"I understood that raising my voice is not a bad thing."

2018 IAS
Luiza from Brazil

On a sunny morning, while having lunch in Pierson’s dining hall, after I smiled and greeted the cash lady, she arched her eyebrows and asked me where I was from. When I answered, she said that this clarified why I was loud and charismatic. I found it strange that my nationality explained who I am because in Brazil no one understands my personality. Throughout my life, I have lost count of the number of times that I cried after hearing that “I like to appear”. Little by little, I was losing my essence due to the barriers that I imposed on myself since everyone around me said these barriers were necessary. This lady made me notice how people at Yale see the world. I began to see that I do not need to be ashamed to express myself because I saw that everybody there was genuine. Finally, I understood that raising my voice is not a bad thing. I decided not to let other people tell me how I should behave to be accepted, because for the first time they truly liked me and I did not have to keep my true self concealed for this to happen. I became aware that people need someone to show them that these imaginary barriers prevent us from feeling complete.

When I came back, I realized that my goal is to prove that we do not have to wear masks in order for people to like us. Having found my voice and having understood its power made me expand and start projects that would help others to do the same. On the last day of YYGS, when I finished packing I opened the cabinet and looked in the mirror. I started crying, but it was not because the program had come to an end, it was because I could see how much I had learned about myself in those two weeks. I understood that the only vision of me that should matter was mine, I should love who I am. For the first time, in a long time when I looked in the mirror, I was happy with what I was seeing. I was happy to be who I am.

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