*It's a first draft so there may be some spelling or grammar mistakes and choppiness, especially at the end. Please let me know if you think it works or not. Sorry about that and thank you for your time!
I picked up a purple crayon. The violet red one was my favorite, but violet blue would do. I started making loops that reminded me of little m's, just as I had seen my sister do. She always made such pretty pictures.
I got to my fourth loop before I stopped. My flower looked nothing like the ones my sister made. Hers looped around in a circle. Mine was just a line. I tried to fix it by coiling it back around in a second line. Despite my efforts, it still did not look right. I was too ashamed to concede defeat, so I colored it in anyways. Feeling slightly dejected, I handed it to my teacher. She told me it was the prettiest lilac she had ever seen. The red-hot feeling in my cheeks melted away. As it turns out, there is more than one way to draw a flower.
It was easy to be pleased with such a disappointment. My attempt may not have been successful, but that was my little secret. Even in kindergarten, I could always accept my failures, but struggled to admit them to others. It was why I hated reading aloud, team sports, and especially taking risks. If there was a chance I would draw attention to myself, I steered clear.
This ideology continued through middle and the beginning of high school. It was not until the end of my junior year that my reticence faded for a short window of time and I resolved to do what I would have previously considered the unspeakable: apply for a leadership position. This required a speech in front of my peers, all of whom would know if I failed.
Understandably, I was incredibly nervous the day of the speech. I was shaking before I even began speaking and the only thing that ran through my mind was "Why am I doing this?" It did not help much that the first words to leave my mouth were "Hi, my name is Kristen for those of you who don't know me and I am going to be a captain-I mean I am applying to be a captain because..." The remainder of my speech was filled with stutters and nervous movements. One of my friends told me later that he liked the assertiveness of my opening statement, but I was mortified. Needless to say, I did not receive the position.
I would have expected that such a defeat would have led me to seek refuge in my old ways. It was not like the undetected failure I had encountered as a child. This experience was more than enough proof that risk-taking would ultimately lead to humiliation and exposure to my flaws. I chastised myself endlessly, dwelling on my mistakes.
After a day of unwarrented self-deprecation, I told myself to move on. It seemed silly to me that these words would have any effect, but I soon found myself less afraid to make mistakes. Now, if I answer a question incorrectly, I think nothing of it. I can stumble over a word while talking in front of classmates and not let it deteriorate the remainder of my presentation. This acceptance of my imperfections is empowering. To put it in terms of my kindergarten experience, I no longer distinguish between lilacs and daisies, but see them all as flowers to be appreciated.