This I Believe

Malvika - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 13, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: integrity

Two years ago, as I entered my classroom for the first time, I saw a stern, stout woman glaring at me from behind her oval-shaped glasses. Her reputation had preceded her, and her appearance only added to it. She was supposed to be the evil dictator of her eighth grade science classroom. Her blond hair was cut short and she wore dark clothes, which enhanced the dismal aura around her. Great! I thought. A perfect way to begin a new year!

In this society today, we worship the perfect image. The media revolves around a beauty and grace so enhanced by today’s technology that an average person could never achieve it. Like the Himalayas, the mountain on which our beauty resides is getting taller, steeper, and much harder to reach. The image we worship has become a part of our imagination, and the perfection portrayed by the media has made us forget what is truly beautiful: our creativity and uniqueness. I believe that if a person must be judged, let one be judged by these, instead of his or her appearance.

My brother, at the vulnerable age of two, was burned by a pot of boiling water. Though his mind bears no memory, his hands forever bear the scar. People who look at his hands are repulsed by the wrinkled skin that hangs loosely around his wrist. Every time someone asks him about his hands, I see a pained look flare up beneath his eyes. He realizes that he is different. I want to rush to him, and to comfort him.

I believe that each human is a piece of art; each is different and carries its own message. Throughout his or her life, each person weaves an intricate web of colors that different from any other. Some may like this painting, but others will criticize it as bland, ugly, or simple, but if they take the time to look they will find the individual quality that makes it truly amazing.

This is a lesson I had to learn with my eighth grade science teacher. Eventually, her strict and reserved outside gave away to the warm yet sarcastic inside. I found out that she was clever and just, a few of the qualities that one could not decipher from her outer appearance. Throughout the year, she became a mentor and a role model, one I still respect.

I believe in individuality. So, Teacher and Brother, you are different and unique. It’s not because of your appearance, but because of your mind and soul, because of your kindness and courage, and because of that you aren’t ugly or bland. You are beautiful.