Word Choice: A Short Story

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I was three years old before I said my first word. I had an IEP throughout preschool. I made one best friend in kindergarten. I was afraid of the world and the people that occupied it.
To say that this was just a phase was an understatement. Most little kids go through the phase of being terrified of strangers, but not all are paralyzed by it for several years.
I was standing there digesting the events around me in the grocery store. People were talking, seemingly shouting, scuffling around the room, and cackling at the world around them. Some looked at me and pointed, smiled, talked, and waved. A ginormous woman came up to me, bent forward, grabbed my bubbly cheeks and said “LOOK AT YOU! Aren’t you just the cutest little toddler running about the
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That’s the easiest part, but immediately afterwards I know I have to be quick on my feet and think of something interesting to say. I feel myself shrinking and can feel the thoughts flying around my head. I slowly get more and more nervous, afraid to mess up. But then I think of something; a comment about the person that is introducing us. Simple enough. But for me it continues to be a battle over word choice. I continue to fear that I will say the wrong thing and come off rude, but I am truly just trying to fit in. The conversation eventually dies out and I can relax. As I have gotten older and continue to get older, I start to care less about how others view me and accept that this an important characteristic that defines who I am. Talking to new people is a challenge, but one that I welcome. Self improvement is a terrifying thing to think about because of the difficulties it presents, but the end result is always satisfactory. My physical response to hard situations may not change, but my mental response can. My heart races, palms get sweaty, legs get shaky, and voice gets froggy. Afraid, but accepting and learning from each terrifying
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