This I Believe

Joe - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on April 12, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I was staring blankly ahead unable to make sense of my ideas. I could tell you anything: philosophies, ideas, or stories. But, unable to communicate what I believe. Whenever I think about translating my beliefs into words my mind becomes jumbled. I have a hard time translating my beliefs into words. I have the hardest time telling you what I believe because I am scared. If you know what I believe, then you are within striking distance of my heart. I am scared because of what will happen when you get that close. I am scared of being hurt.

However, I do believe that connecting with people and allowing them to get closer is the most important thing in life. I think, opening up and letting someone know who I really am is the only way to truly be free.

Now, you are starting to see my dilemma. I want to tell you everything I believe, at the same time, every part of me is screaming, “don’t do it, you’ll get hurt.” I have not always had this struggle. It happened in third grade when I lost both of my grandfathers within months of each other. My grandpa Lou was a character. He was so happy that his happiness couldn’t help but spill over into other people’s lives. He lit up a room when he entered it, but that isn’t the reason I loved him so much. The reason was that he lit up my life when ever he entered it. My grandpa on my father’s side was called Bapa. Usually, I would run into the house to see him playing solitaire on the living room table. I would sit down and try to watch patiently, but I couldn’t resist asking him to play the card game war. When I was around him, I could feel his love hanging in the air all around me. When they died, I felt so fragile. I had known these men my entire life. It hurt terribly to think my relationships with them were over.

To protect myself, I have never really let anyone know who I really am. I had my fair share of deep and meaningful relationships, but they could only get so close. I would let them know my ideas, my philosophies, my stories, but never my heart. Never the real me, I was at a safe distance.

The phone rang and Jacke picked up. It was just a normal conversation, but then she began asking questions about who I was. This time, I answered her honestly and didn’t dance around anything that hurt. We let each other see little pieces of who we are. That phone call made me question my fear. Is it better to let someone know you or never risk being hurt? I have believed all my life that relationships are the most important aspect of life, but it wasn’t until that phone call and this moment that I am able to tell you what I believe.