I wanted to be invisible. Whenever I was in high school, I did everything I could to go unnoticed amongst the people I had grown up with; the years prior to high school left me so scarred, I didn’t want to ever be looked at again. I wore baggy clothes to hide my body; I wore my hair in a ponytail so people didn’t think I was trying to draw attention to any part of me, even my hair; I never wore makeup so people didn’t think I was trying to impress someone. I did not want to be seen, not even by my teachers. I wanted to be invisible.
And then I reconnected with someone. She was the weirdest person I knew. Not because of how she looked; to me, she looked extraordinarily normal. No, it was the way she put herself out there, how she let people see her. She made it obvious that she didn’t give a single shit about what anyone thought of her; she was comfortable in her own skin and that’s all she was concerned with. We were in choir together, so she knew I loved anything to do with music. She introduced me to the world of theater; our little town had a local theater that put on musicals and other performances a few times a year, and she thought that just auditioning for a show would help bring me out of my shell. I humored her, and I went.
Standing up on a stage, by yourself, with people looking at you and expecting you to perform, is probably the most terrifying thing I could ever experience. I remember standing on that stage, my hands soaked with sweat, my legs shaking, and for the first time in my life, I realized that I was–VERY–stage fright. But I sang. I took a deep breath, told myself I was fine, and I sang. I remember the director smiling at me as he saw my body relax. I remember the feeling of adrenaline coursing through my veins as I walked back into the green room, the look on her face when she knew that I was out of my shell. She knew what I was capable of before I knew.
And here I am. I walk with my shoulders held high, even whenever my mind is battling itself. I fight every day to be the person I was when I was on stage, when I relaxed and belted out the words to a song that I completely forget about now. I don’t need to be invisible anymore. And neither do you.