This I Believe

Jamie - Hillsdale, New Jersey
Entered on November 25, 2007

Stereotypes. You’re fat. You’re too skinny. You’re a different color. You’re ugly. You’re prettier than her. You’re smarter. I’ve been living with stereotypes my entire life, and remarks from other people would hurt me deep inside. But not anymore. They might hurt, but I won’t take them personally because I feel sorry for the people who decide to say such things. They have nothing else to do except mock me. Fine, at least I’m valuable to your time. I’ll fight against the expectations, I’ll fight against the spiteful words, and I’ll fight against the devastating pain. Because I believe in acceptance.

Back in first grade, people used to tease me for my looks. Everyday. I wanted to cry, but I never did. My heart cringed and with every single word, it tore me apart. I just wanted to go home, where it was the only place I felt accepted. Sure, I had friends, but there are all kinds of people who live in this world. I would say to myself, why do I have to be like this? Why do I have to look like this? Why do I have to live like this? Would I have to go through this every single day of my life? But now that I have grown and learn new things everyday, I figured out that people who have stereotypical thoughts towards others are ignorant. They don’t know how every culture contributes to this society and how many accomplishments they’ve achieved. And I’m proud of what my culture has done for this society.

Being in high school, some people have matured, and others still have more to learn. I wish they would step away from that mirror and observe what’s going on around them. Learning from my experiences, now I am open to everyone. I don’t care how you look, I don’t care how many people hate you, and I don’t care if you have a past. Take me for who I am, and I’ll give you the same gratitude. You know why? I have a past too, and I have a story to tell. Fulton Oursler once said, “Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves- regret for the past and fear of the future.” I used to have that fear, but now I’m just waiting for what the future will throw at me. I want to see what is going to happen, and I’ll be ready for it.