When I was little I was ashamed of myself for not being good at everything. So many kids around me seemed to excel at anything put in front of them, whereas I was just a quirky creative kid who never really found where I belonged until much later in life. There were little hints of what I was good at, glimmers of passions and hobbies yet to be discovered — but no one took the time to cultivate what I was good at, including me.
I wish I had understood my personality better, and what’s more, I wish my parents would have taken the time to understand my personality. There was a lot of head butting and arguing in my younger years because no one really understood why I acted and behaved the way I did. Knowing a bit more about myself when I was younger may have saved me from years of self destructive behavior and given me a clearer path to follow. If I could go back, I’d take 12-year-old me by the shoulders and say, “Be nice above everything else, stay creative, make things, do things with your creativity — it will take places you’ve never imagined.” I sometimes wonder where I’d be had I followed my undiscovered talents in the vein of my own strengths, but where I am now is wonderful and looking back will only delay me from moving forward.
Addie is a spectacular kid, and the transition from 7 to 8 has been a magnificent one. While her natural talent and ability is still working itself out, certain parts of her personality are taking a recognizable shape. I’ve gone to great lengths to learn about her, what she likes, what she doesn’t like, the conditions she works under best, and the most efficient way to discipline her. She feels every situation with her whole being and prefers to hang in the back, watching everyone, before diving in with the crowd (if she ever does.) Knowing this about her has helped me help her adapt to new situations, specifically meeting new people. She is a true introvert, and before realizing she needs awhile to warm up to new places and faces, I took her reluctant and sometimes immature behavior as rude and disrespectful. One of the greatest areas of improvement in her demeanor is how she handles meeting new people; she knows I only expect her to look them in the eye, smile and introduce herself — she can then go back to her wallflower ways until she’s comfortable.
I wish I would have kept recording after Rebekah finished singing… she talked about being a peculiar and quiet kid, then learning to express herself through music. I was the same way, but instead of singing I learned to use a camera, a pencil, and a journal to write down everything I felt inside. I still don’t know how Addie will learn to express the quiet observant side of herself, but I know when she does it will be beautiful — because she is a wondrous little creature.
Feel like singing? Enter your own 60 second video in the Disney “Find Your Voice” Contest for your chance to win a trip to LA for a VIP experience, a state-of-the-art karaoke system, Disney Store gift cards or The Little Mermaid Gift Packs! Follow the conversation on Twitter using #FindYourVoice. Good luck!