Jesse - Bellevue, Washington
Entered on November 28, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that identity is hidden in a new pair of Lee Pipes. When I was 8 years old I sported a sea-blue turtle neck that was tight enough to turn my face the same color as the shirt. My mom, my personal fashion designer, had also picked out the beige safari pants that I wore tightly buttoned above my belly button. I defined fashion.

I remember that on this particular day we were on our way to the hairstylist to get my annual perm. As a boy my age there were many things to dislike: broccoli, showers, division, and 5th graders were probably the worst of them. For me it was my “are you a girl or a boy” mullet. My mom told me she would trade away her whole collection of black shoes to keep my curls so I figured the long hair was going to be a permanent resident.

Gary, my best friend and neighbor, was the Cosmopolitan for 8 year olds. He had a buzz cut, lightly frosted with yellow bleached tips, and Pipes. They were the baggiest pants I had ever seen. I loved hanging out with Gary and wanted to be just like him. It was my 9th birthday when everything changed. Lucy, Gary’s mom, bought me my first pair of Lee Pipes.

I believe that my identity is formed through experiences and relationships with others. I believe that success is generated through this search for identity and also through connections with different types of people. The day I got my first pair of Pipes was the day I started my journey in search of who I am. The world is a shopping mall and each person is a different department store. I believe that the more people I can meet and learn from the more I will grow. I will never know who will hire me for my next job or who will be able to help me out down the road. I believe that we need to realize that no matter if you like or dislike a person, he or she has had experiences different from your own that you can grow from.

I believe that I need to listen rather than speak. I learn a lot more this way and create closer relationships with others. I know my opinion is important but it is not always relevant. I believe that if I do not need to take a side or state an opinion then I shouldn’t. The neutral side is the balcony. From up there I can watch situations unfold and prosper from them without bias. I believe it is important to find those people that challenge my thoughts about myself and the world around me. These kinds of critiques allow me to strengthen some of my own beliefs or adopt others. I believe there is no such thing as wasted time because each new experience builds on who I am.