I have an invisible personality– a talent of sorts that I hate. I have an innate ability to blend in with the crowd. To “go with the flow”. My Mom was right I can be anything I want to be and I am, at least to anybody who “sees” me. I have come to think I am more like a chameleon, as in I tend to blend and bend with the people around me, at least on the outside. On the inside, I am screaming. I want to speak. I want to lead. But I am simply part of the crowd.
At home, it’s different. I have a voice and I speak with passion, maybe too much passion. Even then, at home, my thoughts are like a jigsaw puzzle with only the corner pieces picked out and no path to solve it. They are just words.
In class, I hide. I listen. I speak, but I am rarely heard. Fear and lack of confidence in my words… in my facts, chokes me. Then, at times, I find I was right about a fact or that someone believed the same way as I do and I am filled with joy and…irritation for allowing my chance of being heard pass me by. For allowing my fear keep me hidden from my voice.
I am beginning to feel like a shaken up bottle of soda, “ready to explode”, and the older I get the stronger the feeling. I realized I want my voice—No, I need my voice. I need to say my words, write my words with confidence. Learning to use my words is a skill I must have, now more than ever, because of my love– my passion…The Ocean.
When I was a little girl, my family lived in California. Every chance my Mom would get she would take me to the beach. There, I reveled in the vastness that stretched out before my small eyes. I remember being overwhelmed that something, the ocean, could be so big and seem to stretch on forever. I would marvel at the life that collected in the small tide pools. With handfuls of squirming creatures, I would stumble up to my Mom to show her all I had gathered and begged to take them home with me. She would always tell me no and explained to me, if they were to live, I needed to leave them in the water where creatures belonged. That advice then led to me running up and down the beach saving anything that was stranded when a wave came crashing with too much force and leaving them to bake in the hot sun. It was in these early days that I fell in love with the sea.
I didn’t understand the complexities of the world. I did not understand the politics of what fueled the world; I only knew that I loved the oceans with everything that my small body could hold. I desperately wanted to be a part of it.
I quickly fell in love with a movie called, The Little Mermaid. I would watch and dream of a world where I could be “under da sea”. I carried a Barbie fish tail around in my pocket. I would bathe with it, swim with it, and sleep with it. My security “blanket” in a way, because that little fabric tail was a piece of me.
One day, when I was about six or seven, my Mom brought home a series of books by a man named Jacques Cousteau. I couldn’t read them as I was still very young, but they were filled with brightly colored images of creatures I had never seen. Fish and coral and sweeping waters coated my imagination. The pictures were so clear and pristine I could imagine reaching in and touching them. I remember feeling that I wanted more–No, I needed more. I constantly begged to go to the beach. To the aquarium. I would daydream all the time of living in the sea, of being a part of it. At the age of six or seven I had found my path, I wanted to be a marine biologist, though I did not know the term. I just knew I wanted to do exactly what Jacques Cousteau was doing.
In all my innocence, I did not know that those images and colors would fade. That the images would soon be bleached and filtered for personal gains. The need to speak and speak properly is overwhelming. I sit on the sidelines with heavy inaction and no clue as to how to remove the rock that holds me down. To be able pick a spot in which I would belong and prosper within my cause is like a game of double-dutch, I was never good a double-dutch. I was the one always standing just on the outside, biting my nails, waiting to jump in but unsure when I could. And when I did finally make a move…I would get tangled in the ropes and ruin the game.
I need to find my voice. I need to learn to speak. Though my lips move and can repeat facts… I have no voice.