The calm before the humidity…a sweaty outbreak of loss of faith; entwined with the bleak stares of many faces forming a wall of hot matter hitting my face. The force must have been so strong, I just stood there in shock before welling up, unable to breathe.
This had happened once before, a long time ago when I was younger still.
The inability to speak, as if someone had stolen my voice. I would have dreams as such: a faceless figure running away with my thoughts. Nobody could stop it. Could they even see it? Unable to call for help I would sink into a suffocating blanket of cling film. Do I have a voice?
That sinking feeling when you have to repeat something you dread, but this is something I could have avoided, If only I had a voice.
Not only did I have to repeat my compulsory oral exam, but now everyone knew that I was the girl that didn’t speak. Still, they urged me on. Still, I asked that they fail me- anything would be better than talking in front of people. And once before the same story: A play without a narrator. Misery.
Through the tears and unwillingness, a thought: If I pass, I would not have to repeat. So, I started working on what to say. I started practicing and repeating. Another thought: Why settle for less, I know what I’m going to say, why not aim to improve it?
The moment came: Exam day… again.
The anxiety building. I touch the wall to ground myself. The first word comes out…a bit rocky, but now I’ve started. I know what I’m going to say, I meet their eyes with smiles, and shakily work up into a rhythm. After it’s all over, a standing ovation. Congratulations, an A*.
After my GCSE’s I began to explore my voice, I had strong opinions about things that needed change, I knew like-minded people that could help make these changes. Now that I found my voice, I had a new found confidence. By this time, I had learnt, what happens when you fail: Nothing. Nothing at all. The only way out was to try again. I lead charity groups; I lead eco-meetings; I became head girl at my school by student vote and an invoking speech and I sang for the Mayor of Manchester. Nine years later, I Rank number one on my Prevention case presentation, a small feat some may say, but not for me. I have a voice, and people listen. I am no longer afraid about passing or failing, instead, I am obsessed with trying. I battled fear, and on this platform of regulated opinions, mark schemes and hierarchy, I am not afraid to speak out. Because I know that I can help build, create and motivate. I can improve, inspire and initiate.
I have a voice, and you do too. Don’t let fear take your voice, because the tongue can paint what the eyes can’t see.