This I Believe

Nicole - Gilberts, Illinois
Entered on May 3, 2007

I believe in being true to yourself and not trying to be something you’re not.

At the age of thirteen, I moved to a very small town of five hundred people. Of course, being the new kid in town, I had no friends at all. My previous school was a Catholic school, having nearly as many students as there were people in my new town. I had no previous knowledge or opinions of my new classmates, so my perspective was completely unbiased. Because of this, I could see that finding the right group to fit in to would be rather difficult.

One group in particular was the “popular” group. This particular elite group called themselves the Sparkles, after one of New York’s teen magazines. Being a young teen girl, I was naive and adolescent and the only thing I could think of was that I wanted to be like them. The Sparkles would invite me to eat lunch and hangout after school everyday. At first they seemed friendly, kind, and caring. We talked about boys, clothes, and all the stuff teenage girls talk about. It wasn’t until a few months later that I noticed myself fixing my hair, wearing different clothes, and acting more like the Sparkles. I would even bring the same sandwich as the others for lunch. All of us had to be exactly the same, no one better than the other. Unfortunately, the group was so immature that the person with a different sandwich would have to through it out. For a while, I loved the experience. I thought that being in the popular group would make me happier.

I was wrong. I saw myself becoming unhappy because I belonged to the Sparkles. I was tired of acting and eating like them. I had forgotten all the activities I truly liked doing. For example, I hadn’t been playing volleyball or participating in band. I wanted to start my seventh grade year all over again and I knew just how to do it.

Little by little I stopped eating lunch, going to the mall and hanging out with the Sparkles. I made knew friends and enjoyed being myself again. I even tried out for and made the volleyball team. I went back to being myself completely. Now that I am seven years more wise, I take my experience with the Sparkles as a stepping stone. I realized that being popular didn’t buy me happiness. I learned that happiness comes from being yourself and not by pretending you are someone else.