Don’t let them in, don’t let them see.

Be the good girl you always have to be.

Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.

This popular song summarizes how many people feel today. The image we project is the one people judge us on. We are judged harshly every day by many people, despite the fact that few of us are comfortable in our own skin. My business somehow becomes everyone’s business. Gossip, rumor and cliquish behavior funnel me toward hiding anything that would make me stand out in the crowd.

When the days are cold

And the cards all fold

And the saints we see

Are all made of gold

The people who do the best at projecting a likeable image become our heroes. These can be our peers, our teachers, entertainers, musicians and sportsmen. For at least a short period of time when we first identify these people as having something we feel would want, we talk about them. We try to get close to them, hoping some of their gold will rub off on us. It’s lonely when you’re not in. I became part of several groups, hoping that not only would the group popularity bring me closer to gold, but also that the other participants would validate me. I needed to be told that I was also made of gold.

The struggles I’m facing

The chances I’m taking

Sometimes might knock me down, but

No I’m not breaking

Self-esteem is something we all struggle with developing. Some people are naturally more confident than others, but the fact remains that we all know we’re being judged. We all know what it’s like to come up short. We all know what it is like to be labeled. Yet, we all do it. Because we know what we’re doing, it’s very hard to believe no one else is judging us. That voice is always there, even when I succeed and achieve my goal. Too many people have told me that I can never be successful; that I can never reach my dreams.

To dream the impossible dream

To fight the unbeatable foe

To bear with unbearable sorrow

To run where the brave dare not go

I started to realize that I needed to walk my own path. I need to find my own gold. Those people who told me I couldn’t or failed to support me as I was growing up had no place in my life. For every teacher who ignored me or shushed my voice, there is one who became my champion. For every person who decided they were better than me, there are five who recognize we’re all in this together. For every adult who wrote me off because I didn’t fit in their box, my desire to walk past them grew stronger. I will dream, I will fight. I will feel. And I will run.

You can be amazing

You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug

You can be the outcast

Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love

Or you can start speaking up

My choices are slowing freeing me to become the person want to be. I am standing up for myself and many others who feel they have no voice. My fear of being a victim of repercussions is fading. I can look in the mirror each morning and accept that while I face many challenges, I am strong. I have much to learn and I am ready to accept that challenge. I know I’ll fall down. I know people will continue to try to tear me down. Unintentionally or purposefully, their words will hurt. Rather than giving up on my dreams, I’ll take that hurt and use it to remind myself that some people are only happy when they are stepping on other people.

You said, remember that life is

Not meant to be wasted

We can always be chasing the sun!

My dream is to help people communicate. Whether it is formal communication or just speaking up for what’s right, people need to be heard. Teenagers need to be heard over the din of their parents’ childhoods. I don’t want to be held back by those who haven’t moved forward in twenty years. We will leave footprints in history, just as those who came before us. The poets, the dreamers, the inventors, the artists…they are my tribe. Our collective voice will lend itself to overcoming the bullies, naysayers and box makers. We will chase the sun and the world will be better for our efforts.

I try my best to get through every day
Without confrontation
Stayin’ out of everybody’s way
But then on occasion
Somebody steps across the line
And it’s not too long before they find


I will not back down
When you push me to the wall
Expecting me to fall
I will not give in
I am not afraid to fight
For what I know is right
I can only take so much
And when I’ve had enough
It’s not in my blood to just lay down
I will hold my ground ~ Darryl Worley

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