This I Believe

Heather - Tucson, Arizona
Entered on January 24, 2007

I walk through the halls of my school, and all the people I see are all the same. In dark clothing, I stand out and am automatically given a label. Some of these clones ask me if I have a black soul. I shake my head and explain to them I wear black simply because I want to. It’s part of my individuality, my way of being who I am. However, I didn’t always wear dark clothing.

In middle school, I was that kid: the one trying so hard to fit in with the right people, the kid only wearing what other people would like. I would spend hours in clothing stores, wondering what people would think of my outfits. That is, until the afternoon of February the 13th, when our vice principal came onto the intercom.

“Remember everyone, tomorrow is Friday, Valentine’s Day, and the Valentine’s dance! Get out your most pink clothing and I’ll give you a discount on dance tickets!”

Our vice principle, Mr. Reed, was obsessed with pink. He wore pink every Friday, and he even painted his office bright pink. The whole school would suck up to him by wearing pink on Fridays and get rewarded for it with candy and other little things.

I sat in Spanish, listening to everyone talk about what they’d wear. I sighed to myself and resolved to go to the mall that night. However, when I got there, I didn’t feel in the mood for pink. I’d had enough of pink. I walked through the mall, looking into various stores and wondering what I should wear. I couldn’t seem to make a decision.

Then, I passed by a store with a lacey black skirt in the window. For some reason, I knew this was the right thing to wear. I felt like I was buying what I wanted to wear, not what some group of people in an office had decided was the fashion. I went home with a smile on my face, without wondering what people would say about my clothes.

The next morning, I happily got dressed and showed my mom what I was wearing.

“Well, I admit I don’t know anything about fashion, but if you want to look like a freak that’s your decision.” She laughed, dropping me at school. I walked in with confidence, spotting Mr. Reed. He stared at me for a few seconds.

“Good morning, Mr. Reed!” I laughed happily. “Look! I’m wearing pink!” I pointed at the pink in the bloody design on my shirt. He started laughing and waved me off to class. I proudly walked through crowds of pink-clad people in all their Valentines joy.

“Ooh, I LOOOVE your OUTFIT!” One girl cooed sarcastically. I simply smiled.

“Thank you. So do I.”

Ever since that day, I have always worn whatever I feel like wearing. My clothes are part of who I am. I believe in the individuality that every person has to make themselves unique.