This I Believe

Karli - Westminster, Maryland
Entered on April 20, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that the purest form of self-expression ios wearing your heart on your sleeve.

I saw a woman today who turned the heads of all who walked past. The woman with the Coach purse paused to stare for a moment, standing next to the wide-eyed boy in th eAbercrombie sweatshirt and the security guard in pressed uniform. The woman straightened her orange, rigid Mohawk, which she had accessorized perfectly by a matching studded belt and faded black-laced chuck Taylors. She wore all blackclothing, including pants which seemed to be much too large for her petite frame and a shirt which, in stark contrast, seemed to be much too small. Her eyebrow, lip, bellybutton, and nose were all pierced with ghastly looking spikes and rings, and her forearms and neck were painted intricately with tattoos of hearts, skulls, rainbows, and knives. Her face was plain and pale, with the exception of the deep blue liner above her eyes and a single dear tattooed on her cheek.

Unique, special, wierd, eclectic, or any other various words which have been assigned to this genre of person; she was all of them. But as I looked closer, I saw the reason for the woman’s appearance and the satisfaction that the disapproving looks around her brought. She was HERSELF. she screamed pure, untainted, commercial-free originality with every breath she took. I noticed the names of the people which spotted those same tattooed forearms, names perhaps representing loved ones and friends. I saw the desire to stand out and be different, and the courage, hidden underneath her dark clothing, to be a light to the judgemental community through which she was walking. I realized that her tear, made premanent by her own will, was one shed for the ignorant and the self-absorbed of our society, those who do not take the time to get to know her.

I will never know her name, her background, or any other trivial details of her life, but I know that she has touched me forever. I have a newfound respect for those unwilling to secrifice themselves to the flames of social acceptance and a hope that one day I, too, will find comfort in showing myself to others, even if it costs me a glance or two.