On the first day of school last week, I sneezed seconds before Dr. Monte Cox’s prayer in 9 a.m. chapel. It was dead silent and drew much attention from chapel sections near and far. For my closest friends or those who have known me during my time at Harding, it was no surprise who it came from. I am extremely loud. Trust me, I have tried hard to hide it a bit or hush-up a bit, but I genuinely cannot help the excitement I have for life.
Growing up I was told my personality and generally everything about me was too much. My personality, my hair, my clap and, most certainly, the volume of my voice. This led to much self-reflection about if I was too overbearing for those around me. Self-doubt swallowed me whole; I did not want to own my personality and certainly not my volume.
The enthusiasm I had for life and those around me was quieted and nearly completely squelched by those who thought I needed to be silenced.
However, I realized these interactions of negativity and unkindness were not for my comfort, but instead for theirs. They saw my obvious stature and deemed that meant I was to be quiet or shy. I have become quite the opposite. Reclaiming my bold traits did not come easy, and those most influential in my life made me realize that being little did not mean I could not be loud.
Thank you, Mom and Dad; you have never turned the volume dial to the left despite the world saying your daughter was a firecracker.
Thank you, Dr. Amy Qualls, for helping me find my passion for writing and voice on paper again. You are a reason I am loud.
Thank you, Natasa Tsirmpas, for recognizing the fire in my eyes and constantly matching the zeal in our conversations.
There are so many others I could add to this list, including friends, coworkers, club members, siblings and complete strangers. Now I call upon those reading to find their version of little but loud within themselves. We each have instilled in us a trait we may be told to keep hidden or push away, but I say show it off. In a world that tells us to keep quiet, respond by being a little louder. Sure, this may be deafening for some, but when we recognize the voice each person has, we recognize a worth and value within us all. Whatever the enthusiasm or passion — share it, be heard, fight to be the loudest. Be kind, of course, but the loudest of voices should include everyone.
I am unabashedly me, and my little but loud will continue to be a part of who I am. I think it should be a part of those around me as well. Turn your assumed imperfections into something fun for others.
I promise there is a cheerleader for you out there; it may just be me with a couple of makeshift pom-poms. However, lucky for you, I am little but loud.