I was a quiet kid. Funny introduction coming from a professional talker, but it’s true. When I was in gradeschool, my classmates played in the sunshine and dust, screaming their lungs out. I stayed in the classroom reading, exploring the endless but harmless bounds of my imagination. Unable to breach the cozy confines of my shell, I learned how to entertain myself with whatever I had at my disposal. Two-hour ride home in the school bus? No problem. I had a book. Got left behind in school? Perfect. I had the playground to myself. My shyness led to a natural curiosity, an interest in the world and its workings. I was never bored. In my head, my thoughts were going a mile a minute.
Eventually I underwent a transformation. Over a couple of summers, I joined personal development workshops and gradually became more sure of myself when I spoke. These classes, coupled with the occasional stage performances in which I took part, chipped away at my quiet facade. The thought-soup in my head was now boiling over as I found my voice.
Then came the contests. In hindsight, I'm thankful for my teachers who made me join year after year, though I'm sure I hated it at the time. I won some and I lost some, but what I couldn't have known back then was that I was already building a very useful life skill.
Classes and contests aside, there was one part of my childhood that was essential to my growth as a stage performer. It was so crucial that I believe if I hadn't gone through it, I wouldn't be able to do what I do now.
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