The differences were extreme when I was 13 but by the time I was 17 and beginning my senior year, they weren’t as apparent. I had grown accustomed to my body and more aware of my personality. I was always surprised to be considered one of the popular girls. I believe I gained the distinction because I was kind and aware of what others were experiencing. Because of my family life and struggles, I looked to see how I could help others, especially the younger children, get through what adults assumed were simply every day challenges.
For some however, the challenges would be life-long. If my English teacher Mrs. Lemos hadn’t kept me after to school to read Shakespeare while holding my tongue to break my habit of stuttering, I would have had a life time of feeling ill at ease and would not have challenged myself to become a speaker. I can’t imagine my life without being a speaker now.
How many children never achieve their potential because of a comment of a peer judging them for the way they talked or walked or dressed? Boys might have had thicker skins when it came to such comments, but girls took on the judgement if they weren’t raised with high levels of self-esteem. In the 60’s, I’m not sure parents even were aware of the value of teaching their children self-esteem. At least today, most parents are more aware.