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The Sign Project Comeback

Flagpole+shot+photos%3A+Melody+Wilcox+%28%E2%80%9820%29+and+Alexis+Marret+%28%E2%80%9821%29+during+lunch%2C+photo+by+Blake+Skellenger%2C+freshman+%28%E2%80%9822%29
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The Sign Project Comeback

Flagpole shot photos: Melody Wilcox (‘20) and Alexis Marret (‘21) during lunch, photo by Blake Skellenger, freshman (‘22)

Flagpole shot photos: Melody Wilcox (‘20) and Alexis Marret (‘21) during lunch, photo by Blake Skellenger, freshman (‘22)

Flagpole shot photos: Melody Wilcox (‘20) and Alexis Marret (‘21) during lunch, photo by Blake Skellenger, freshman (‘22)

Flagpole shot photos: Melody Wilcox (‘20) and Alexis Marret (‘21) during lunch, photo by Blake Skellenger, freshman (‘22)

Melody Wilcox, Reporter

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While the first cycle of signs had been to fix the shyness within myself and had succeeded wonderfully, I have recently found reason to continue this project to illustrate my next point: change. Wednesday, November 14, was the first day that more than one person carried these signs around the school, for my best friend Alexis Marret (‘21) and my brother Noah Corker (‘22) both supported me in my movement for change. We each had a sign that day that rephrased the same initial question: “Do you wish to make a difference?”

The majority of people said yes, that they wanted to help us make a change, while this day also held the first observed mockery in a handful of people’s shouted comments that kept saying no and that they found the signs stupid. I had been close to Room 1 where I saw Noah with his sign, his smile was bright and real, and I could tell he had been enjoying the experience of these signs. Then a student in the hallway asked to see his sign only to try knocking it straight out of his hand and laugh at him. In that moment I thought my brother was going to react badly and yell at the guy or let a problem start, but to my surprise he looked over at me, rolled his eyes and smiles and went about the project positively.

Soon after, I had been heading across the quad to the table I often meet Alexis at, and while I walked there, a table of people were yelling “No!” in response to my question and I heard some of them shouting to me that what I was doing was lame. I laughed and kept walking, my only response in mind to the hate comments was that it was their choice, but I smiled in the fact that this was mine, and I felt confident, strong, and unique in the best of ways for not letting what they said bring me down.

That same day, I had printed out copies of the project layout and the full detailed description of why my friends and I are doing this, and handed out a copy to those who seemed genuine in their answers. Those were the people who are alike in the desire for a better world, a better society.

When we came back from Thanksgiving Break, I myself had been running too late to bring a sign, but Alexis had card stock paper and a sign of her own that said: “The only thing I run from is myself.” Which inspired that days question to be: “What is something you are most afraid of?”

That day had mostly consisted of jokes or normal fears like spiders, or snakes, or clowns, but what this day did was break into the more personal side of the project. For the idea is, to get others opening up and coming together in understanding and support.

The next day I brought a sign that hit deeper into my line of personal sign questions to come: “What defines you as a person? – What kind of person would you describe yourself to be?” Few people answered this one in contrast to other signs, but the responses I had gotten mostly consisted of students saying “I honestly don’t know” and I could tell they kept thinking about it as their other friends would answer.

I got many people saying positive, happy things about themselves which had become music to my ears once I started hearing that others considered themselves “depressed”, “horrible”, “a little dumb”, and even “suicidal.” Many would think that  they were just joking around, but it’s the way they said it and the look in their eyes that glistened a little in the perceived small bit of truth behind their joke. In return I tried to stay positive for the project’s sake, but it broke my heart to hear so many negative responses about themselves, so I told those people the common phrase that things will get better, or that they always have a friend to talk to.

Though these have become the average sayings of everyone in these moments, it set in the fact that what I’m doing is for people like them who feel that way about themselves. I hope that this project for them will do what a different movement did for me called the Butterfly Project, which I will bring to point in my next part of the project in the waiting time for the finale. It was a project that helped me overcome my own depression when I was a freshman, and inspired me to save myself.
Many people who are depressed count on the idea that someone is going to come and save them, which many can try to do, but what they need to learn is to save themselves through the choice to make good of life’s bad.
Express yourself! In the midths of all days good or bad, let yourself sing the songs that tell your story, or paint how you feel upon a canvas and hang it up, or write down the thoughts that no one sees that linger behind your eyes. Ease your way out of your comfort zone until you find yourself screaming your feelings or opinions for all to hear, for who knows whose life may benefit from your confidence and bravery to stand and tell your story or give your best advice? I through my writing find my voice loud and clear, and now I am facing my fears one step at a time to bring my opinion to an auditory baseline and be an active cell in the molecular structure of this formed society.
This world can change by rapid impacts of positivity, individual love and support for ourselves and others, and the willpower to keep fighting so  that “can’t” will no longer be part of general vocabulary used when looking at hopes and dreams of optimistic matters. You see, over the summer I wrote some long opinionated rant online about the problems we face today on the spectrum of societal self destruction shed by our own hands in our simple everyday choices. So my everyday choices; make a difference for the better.

 

My next sign: “Do you want to know my real point to this?”

 

Almost everyone who responded said yes! In reaction, my common phrase to tell them was the information they need to find out. I told them that it was still a surprize, but that the next signs are all important to the big finale.Some however, seemed genuinely interested in finding out sooner. Those were the people who came up to me smiling wide and asking me in anticipation, and that they have been wanting to know for a long time. So to those people, I gave a link to the project plan and highly encouraged them to help out if their interested.

The next day: “Do you ever hide what’s on your mind? Or do you express yourself? (Why or how?)”

This question had many people talking. Several people told me that they keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves more often than they should, while others shouted across the hallway to me that they love to express themselves. To those who hide things, I suggested that they try to voice their thoughts more. Some took my advice seriously, while others scoffed and moved along. Some people however, gave some really deep answers behind why they do or don’t. The kind of answers that break through new views and concepts to think of new angles to look from, all of which gave me extra insight on not just the project, but everyone around me.

Even my own math teacher, Betty Zamora gave an incredibly truthful answer to the question. “I’m the kind of person who cares about how you feel, so if my thoughts were going to hurt your feelings I wouldn’t just tell you, “Oh that’s a horrible dress,” if you seemed to really like it. Yet if it was a case of “Hey, your spouse is cheating on you,” that’s another story, because it would hurt you, but not as much as if you found out and no one said anything. So I’m gonna have to say both because a lot of good can come from expressing yourself,” she told me before leaving her class for Stripes. This was a touching answer for it had given the angle of thought that both hiding what’s on your mind and expressing it can work hand in hand depending on what it is that you’re expressing and how it may affect people.

Though I was slightly shocked how many people said they keep their feelings hidden within them. For a long time I’ve known that many people bottle up their deeper thoughts, but this really opened my eyes to see that it’s more people than I had thought. Then the knots in my stomach tightened, and I realized that what I’m doing could be exactly what some people have been needing, and that by the end of this if not already, so much as people’s lives could be getting benefited or even saved by this for it having its own butterfly effect that takes place once I walk away, especially when the highlight finale of the project arrives after Christmas Break.

The next phase is going to be scary, for my plan is to hopefully set up a microphone in the quad on a set day, with my small group of consensual supporters who choose to join me, and answer all our own questions. This may even by the end of it, encourage others to speak up and answer them too upon the microphone or in their everyday lives. With that I knew that I started was the beginning of something powerful, something great.  For now I’m just recording what’s going on in the week before this speech in the quad, and the last sign before the project takes action is a simple statement with a question on the back; “…This is just the start. Are you ready?…”

This day was the first one that I heard the same answer from almost everyone who answered, “Yes.” Through the day as this happened, I thought constantly about one specific line in my online rant from over the summer, that which I have found sums up my reason for doing this. The line was, “It takes one cell to evoke a mass change, for better or worse” and had the most significance in that rant if not of all my writing. It’s a line that formed my drive to keep this up, and that shaped the question I now bring upon you dearest reader; will you be the cell that spreads this change?

I may be the one who started this project to inspire others, that which many people tell me I’m brave for. What it is that many don’t see however, is that the change that happens from here on starts with the amazing You. This is only the beginning.

 

 

melody Wilcox (‘20) with her sign, photo by Alexis Marret (‘21)

About the Writer
Melody Wilcox, Reporter

Melody is a junior and this is her second year attending lincoln high school. She enjoys writing and is excited to see where journalism takes her through...

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