Having my voice heard

I’m 18 years old and going. Exhausted by everything that comes with life yet excited to see what else it throws my way. I’ve conquered obstacles, evolved my state of mind and set a rough path ahead of me to finish. I don’t look like it, though. Baby faced and barely taller than a 12 year old I look sweet and innocent to strangers. To the people in my life, I’m still just a lost child trying to make sense of the world.

• • •

It’s about 10 at night, everybody has just gone to bed leaving the usually lively house silent and dark. Two dogs have invaded my bed and are already snoring peacefully. I’m the only one up.
I spend most of my night watching Star Trek on my phone and lost in my own thoughts. Wandering aimlessly from thought to thought memories of my day come into focus. Every face I saw passes through my mind, reminding me of conversations and emotions. The only memories that stick out are disappointments.

The majority of my day was struggling to communicate with peers, family and friends. My words seemingly fall silent on their ears, unwilling to listen because they deem my conveyed thoughts unnecessary or useless. My voice becomes incomprehensible and my words turn into static the moment I need to express myself.

Breaking away from my thoughts, I see Captain James T. Kirk on my screen. Everyone is listening to him, practically hanging onto every word he says as if he speaks nothing but wisdom. I wish I could hold an audience like that. I wish I was important enough to listen to, and old enough to be taken seriously.

I want my words to have an impact on people around me. Contrary to the stigma around high schoolers, I’m not wasting my time with meaningless remarks. I want to inform and discuss and share my thoughts on countless things, to have power that sparks inspiration in everyone I meet. How can I accomplish that when my words are viewed as insignificant.

I turn off and put my phone down. My eyes can barely stay open but my mind is still running wild. I go through a long list as to why my words are unimportant— but all I can think of is my age. All anyone sees is a baby whose words are nothing but babblings about millennial things.

I think back to Captain Kirk. I wondered if, in his world, he ever felt like me. Felt too young for critical thinking, too small to make a big impression. I wonder how he would have overcome those thoughts. How he became so confident in his words. I wonder if he believes that maturity is a state of mind, not an amount of years. I wonder if he would listen to my thoughts.

I chose to grow up years ago, believing that’s what people wanted of me. I chose to grow up so I could change the world with my words. I know now it will take time but sometimes the child in me struggles to be patient. Sometimes I want to run when the world walks.

Over the years, I’ve seen grown adults quarrel over sports, throw tantrums about work or children and cry while watching Marley and Me. I’ve seen children whine endlessly over kickball, scream and kick to not go to school and mourn for Mufasa. Growing old is part of life but growing up is an option.

For now, I’ll keep talking. I’ll continue to use my voice and develop my words, taking every opportunity I can to express myself. Being patient will be hard, but I’ll live. I can’t wait to look back on my life one day to see what I have accomplished.