This I Believe

Radia - Manhattan, Kansas
Entered on October 22, 2006

When I was in seventh grade, my friend and I walked to school together each day. One morning when I arrived at her house, she looked at me and asked, “What are you wearing?” Though I was caught off guard, I told her that I didn’t care what other people thought of me. The response, “Maybe you should”. She didn’t know it then and even today does not, but her words cut me like a knife. From then on, I continued not caring, but I cant help but wonder what others think of me.

As the years go on, her words have repeatedly impact my life. I’ve started looking at people not for how they look, but how they act and think. This is because I believe no one should be judged according to their appearances. By my ways, I am determined to prove her wrong.

Throughout my life, many people have helped me in my quest to be a better person. Singer/ songwriter India Arie told me through song “ I am not this skin, I am not your expectations”. When I first listened to and dwelled on the song, I couldn’t help but smile. Those few words alone showed me that I am not fighting solo in the fight against appearances.

Many other times, there have been people who say things and do not realize what they said is, to me, like gold. I value it and keep it in my heart to reflect on at any given moment. Whenever I am feeling self conscious, I listen to the words of my mother, “Look not through the eyes of someone else, but through your own eyes”. At the time, I wasn’t too sure what she meant. Now, however, those words are very meaningful. I interpret them to mean for me to look at myself how I know I am not how I think others see me.

That day in the past, I tried to convince my friend that it didn’t matter what she thought even though we were buddies. She wouldn’t listen then and still does not. Now, she’s moved on to cosmetology school where she is forced to concentrate on looks of herself and others. No matter how hard I try, I can’t changer her mind. As important as it was to persuade her , it no longer matters.

This is simply what I believe. Even if I were in a category all of my own, I would be happy knowing that I stand for something. Standing on my own is better than following a crowd. If one falls, they all collapse, like dominoes. Life will be fine if you don’t judge me by what you see and I promise to love you according to who you are. This I believe.