in my tweens, with how much I talk. I decided at that point to adopt a relative vow of silence, or at least comparative silence.

I reverted to one word answers, to tossing my proclamations out the window, and to shying away when people talked to me. I remember always carrying a bag with two books and a coloring sheet in it for the off chance that wherever we were going would not take long enough for me to do all of those activities because I could not risk having to talk to people using more than two words max. Talking so little that people still ordered my food for me, or raised their hand in class for me, or went up to the cash register for me, even at the age of thirteen and fourteen. Growing up in a large, loud, opinionated family, on both sides of my parentage, no one really noticed this drastic change in character because I just sank down into the chaos that always ensued Sunday lunch with the family, hiding behind the political debate reenactments and football rivalries. I shoveled my face full of italian beef sandwiches and barbecue chips before I would hurriedly run to the corner and plant my nose in my book, my weekly routine. When I entered high school, I was so nervous to even call people by their names that I resorted to avoiding name usage by any means possible. My mom encouraged me to join as many extracurriculars as possible, with a promise that I could quit after freshman year if I absolutely hated it. But I did not. I met some of my best friends, and I learned to love new things, and most importantly I was talking casually again. I gradually began to leave my room, I quit keeping my stories to myself, and I uncharacteristically forgot to pack an extra book for emergencies. My mom’s perceived betrayal of my vow of silence was ultimately the push I needed to expand into the person I am now. I would not have become the self-confident, slightly narcissistic, bubbly babbling baboon that I am. Now I make a point to give my parents, and anyone that will listen, a daily report on the events that have occured within the previous twenty-four hours of my existence because I never want to go back to the quiet kid in the corner with so much to say.

© Carly Williams . All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team and we can put you in touch with the author’s teacher.