As a timid thirteen-year-old, shuffling down the hallways of my middle school trying to melt into the crowd, I thought I would never be confident. If my socks were a different brand from my shoes, I would spend the entire day trying to keep my feet out of sight. In the gym locker room, I was terrified of someone seeing me and making fun of my bra or something, so I pulled my shirt on so quickly that I twisted my neck and had to see a chiropractor about it. Day-to-day conversations were torture. At summer camps, I would avoid eye contact and sit on the corner of my bed, journaling about feeling left-out and abandoned.
The other day, after French class, I realized once again how much confidence I’ve gained. See, I had to recite a poem, so I dressed up as a knight for extra credit. After I finished, I thought, hey, why don’t I just wear this the rest of the day? So I did. I walked the hallways of my high school dressed up as a knight (or rather, a cross between a knight and a Roman soldier, because my costume did not match). I got strange looks. People asked me about it. But I felt amazing. Why? Because it was the culmination of my confidence. It made me smile that the girl who couldn’t even wear Nike socks with Adidas shoes was now dressed up in a child-sized knight helmet.
To all you timid thirteen-year-olds out there: don’t lose hope. You won’t be afraid forever.