He was never loud… Almost to a fault, now that I think about it. He was so soft spoken, mostly kept to himself. It was rare to heart him utter a word outside of the classroom. He lacked personality. He lacked presence. He was polite though. He didn’t curse and didn’t speak out of turn. He was how you imagined a well-behaved, well-mannered, well-raised young boy should be.
He was timid. He had friends occasionally – when homework was due or during test time or when it was time for a group project. At times he seemed mute. But maybe his social awkwardness was part of his genius. Maybe, it was the price he had to pay for being ahead of the curve. They used to say that his mind spoke louder than his mouth ever did. But no one really knew the depth of that truth.
There was nothing quiet about the voice inside his head – It was loud and obnoxious. It was insatiable. Nothing he did felt good enough. It was always there to convince him that he would never amount to anything in life. And for all those who relied on him for his ability, they were never around when he needed someone to confide in – to get out of his own head. No one noticed that something was not quite right. He had no one to tell that he was paralyzed by the voice within him.
So today, more than 20 years later, I cry for the boy who never understood why he was different. I cry for the little boy who became so afraid of making mistakes that he stopped trying. The little boy who believed that being a creative was never going to be enough. I cry for the little boy who was always surrounded by friends and family but always felt alone. I cry because he now understands that he can no longer let disappointment control his life. I cry because he no longer chooses to carry around bags of unfulfilled potential…