What I would tell my 10-year-old self
a speech on individuality by Henry Martin
Intro: If I was given the opportunity I would tell my ten-year-old self that you can’t let other people tell you how you can and cannot express yourself. I have always been an expressive person ever since I was a little kid. Everything that I do is a form of self-expression whether it’s through making music, skateboarding, making skate videos, or making art. I have been creating for as long as I can remember. Expressing myself through healthy creative outputs is something that keeps me fit mentally and physically and has helped me keep a very healthy mindset throughout the years but I haven’t always felt that way.
At a really young age, I would get into a lot of trouble for drawing, having painted nails, and wearing women’s clothing. When I was in first grade I had my parents called in to have a sit-down meeting with me, the principal, and my first-grade teacher because I made a drawing of a guy crashing his car through a Best Buy and drawing Mola Ram doing the Kalima chant from Temple of Doom. Ever since that moment, I was seen as someone at my school who needed to constantly be censored and lectured, giving me a really bad elementary school experience that even my parents would go on to say that school treated me horribly.
When I was in the fourth grade we had an assignment where we had someone come into our school from a theatre and have us create cardboard puppets of ourselves for a play we would perform for a couple of classes. I gave my puppet spikey hair and a pink dress. When it was time for the play I probably got to stand up with my class for about 30 seconds before having a teacher who wasn’t even mine grab my arm and drag me out of the gym as my face was covered in tears as she told me that my puppet was disrespectful and didn’t let me perform in the play. I think the theatre lady felt bad for me because she came up to me after the incident and told me I had the most creative one.
It’s events like these that I experienced throughout my remainder at that school that made me not want to do anything and try to fit in with what everyone else was doing but that just made things like making friends and fitting in very challenging for me when I was in middle school.
We shouldn’t teach kids that there is a right and wrong way for them to express themselves, we should be teaching them that there really is no right way to express yourself and encouraging individuality. Schools are probably a lot more conscious and understanding of this now but when I was ten years old that’s what I would have liked to have heard.