This I Believe

Laura - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Entered on March 12, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

Personal Essay

I believe in the power of relationships and in people’s capacity for change and personal growth. Here is my story and my reason for this belief.

Two years ago I threw beer bottles through the windows of my parent’s garage and nearly destroyed every relationship that I had. The thought of knowing who I was outside of my own self-deprecation was foreign. I was angry. That was it . I was sent to a residential treatment program in Utah. I was displaced. There is nothing I could say that would properly describe the program. Sixty privileged teenage girls, on a farm in a canyon, trying to put their lives back together. No television, no telephones, no Vogue fashion spreads, no family, no friends, no freedom. One girl (upon leaving the program) said, “when it comes time to leave you’ll want to stay and then you’ll know it is time to go” Not true I thought. I wasn’t the one with the problem. It was all a mistake.

There was no awakening. Sixty privileged teenage girls, on a farm in a canyon, trying to put their lives back together. No television, no telephones, no Vogue fashion spreads, no family, no friends, no freedom. At this foreign of all places, I began to know who I am. On the day I was to leave the program I told a girl, “when it comes time to leave you’ll want to stay and then you’ll know it’s time to go.” She looked at me, “Not true.” She was angry. It was understandable.

It is daily that I fall into some new insight about myself. After two years in Utah, I’ve finally moved home. I feel somewhat displaced. I miss the sixty-girl, Mormon-run farm. I’m re-teaching myself to take the train.

I am my relationships. I wake up every morning because the people I love make every day enjoyable. I talk to people in line at clothing stores and who are walking their dogs because some of the people I meet I will come to love, making for more enjoyable days.

I am now part of who I will become. I paint and I will continue to paint so I can become someone who is always painting. I cook and I will continue to cook so I can become someone who is never without friends. I watch movies and I will continue to watch movies so I can become someone who is always analyzing character dynamics.

My sister says, “What are we going to do with our lives, Laura?’

I look at her, “I don’t know, Ann, but most days I think that’s okay for now.”

I am more certain now of who I am than I have been in a long time. It’s evolving. I have the fundamentals. It will change. I expect it to. Now, today, in this moment, I am okay . For that I am grateful