As a child, I was very talkative and extremely friendly. At the age of two, my mother said that I was an “eloquent” speaker for my age. I used full sentences to express my wants and needs. Many were impressed with my advanced vocal skills as a toddler and commended me for my communication abilities. I loved to talk to people. Anyone who would listen to me was worthy of my conversation. Before my sister was born, I can vaguely recall sitting in the backseat of my mother’s car, swinging my legs and chattering away about everything that caught my eye on the way to our destination. We came to a stop sign. “S-T-O-P. Stop.” I’d say. My mom glanced in the rearview mirror and smiled.
In middle school, my talking got me in quite a bit of trouble. When I was in eighth grade, I had a few of classes with my friends. Although we were seated away from each other, we found creative ways to talk to each other. Passing clever notes when the teacher’s back was turned, inventing crude sign language that we weren’t sure we understood or we would intentionally break out pencils so that we could get up to sharpen them and talk. Our teacher would try to separate us, but despite her best efforts, we always found a way. I spent most of my time in the office that year. The principal grew tired of me and sent me to the in-school suspension classroom. I would sit in a room full of other deemed “troublemakers” with our desks faced to the wall, while a teacher made sure we remained on task. I’d mutter curse words and threats in retaliation, but was ignored.
In high school, I was very vocal about my opinions, especially to my teachers. It caused quite a controversy between my division principal and my mother. My mother didn’t understand what I was in trouble for exactly. I am a very avid learner and I like to ask questions. I want to know everything. My questions and comments often challenged teachers and they grew irritated with me. There are no stupid questions, but my teachers made it seem as if they were by giving stupid answers. I can recall an instance where my chemistry teacher called me out for talking in class. I was talking to the boy next to me about the material we were learning. He was having trouble understanding it. She asked me to answer a question, “What is an example of a chemical change that occurs in the body?”
“Getting fat.” I said.
“Get out!” she screamed.
I fiercely picked up my stuff and walked out of her classroom, unabashed by her outburst. I wasn’t exactly sure what upset her. She wasn’t a heavy-set woman.
I have found myself more silent these days. Most of this week, I have spent my time at the library at my school. I hope to expose myself by meeting new people and making some friends in Nevada. I thought that this would be a perfect time since it is the first week of classes, which means that it’s a welcoming time for new students. I usually sit in my favorite section of the library with individual study tables, right near the window that overlooks the Strip. People come and go, but no one sits near me. They seem to know someone when they walk in and make way for a waving friend. There are a few people who wander in on their own but sit a few yards away from me. I think to myself, maybe I should give a smile or maybe I should say hi. They are quite far. Loneliness sets in so I bury my nose in a book and try to get the day’s homework assignment completed. I want to initiate conversation with someone, but what do I say? I usually know what to say, but my mind is blank.
The once talkative girl I knew is beginning to become overshadowed by shyness. It was never there before, but maybe it was all along. I have never been a shy person, but why am I now? It has finally set in, I don’t have anyone to talk to. This was my former teachers wished to happen. To silence the talkative girl, you have to isolate her.