This I Believe

Alana - Evanston, Illinois
Entered on October 2, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in independence. Not the kind that is patriotic, like an independent country, but I believe in being your own person. I believe in coming up with your own ideas, not copying somebody else’s.

In grade school, I was a very quiet, shy kid. I was afraid of being wrong. I didn’t want to say an answer and have my teacher correct me. I suppose I was somewhat hypocritical, because I corrected people, especially my family and friends, often. How does that relate to independence? It wasn’t independence. Though I agree most ten year olds are not completely independent, they were generally a little more outspoken.

I was not a closed person; I still let people see me on the inside. I just made it difficult. Now I have changed. I think time changes people, if they are open and willing to change. If they aren’t, the time will just pass them by and it will either wear them down, or they’ll regret it. I do not go proclaiming to the world about how I feel on the inside, I am just not as afraid. I’m not a daredevil, though I have been called that.

One major influence was celebrities. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Oh, she’s just another ditzy blonde girl who says she was inspired by a celebrity. Well, I’m not. I actually think they are overpaid people who are really good at pretending to be somebody else. Celebrities are the opposite of my point, and that is why they are so influential. I once saw an Oprah episode about the song “Stupid Girls” and how teenagers and adults alike were acting just like them. These “stupid girls” are called so because of their religious following of trends and other people’s lives. I think, for the most part, that celebrities have a negative impact on people’s lives. Celebrities are not a picture of independence. Neither are the people who follow them.

The final straw for me was my friend’s explanation. I was shopping at the mall with her, and she was about to buy a purse. An astonishingly ugly purse. I told her it was hideous, and she said, “Yeah, I know. But it’s the same one Lindsay Lohan has.”

Independence is not being controlled by others and their beliefs. It is obeying your gut instinct and not thinking about what other people will think about you. It is listening to that little voice inside all of us. It is being yourself, and not giving to pressure, which too many people do today. And tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day. But someday, I hope for a world where the politicians aren’t corrupted by others thoughts and money, where we don’t worship the rich and famous, and whose population believes in itself.