“She is so slow, does she even understand anything” Said Elizabeth to her friends while standing on the door of my class. Elizabeth is a popular girl that was my classmate in my junior year of high school; she is tall with a tanned skinned and curly hair. Elizabeth and her friends were talking and looking at me, and then they started laughing. Their giggles were loud it felt like my ears could not handle it. I had to bypass them to get to class on time but they were still looking at me. Six years ago, it was my first month in the United States when I started high school, I did not speak English well and my vocabularies were not good but I still could understand when people speak to me. Not so long after starting school, I got the courage to raise my hand in class and answer questions; I was very eager to learn and do well in school. I would answer a question but my accent would not make what I am saying clear to the teacher. I did not allow this to stop me and I kept raising my hand whenever I know the answer to a question. Unfortunately I could only keep my confidence for a while; their giggles whenever I talked started to get to me. I saw her every day after class, she would try to talk to me then make fun of whatever I am saying then the whole group would start laughing and I had nothing to do but to leave quickly to my next class.
I started growing shier little by little; to the point that my presence was passive and unnoticeable. “Relax and just do not talk to anyone”; I said to myself whenever I am surrounded by others to relieve my anxiety. It was a difficult year for me, I barely had any friends or went out other than going to school even in the summer. I felt anonymous and I did not like it. Here comes my senior year, I was studying and working on my English during the summer; “Hi” Elizabeth said, “Hey” I replied. My heart was racing, wondering if I stutter and she starts laughing and then everybody else follows her lead. “How was your summer?” she said, “ it was ok, how was yours?” I replied. We started chatting and told me that I look different. I was very confused and I do not know what happened to her during the summer but I was ok with it anyways!
I started little by little speaking up in class again, even though it was not as much as before. I still had left over anxiety that came out whenever any random person would giggle. Elizabeth and I were finally in good terms and she apologized for her actions before and I said “It was hurtful and impolite, but as long as you know that, I forgive you”. At out last few months before graduation, I was considering nursing school and started the application for the prerequisites, Elizabeth was also interested in it and we would help each other out with information about available nursing schools. She added me on Facebook and we would chat every once in a while, in English!. Looking back, those memories might seem insignificant. “So what, what is the big deal?”, my brother said when I told him my story; it is a big deal when you feel defeated, when you feel anonymous. It was a big deal to me but it helped me and added to my personal growth and ability to forgive and learn. I am now a registered nurse graduated from CUNY with my nursing degree and working on my BSN, helping many people daily and I love my job. I guess I am not anonymous anymore after all!