As teenagers today, we often confront conflicts such as stereotypes of race, gender, appearance, and religion and peer pressure. Not only do we face these challenges, but we also must battle through our own inner conflicts, such as trying to “fit it”. A large part of adolescence is spent dealing with this question of “Who am I?” For many teens this is an incredibly difficult question, and can sometimes take years to answer. I believe when “stereo-typical” groups are formed that people begin trying to tell you are instead of you making that decision for yourself. This can further slow the process down, making your question more difficult to answer.
One of the hardest facts for teens to admit is that our parents are almost always right. They try to tell you, guide you, and let you know who you are, yet they are the last people we want to hear advice from. Instead, we hear “advice” from our friends, even though they are not the ones who truly know us; we listen because they are the people we are trying to impress. At times seems easier to conform so that we can avoid rejection rather than having to tackle the difficult task of opening up and letting people know who we truly are. This can seem easier because we know that some people might not accept the real us.
When people look at me, they can’t seem to get past my appearance: the slim, athletic body, blonde hair, and blue eyes. Sometimes when I go to the mall or even a party, I can feel people staring and whispering about me, even if they have never met me before. If I am hanging out with a group of guy friends, even people who know me will make snide remarks, calling me a whore and make up rumors about me that have no truth in them at all.
In addition, the infamously popular “dumb blonde jokes” get old after hearing them time and time again. The reputation of a “mean girl” or even someone who’s easy become hurtful and demeaning comments that are very difficult to handle. I have come by my traits naturally. I can’t change the way I look, even though sometimes I may desperately want to.
A lot of times I will ask, “What am I doing? I am not being myself”. Unfortunately, this is mostly because people have tried to make me into something that I am not, and the more I hear it, the more I believe it.
I believe that rejection can sometimes be the best action for our own personal development. I believe that we shouldn’t be affected by what others think of us. I believe that I should be able to choose who I want to be, and not have others choose for me. I believe that no person should have to hide a piece of his/herself to confirm another’s opinion. This, I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.