Did They Influence Me?

When I was in fourth grade, I was a huge hunter and a pecker. I had to whisper letters out loud to help me find them on the keyboard. Nobody wanted to work in groups with me, and I was berated for it on multiple occasions. At the end of sixth grade, when I entered the world of the internet, I started becoming familiar with the computer. It became more efficient to type my stories than to write them by hand. I wrote something–anything–every day for the next two years. Then I started a blog. At this point, I type about 100 words per minute, give or take a few.

In seventh grade, on the bus home, one of my friends said that I “made everything boring.” I stared out the window and began to cry. Over the next year, I became so anxious that I couldn’t even talk to anyone. I kept to myself, quietly and miserably, unable to reach out when I needed help. It slowly got better by the spring of eighth grade, but didn’t completely disappear until a few months after I’d met my good friends. As I got comfortable, I became weirder and weirder. My mind quickened, I got in touch with my inner wit, and I let go of some of my inhibitions. Now, boring is the last word I–or anyone close to me, really–would use to describe who I am.

All of this makes me wonder if what people say about us has any bearing on who we end up becoming. Do we subconsciously file away words and conversations that hurt us so that we become what everyone thought we wouldn’t be? Or do we simply bring a match to the depths of our heart, lighting up the dormant wicks of qualities we might not have discovered, but where already there?

Or is there no correlation at all? Some of the things said to me and about me still remain, to an extent, true today. My classmates used to look down on me because I was so sensitive, but I never became tough. Really, I’ve just used my sensitivity for good. I feel others’ pain, I try to be as kind as I can, and I use my emotions to create beauty in this world. Could others’ comments have spurred me on to develop the traits they cut me down for?

Or perhaps they didn’t influence me at all. Maybe I just grew up all on my own, finding my own path, learning how to let others’ opinions blow over and past me like the wind.

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