Quiet

It was the same every year.

My parents came back from teacher conferences.

They told me,

“Your teacher said she is a good student, but she is just too quiet! She would be an even better student if she talked more!’”

I shut down.

I quit.

The quiet quitter.

I feel bad for her.

I’m angry at her teachers

for telling her that who she was wasn’t good enough,

that she had to speak when she didn’t want to,

that her way of learning,

listening,

wasn’t how she should learn.

All she wanted to do was impress her teachers.

She loved her teachers.

Always looked up to them,

but now she knew the truth.

She was too quiet for them.

They would never look at her how they would at the other students.

So she wallowed in sadness and guilt.

Guilt about the fact that she

was different than other people.

Guilt about the fact that she

didn’t want to talk in class.

So much guilt.

So much disappointment.

Another year rolled around.

She thought,

I’m going to participate!

I’m going to make my teachers happy!

I’m going to be someone I’m not!

But she couldn’t,

and for days on end

she would wonder,

Why can’t I do it?

Why can’t I participate?

Why can’t I be someone I’m not?

Then came teacher conferences.

“Your teacher said she is a good student, but she is just too quiet! She would be an even better student if she talked more!’”

And she would wallow,

disappointed in herself

because she wasn’t like everyone else.

That’s how every year went.

“Your teacher said she is a good student, but she is just too quiet! She would be an even better student if she talked more!’”

Well guess what?

I know I’m quiet.

I know I don’t participate,

but that doesn’t make me any less of a student than him or her.

That doesn’t mean I can’t be preferred.

That doesn’t make me a lesser person.

To all the teachers who told me I was “too quiet”:

Screw you.

You told me my best wasn’t good enough, you see.

You told me who I am wasn’t who I was supposed to be.

You made me question who I am and why I am this way.

To you, there’s just one thing I’ve gotta say:

I know better.

I know that I am more than the number of words that come out of my mouth.

I am more than the number of times my hand shoots up in the air.

I am not defined by how much I open my mouth,

but by the quality of what comes out.

I am a person

who is not wrong for being quiet.

Now here I am, starting a riot

because you need to know

I am not wrong for being myself.

How dare you try to tell me otherwise.