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How I Silenced Negative Voices and Found My Passion

How I Silenced Negative Voices and Found My Passion

Words that some people would say define me: Driven. Intelligent. Unique. Independent. Candid. Truthful.

How these words are morphed when I internalize them: Pushy. Nerdy. Outcast. Lonely. Blunt. Tattle-tale. 

We often attribute the more negative words when describing ourselves than when we describe others. It’s common, but it’s unhealthy. The words that others use to describe me are a testament to who I am today and how I portray myself to the world.

However, just a few years ago, even the thought of ordering my own food or talking in front of a class were my worst nightmares. Eye contact was far from reality, and butterflies were always in my stomach. Self-doubt was already a well-known enemy. My demons were anxiety, misophonia, and the opposite of confidence.

Deep breath in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Deep breath out 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. This was the only way I could get through any day. Just a glimpse at my grades could evoke a panic attack. One wrong move and my anxiety pushed me down a dark and lonely hole.

Crunch. Snap. Sniffle. I squirm. My ears scream. My heart rapidly lubs and dubs. I run away and slam my door. For years I thought I was simply crazy. Others told me that the agony I felt when I heard chewing, sneezing, or breathing was simply in my head. I knew this couldn’t be, but I turned to isolation as my only solace. I later learned that it was called misophonia, a rare but dramatic condition that produces a fight-or-flight reaction when “trigger” noises are heard. Any situation I’m put in is accompanied by a fear of noises, or was until I realized that fear should not dictate my life.

We scrutinize our appearance. When we’re skinny, we’re not skinny enough. When we’re tall, we’re not tall enough. I used to ALWAYS let the size of my head, the shape of my eyes, and the unevenness of my nose instill negative thoughts.

Misophonia, anxiety, and a lack of confidence weaved themselves into a parasitic force that kept me in a shell and dictated my life. A storm of confusing thoughts spiraled throughout my mind.

So I picked up a pen and spilled my heart into words. Day in and day out I continued. My stormy thoughts turned to articulate sentences. I found my future: writing. Honing my voice, I started my own school initiative, wrote about nutritional and health issues in America, and followed my passions. I weaved together what used to hold me back and worked toward a distinct future.

Though my voice seeks inspiration through writing, your voice can be found in many different ways. So, find your craft, mold your story, and be unapologetic. Your future starts today.

Don't let petty words define you. You're more than just numbers on a list or negative thoughts in your head. Driven. Intelligent. Unique. Independent. Candid. Truthful.

You + the world = the future. Don't leave yourself out of the equation. Make your future your way. You can do this. 

By Hannah Seewald, 16

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