What We Don’t Do


I feel that I am a reserved person by nature. Ninety-nine percent of the time I refrain from saying what I wish to say to people. I have always been shy and still am. Even though the impression I leave on people is the opposite.

I have always loved poetry and literature, and when I was a teenager, whenever there was a celebration, a gathering of some sort or an activity in our school or village, I was called upon to read or recite a poem in front of an audience. Standing in front of so many people and reading or reciting a poem didn’t bother me at all and I loved every minute of it. But what I found hard to do was to stand in front of one person and speak my heart out.

When it comes to saying what I feel or want I am a coward. As a young girl I have been bullied a lot, called the teacher’s pet and many other things and I have never stood up for myself. I remember this one time, when I was in grade eight, the first day of classes. I was wearing my school uniform, which had changed that year, when one of the teachers asked me to stand in front of the whole class. Surprised I stood up. He then asked me to turn around in front of everyone, so “they can have a look at the new uniform.” That’s what he said. At first I thought I heard wrong. But then when I realized he was serious, I felt my heart beat in my chest. I felt humiliated and angry. Why me, I thought, when everyone else in the class was wearing the new uniform, but I couldn’t bring myself to say anything. My head bent I turned around. I could feel my classmates looking at me, I could hear them giggle and even laugh. I didn’t know for how long I stood there. All I can remember from the rest of that day is sitting with my hands wrapped around my head on my desk.

It hurts till now to even think about that day. It hurts mainly because I didn’t do anything to stop the humiliation.

Molière wrote:

“It is not only for what we do that we are held responsible, but also for what we don’t do.”

I don’t think I have changed much over the years. I still lack the courage to speak my heart out, but one thing I have learned to do is to avoid putting myself in such awkward situations.

ChK

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5 Responses to What We Don’t Do

  1. Great quote by Moliere!

  2. I, too, was a very self-conscious teen, so I feel and understand the pain of being made an example, like that. Since I started writing and have been asked to speak bout my writing, I have found a renewed confidence – as long as I talk about writing. If I have my ‘teacher’s hat’ on and I am prepared to speak on a particular topic I can do it, no problem. When it comes to being put on the spot, I still don’t like standing up in a crowd of my peers because I suddenly feel like I’m back in high school – tongue-tied, self-conscious, wondering what people are thinking about me and hoping I measure up to the standards they expect of me.

    Would it bother you very much if I nominate you for the Booker Award? I’d like to pass it along to you because of all the great quotes you put in your posts by other writers. It might mean a bit more attention, but I hope it will be the good kind. :)

  3. It’s not easy to speak your heart out, but if you help someone else by speaking your mind, then you both benefit. You have such a wonderful way with words, I am in awe.

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