This I Believe

Jacob - 17601, Pennsylvania
Entered on November 5, 2007

I believe in not apologizing for who I am. I believe in living without regret and without fear of being judged. I believe that one of the most important ways to live life is authentically.

When I was in fifth grade, I was obsessed with one band. They were the most rockin’ interesting and awesome thing that I had ever heard. The only thing that was played was Hanson. Mmmbop was the best.

My school did something awesome that year, they installed a sound system into the cafeteria, which played music during the lunch period, and every Friday, students were invited to bring in their favorite music.

When I heard about the new lunch policy, I knew that I had to bring in Hanson. There was a problem though. Most of my school hated Hanson. In fact, Hanson was scorned for their “feminine” appearance. But I was convinced that if people really listened, they would understand the power of Hanson.

One Friday, I did it. I finally took out my Hanson CD and brought it up to the lunch lady. She informed me that they would put mine on! Hanson was going to be played! The music started playing and I could tell that everyone else was enjoying it also— at least that’s what I thought.

Carrying my CD out to recess, I felt like I was on the top of the world. Nothing could burst my bubble!

Then came Tyler. Tyler grabbed my Hanson C.D and started yelling: “Hanson I stupid! They sound like girls!! Their hair is gross!!” I was scared. Maybe I was wrong to bring in the music. Maybe Hanson really was dumb. Maybe I had bad music taste.

Tyler threw my CD on the ground and I heard a shattering noise. I somehow wriggled by him, grabbed my CD, and ran inside. After calming down, I looked down at my cd. The case was broken. I’d been wrong. People didn’t like my music. But I still did.

I’ve decided that life in this world is meaningful only if you encounter new ideas. I loved listening to Hanson, and I shared that with the world, even if people didn’t agree with me. Since that experience, I’ve realized that it is alright if not everyone agrees with what I have to say. It is alright if we all enjoy listening to different music. It’s alright if we all wear different clothes. If we follow different religions. If we have different views on war. If we look at life differently. It’s alright if we are all different people.

I wholeheartedly believe that bumping into people different from me is what makes life worthwhile; it’s how we grow as people. Without these differences in our lives, the excitement of life would die. By not living my life apologetically, there is a possibility I can change people that I meet, and that they, in turn can change the world. I believe in not apologizing for who I am.