This I Believe

Becky - Kirkland, Washington
Entered on June 12, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

The Courage to Stand Alone

One day at school, I remember hearing someone remark that another person was wearing Abercrombie sweatpants, and that it wasn’t right for them to be wearing Abercrombie clothes. This did not make any sense to me. Can it be possible that people are so generic that they can be categorized by what brands of clothes they wear? Are clothes so important that nothing else about the person shows through?

It is obvious by looking at the students at any junior high or high school that certain clothes, styles, or ideas are popular. It is important to look at how these trends start.

One person brings in something new and others quickly follow with the same clothes, shoes, or whatever it happens to be this time. It always amazes me how quickly people follow others instead of being themselves.

Andrew Jensen was a biographer in the early 1900’s who studied hundreds of people’s lives and what made each unique. He said, “The real acid test of courage is to be just your honest self when everyone else in trying to be like somebody else.” It’s a favorite quote of mine and sums up why I believe in individuality—being who I want to be no matter what anyone else says or does.

In books, the heroines are always girls with distinctive personalities and a sense of independence. There is never a story about a girl who read that a celebrity wore some kind of shoes, so she went out and bought the same shoes.

No, these characters don’t exist; they just aren’t very interesting. No one wants to read about someone who just follows the lead of others and does nothing new or important for herself.

I think that people copy each other either because they lack the individuality to think of their own ideas or the courage to stand alone

Individuality is far more important than how popular I am or how many friends I have. It is that individuality that shows who I really am, and that is what counts.

This I believe.