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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Confident (07/05/07)

TITLE: A Simple Silk Tie
By Christy B


CaLynn is a great friend with a fun sense of adventure. She is cute and always laughing. She invents exciting activities for the kids in her neighborhood. She loves her friends and is very protective over her two younger brothers. She has a genius IQ and could understand adult-level concepts before she knew enough words to express them. Her mother thinks she is amazing. Her grandparents dote on her. She knows the world is fair and she is an important part of it.
CaLynn doesn’t understand why some kids make fun of her just because she is smaller than most of them and she has a freckly birthmark on her leg. How can that offend them? It’s not like she can help it. She goes inside herself to think. She likes thinking… and writing… and working out the mysteries of life by drawing pictures and talking about it. To herself. Her mother calls her dainty and beautiful and puts her in a ballet class to try to “pull her out of her shell,” but the teacher speaks baby talk and makes them walk like ducks. CaLynn is embarrassed to be there and refuses to go back. She doesn’t realize that adults see her as a little kid. She knows she is different and fears the rejection of other children.
CaLynn is the shyest girl in high school. At least she thinks she is. No one else ever looks as miserable as she feels around strangers. Oh sure, around people she knows, she is fine. Her friends love hanging out at her house because she is so easy to be around, and has a cool, fun mom and cute brothers. But CaLynn is so shy that her life is getting difficult. She is a pretty girl, but soon she will look positively ridiculous if she cannot find some way to unlock the box she built around herself. She can see out of the box and knows she put herself in it, but she longs to be free of it. She is starting to realize that being smart is not a negative personality trait and that it’s OK to strive for excellence in everything she does. She knows she must find a way to be more confident.
CaLynn’s friend, Jerome, has a job interview after school. He is nervous. She can tell. His tie is all bunched up and tied completely wrong. CaLynn learned to tie a proper tie from her great-grandfather and has been tying her brothers’ ties ever since they stopped wearing clip-ons.

CaLynn is about to do the hardest thing she has ever done. Gulp, here goes! She walks directly up to Jerome and hears herself say, “Here, let me help you.” She then sees her hands turning up his collar and taking his tie out from where he had crammed it. Her hands untie the tie, straighten it, and tie it correctly with a perfect Windsor knot. THEN, she pats him on the chest and says, “That looks better! Good luck with your interview.” She may even have smiled. Jerome shifts on his feet, mentioning that he never learned to tie a tie. Then he smiles broadly and thanks her for tying it right!
CaLynn’s life was changed forever at that moment. She can now talk to anyone, anywhere, and does. All those years of being afraid to reach out are over! CaLynn has been freed from her box, and the key to it all was a simple silk tie.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 07/13/07
Your story shows how even the smallest step forward can spur the biggest change for good. I enjoyed reading your story.
Beth LaBuff 07/15/07
Your description of CaLynn's ballet class made me smile. I like how CaLynn used her confidence because she knew how to tie a tie to help someone else. Thanks for writing this.