I Believe in Keeping an Open Mind and an Open Heart

Stephanie - LeClaire, Iowa
Entered on July 8, 2011
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: disability

I believe in keeping an open mind and an open heart.

I never used to believe this; I thought that I would be safer blocking everyone out of my life. I thought that if people are worth my love then I shouldn’t just give my love, away, they should fight to get to me. As I matured, I came to realize that if I ever wanted a true friend, I would have to learn to open up and give people a chance, even if I end up getting hurt. I need experience, without it I would have no character and no life.

I have a deformed knee, so I have always been… different. After a childhood of disgrace and verbal pain, I thought no one would ever accept me for who I am. When I was younger, people paid a lot of attention to me… but not in a good way. People made fun of me, spread rumors about me or did so much more. I was a laughing stock at my school. After all of the enduring years of abuse, I gave up. I was so stressed and tired from what people did to me that I just learned to block them completely out of my life. I was alone for years. When I got older, I realized that by blocking people out, I was isolating myself and that I would never have any friends if I continued. So I started to open my mind to new ideas and opportunities, and I opened my heart to people who I felt could accept me if I gave them the chance. Once I learned to do to keep my mind and heart open and to accept people, they learned how to look past my disabilities and accept me for who I truly am. Now I will never truly be alone.

People can not accept you until you are ready to accept yourself. I learned that through experience and it truly is great advice. My knee got to the point where I could barely walk, I didn’t even have a ligament anymore and my knee dislocated every time I straightened it. Six years later I finally got my knee worked on. I got through my problems and when it heals I will be like everyone else. Even though I was singled out and what happened to my knee was extremely painful and horrible, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Since I had to deal with my disability, I learned how to love and accept people and, most importantly, how to accept myself.