Am I anti-social or is everyone else around me just an open book? Growing up I had always found it difficult to say what was really on my mind or to even say it at all. This was shown through playing soccer to just being in a classroom at school. Future “me” would laugh at past me and tell myself to open up, it really is not that hard. I have learned to be who I want to be.

I began playing soccer at age four and my energetic child self had no care in the world, other than winning. I was always voicing my opinions on the field to my teammates, regardless of if they were listening or not. As I continued to join and play on soccer teams I found myself on an all girls soccer team when I was about ten years old. These girls were all older than me and I was the baby of the group. They had completely different things on their mind than I did. I thought that everyone that played a sport consumed it as if the sport was keeping him or her alive. Instead, I found out that all these girls cared about was to impress boys that we would meet on the fields or even at the hotels we stayed in. As my pre-puberty stage had not hit yet, I did not care about all of that and always wanted to stay in the hotel room with my mom. I would try to make up excuses on why I did not want to join my teammates at the pool, because I knew it was going to be nothing but trouble. They would not believe the excuses and my mom would not back me up. She thought it was good for me to hang out with my teammates. Only if she knew what was really going through their middle school minds. There I was, being dragged along and standing to the side of the group as the other girls tried to be flirty with the guys they met at the hotel. After a few antagonizing months, I finally left that team and began to realize who I can be. I am allowed to say no, I am allowed to have a voice. I do not need to make up excuses and I can stand up for who I am. I decided that I could be my own person …

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