Filed under Opinion/Editorial

Speak it out loud instead of living in your head

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If you knew Alexis Lyttle when she moved to North Harford in 8th grade, you probably remember a freakishly tall, awkward, dorky girl trying her best to blend in. But like I said, freakishly tall, awkward, and dorky isn’t the best camouflage amongst a sea of midgets.

At the time, my only goal was to tread lightly and not stir any controversy. I kept my thoughts to myself and did my best to bloom as a wallflower. As anyone who moves a lot knows, it’s better to keep to yourself and play it safe rather than throw yourself out there and risk any social disaster.

Sophomore year, I took the leap and signed up for Journalism one. I never was a proficient writer; all my essay feedback criticized scattered thoughts and lack of formulated ideas. Needless to say, I was nervous about going into a class that is all writing.

As the year went on and I joined the newspaper staff junior year, I started to get into the swing of things as I learned not only how to improve my writing, but how to take approaches on different events and ideas. The only problem that remained was picking a side of the fence once I got a topic to write about.

Senior year was when Mrs. Chandler decided to throw me a total curveball. She made me the editor of our opinion/editorial section, which I thought was my weakest point. I mean, sure I had opinions (what teenage girl doesn’t?), but my opinions weren’t about groundbreaking news. How was I supposed to write an article for this section every month when the only things I had to complain about were petty things like dumb boys and trying not to wear sweatpants everyday?

I’m not sure if maturity is to blame, but I started becoming aware of world events and injustices plaguing so many not only around the world, but in our own niche. The more and more I became aware of these things, the angrier I became. Suddenly the hours I spent staring at an empty page with writer’s block became hours I spent spilling out my aggravations and editing my work until I believed I served the topic justice.

Somehow journalism went from being an extracurricular activity to a platform to voice my opinion. I know not everyone is listening to what I have to say, but one quote from Desmond Tutu kept sticking in the back of the back of my mind: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

Sure I’m not lighting the torch that sparks a revolution, but even if I can get people to talk and sway the minds of one or two people, that’s a victory in my mind. Sure there are some repercussions of being strongly opinionated about something (see the March 2015 issue page 3 for further reference), but I have learned that having an opinion means nothing if it is not an informed one. But what are you going to do about your opinion?

For me, I can’t sit back any longer. Some get satisfaction out of pushing themselves further and further and achieving personal goals, but I get more personal satisfaction knowing I’m standing up for something I believe in. While writing for a small school newspaper in the middle of Harford County isn’t anything near as prestigious and controversial as publishing an article in the New York Times, it sure is a start. And by start, I mean there’s way more to come.

So next time you’re on Twitter about to retweet a story about someone out to change the world, look a little closer. It might just be me #onmyway to move mountains.

However, many took advantage of my quiet nature and I became a bit of a pushover. For a while, I accepted it, but it didn’t take long for me to get fed up about it.

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Speak it out loud instead of living in your head