Becoming A New Me

Article:Zhi Xuan Tan / Picture:Zhong Shen Tu  2017-01-26


  My mother says that I spoke softer than a mosquito's buzz when I was little. When meeting new people, I would wrap my arms around her leg and not say a word. In the hopes of getting me to be braver and less shy, my mother took a leave of absence for a year and a half, taking care of me at home. One year later, I was able to greet strangers when I was introduced to them, but when I started preschool, I still needed my mother to accompany me in the classroom during school. Afterwards, no matter if I played soccer, took English classes, or took piano lessons, my mother would need to take me there six months in advance to get used to the surroundings and interact with the teachers and classmates there, lest my shyness get in the way of my learning.
  Last summer, my mother decided to go to Tai Ji Men for afternoon tea, and of course, my older brother and I wanted to tag along. Funny that as soon as I arrived at Da An academy and saw a group of white-clothed people smiling, I wasn't a bit afraid. I even told my parents that this was heaven. By the second time they took me to drink tea and asked me if I wanted to join Tai Ji Men, I said yes without hesitation. Tai Ji Men was very different from school. At school, if I didn't do things properly, I would often get "reminded". Whenever I was "reminded", I would get laughed at because I was a bad student. But at TJM, as long as I was willing to do anything, even if it was only raising my hand to go onstage, everyone would applaud me. When I was so scared onstage I could only get out two sentences, everyone would still applaud me and say I did a good job. My confidence grew. Last year on Happy Kid's Day, when a sister asked my brother and me if we wanted to share our Tai Ji Men experience onstage, we both agreed that we would use our favorite, two-person stand-up comedy method to strike up a conversation about the topic. I remember lying on my mother's lap just before going onstage, clutching my chest and telling her, "It's so scary, I'm so nervous." My mother replied warmly, "No problem, don't worry. Everyone's going to cheer for you guys. And your father and I will also be right by your sides!"
  When we went onstage, it was as my mother said. Everyone cheered and laughed with us, applauding madly. Even after we got offstage, there were lots of compliments saying we were brave.
  Afterwards, my brother and I went to various academies to share. No matter which academy we were at, everyone reacted the same way: full smiles, and full support. So, I believed more and more that facing a group of people to talk was an easy thing to do, and I wasn't afraid or nervous anymore. I became confident and brave, and it seemed like everything else came easier after that. I participated in a drawing competition, and made it to the national round. I won the New Taipei City prize in the Purple Ribbon comic competition. My English teacher encouraged me to join the English-storytelling competition, in which I won a regional prize. I even ranked the highest in my school's monthly tests, which I'd only dreamed of doing before. Furthermore, my brother and I have stood onstage Sun-Yat Sen Memorial Hall's auditorium and shared our Tai Ji Men experiences with the guests. That time, I was only a little bit nervous, and after I got onstage, I relaxed. I smiled and said everything I wanted to say. I'm grateful to my parents for bringing me to Tai Ji Men, for Shifu for teaching to be brave and believe in myself, and for the support of my brothers and sisters. Even when I didn't do well, they warmly shared their own stories to help me understand the situation, so that I could improve. Being brave is such a great feeling.