This I Believe

Melanie - Houston, Texas
Entered on July 10, 2007

I believe that I can change the world. I always have, well at least since I was about six. This is not because I am some overzealous, bleeding-heart with my blinders on, so to speak. I learned that by changing my world, or rather my perception of my world, I could change the world around me.

My parents were (and still are) those wonderful parents that convince you can do anything. I could do pretty much anything for a six year old. Everything, that is, except go through life without a crippling paranoia that the world was going to come crashing down at any moment. No one knew how or why this paranoia developed. My greatest challenge at this point was competing in the first grade state spelling bee. I was terrified. I had prepared for months, and I knew that I had all of the knowledge necessary to achieve success. I just couldn’t get over what my Mom took to calling my “Mystery Fear”. Well, I was convinced to participate by my first grade teacher, Mrs. Darling, and sure enough, I won. My mom assured me that kind of courage was how I was going to change the world.

Now, twenty one years later, I still believe that I can change the world. I work for an amazing non-profit organization centered on animal welfare. I had gone about four months without ever receiving any truly tragic news. (News such as an animal’s expiration often loomed around the reality of my job.) I was wrapping up on a Monday afternoon when I was faced with the death of an animal that I had grown to love very much.

I found myself sobbing uncontrollably at my desk. I couldn’t believe that I was faced with this reality. I was at about the point when you have cried so much that you are literally gasping for air when my boss called me into his office. He explained to me that ”things like this are going to happen”, and “you really can’t change the world.” Something inside me rumbled. It was a feeling I remembered from that day at the Spelling Bee. The tears stopped and I said, “I know you are my boss, but you are wrong. I can change the world. My tears for the loss of life, even though some may view it as ‘ it’s just a dog’ is going to change the world-my world. In my world, I will always cry over loss. I don’t ever want to get used to seeing something pass. This is what makes me a passionate person, and this is what keeps me doing my job. This is how and why I will change the world.”

I am certain that I am not the only person with this frame of mind. I meet so many people every day that are determined to make the world a better place. I believe they are changing the world, and so am I.