Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Turning Point...

Back in eleventh grade of high school, I was the new kid. There I sat in English class, front and right-justified near the classroom door, with a dream to have a group of girls circle around me to ask me my name, to ask who did my hair, to dig further and ask where I bought my new jeans. Instead, I watched in horror as the strangers sidestepped me and carried on without me as if I were nothing more than another desk that sprouted up overnight. Class started several minutes late, and by this time, my throat had dried up, my confidence had shattered, my ego deflated to a mere lining. Then, because of my ill-thought out decision to sit at the head of the very first row, my new teacher asked me to open up the reading. There I sat, book in hand, ready to make my debut and instead of my voice smoothing out, some strange, labored breaths cranked and wrestled my words. My heart raced like a bucking bronco, my hands convulsed into fit of trembles, and for the love of God, I forgot how to read.

A panic attack. I looked to my teacher for rescue and he just stared at me, perplexed, eyes squinting, mouth agape. I wanted to punch him. Finally, the girl sitting directly behind me saved me by picking up where my words garbled and seamlessly serenaded the class with her beautiful, calm reassured voice. That girl became one of my best high school friends, and unknowingly years later, became my inspiration for majoring in public speaking as a college undergrad.

Challenges don’t plow us over to weaken us. They do so to help us grow.

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