Five Minute Friday: Voice

Five Minute Friday

Joining up with Lisa-Jo for the first time in too long for Five Minute Friday.  Love this link up.  Love this community. To quote the good lady herself…

We write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that I post here at 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday. And we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.
Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

It started because I’d been thinking about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused writing.

So now on Fridays a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write without worrying if it’s just right gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes.
Your words. This shared feast.

Our most important requirement for participation: There’s really only one absolute, no ifs, ands or buts about it Five Minute Friday rule: you must
visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their
comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the
heart of this community.

This weeks prompt….is Voice.


Loud and obnoxious.

That’s what he called me.

Loud and obnoxious.

Just a throwaway phrase, overheard as I pass through the social area of the school where I’m still very new, a start-overer at sixteen.  This confident, talented, popular boy throws out the phrase (loudly, as it happens, as I can hear him a good few feet away) like a missile of disdain, not aware that the girl he’s critiquing so succinctly and visciously is a couple of benches away.

My face flushes.  My throat tightens.  I feel the telltale pinpricks of tears wanting to loose and glance hurriedly at the others in my little group.  They haven’t heard.

Thank God, they haven’t heard.

I hitch up my bag and mumble an excuse about needing to use the powder room.  There, locked in a cubby, head lain against the cool tile, I can finally cry.

Obnoxious?  Obnoxious?

And all the fears come back.  The bullying, the late night whispers in the dorm, the always being the new kid.  Trying to fit in, to be nice, to be calm.  To not irritate my parents or annoy my siblings.  The tightrope of nice, of pleasant, of unworrying.  The good girl.  The easy kid.

Because if you’re not, it’s game over.

Now, from the vantage point of thirty-one, I can see the situation differently.  That boy was being, frankly and ‘scuse my French, an ass.  He’d had the same friends since grade school and a new girl arrived who had the odd opinion and who like to study and succeed.  So he threw out the ‘o’ word unthinkingly, imagining it would slip straight past me.  It didn’t.

I can also see myself more clearly now, and I was so so scared.  I was scared of being the new kid again, was fresh from the betrayal of false friends at my boarding school, I was scared of the future, I was scared of myself.  Having always been a bit of a doormat, for the first time I was trying to be a little more confident, to speak up, to find my voice.

So the loud, I can understand.  But the obnoxious?  That was unfair, wrong, and landed like a slap on the site of a bruise.

I’m so glad I’m older now, and I hope a little wiser.  My voice might not be perfect, but it’s mine, and it helps me to write and teach and counsel.  To quote Frank Turner, “I’m happy and I’m settled in the person I’ve become.”  And I’m glad that the fifteen years distance means I can now truly grasp who the truly obnoxious person was in that situation.



  1. marcypusey
    26th October 2012 / 9:02 am

    What to say? I'm sorry for that painful moment… but grateful that you can look back and see the reality of the situation. The sting is still what it is (I've had my share as well!)… I curious about your boarding school experience! I live in Kandern where my husband teaches fifth grade at Black Forest Academy. His students are not boarded but many at the high school are. Were your parents international business folks? Missionaries? Just curious. Aside from that… I wrote about the power of our voice… in the lives of others… and you wrote about it as well… with entirely different words. It's amazing how one can remember the remarks of others from SO long ago!!! Words are powerful and may we use them WELL! Thanks for sharing your story. 🙂

  2. Denise
    26th October 2012 / 3:55 pm

    Bless your beautiful heart.

  3. Riot Kitty
    27th October 2012 / 12:05 am

    What a jerk, and what good perspective on your part. I was always the new kid too, and it sucked, but it helped me deal with change very well, so I'm adaptable now.

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