This I Believe

Helen - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on November 19, 2006

The Origin of Personality

I believe that my sensitivity to emotions gives me my character. Only with this can I have my weird sense of humor, my ecstatic squeal, my quick-firing comebacks, my intense freak outs, and my so called dramatic mood swings – quirks that belong solely to me.

Eleven years of education has taught me pride, success and a feeling of rejection. Armed with the basic formula of how to succeed in school has not been enough to protect me against disappointment and failure. I’ve been hit hard by failed attempts, in which on some days, even laughter, my main source of joy, cannot cheer me up. But these inner emotions give me great courage to stand up and change, so that I’ll never feel this way again. With a feeling of utter collapse comes a truly new rebirth that motivates and fuels my actions. I am determined and hard-working.

I may be overreacting, but I’m not afraid to cheer in the morning when the radio announces that school has been cancelled because of a snow day. Heck, I’ll even wear my pajama pants inside out the night before to increase the chances and assuage my superstition. I may get angry too easily, but I’m not afraid to curse in frustration when I find myself with writer’s block for a paper due the next day.

I may be too silly, but I’m not afraid to be happy with all my heart and simply fall down in laughter, no matter how many people will stare in horror. I may be immature, but I’m not afraid of breaking out into cheesy pop songs with my friends, because I am lost in these moments of familiarity and comfort.

I am easily hurt and self-critical. I’ll admit it: I cannot deny that I haven’t been a deliverer of some inconsiderate remarks. Thus, it’d be almost ironic to say that when I am on the receiving end of one of these insults, I can be upset for days. That one insult will haunt me to the point where it doesn’t matter how many compliments I may receive.

As a teenage girl living in America with a Chinese background, racism and derogatory remarks about my physical differences are not new to me. I’m crushed to find this racism surrounding me, but I refuse to hate myself for taking these comments to heart. I’ll accept my vulnerability and from it learn to treat others the way I would want to be treated. And from this hate and anger I have, I’ll turn into confidence. I’ll learn to love these squinty eyes, this yellow hued skin, and this heap of black hair. I am accepting and proud.

I believe in my high-pitched laugh that is always followed by a smile and my anger that I don’t bother trying to hide. I get nervous, I’ve been irritable, but self-realization is key and I believe that these emotions have built the foundation of who I am today.