A few weeks ago I spoke at an orientation for incoming high school students from Take Stock in Children. I’m not a big fan of public speaking, but somehow it came off fairly easily, because I was able to talk about something that I believe in. Writing is no different really. If my heart is in it, I can write. I can generally write better than I speak. You know how you always think of the perfect comeback after you’ve left the scene? Well, that is me – and that is why writing is a better venue for my words. It gives me time to think.
Armed with a few index cards of notes, I got up and spoke about being the real you. Easier said than done for a teenager, I realize. I know many adults who are still too self-conscious to allow themselves to follow their own hearts. But where would we all be if we worried about what others are thinking all the time? I am grateful every day that I finally had the nerve to sit down and write my book. I’m reminded of a great time in my life of which many of the stories in my book are generated. More so, I am thrilled that I was able to speak about something I believe in – being an individual.
I stood in that auditorium on Saturday morning and told a room full of teenagers and their parents to not allow other peoples odd looks deter them from getting the education they deserve. Don’t be afraid to take that next step. Ask a teacher why or how, I pleaded. Don’t worry about what the other girls are wearing or what backpacks they carry. Be an individual, I screamed….or at least I wanted to. I don’t know if I made an impression on any of them, but I do know the words came as easily as they come when I tell my own three kids the same thing. If you are true to yourself, then you will forever be the perfect you. No one else can do that.