This I Believe

Ashley - Austin, Texas
Entered on November 29, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: setbacks

I Believe in Mistakes

I am a delinquent. I don’t abide by the law. I lie to my parents. Growing up, my parents never saw this side of me. Raising me was a breeze next to my rebellious sister. I put on a shield of innocence to guard me from my wrongdoings until my waywardness finally got the best of me.

My hands trembled, holding the steering wheel in a death grip as I saw the red and blue lights flash in the rearview mirror. I felt my heartbeat throughout my body as the officer stepped out of his vehicle and made his way to my driver-side window. My mind raced to find an impenetrable story that would uphold my history of innocence. I thought I had a legitimate reason for drinking and driving. My friend had been injured on our night out on the town, and I felt it was my responsibility to see that she made it home safely and sought medical attention. As I rolled down the window, my “legitimate” alibi flew out. I didn’t have a good reason for drinking and driving. As I confessed my acts to the officer, I felt the mask of innocence slipping from my face—uncovering raw shame and regret.

I decided I was going to keep my ticket a secret from my parents. I went a week without food, drink, or happiness. I could think of nothing else but the long road of trouble I was facing. It wasn’t until I picked up the phone to call my mom that the emptiness and guilt escaped.

I believe in the power of mistakes. Before my ticket, I had a hard time confronting my mom about alcohol, drugs, and sex. I never opened up to her about the peer pressures I faced everyday. I put popularity and social priorities ahead of my parent’s trust and my personal integrity. I do not regret my actions. It took getting caught to teach me… no one is perfect, certainly not me. I make mistakes. I don’t always take the high road. I can get caught.

My parents no longer have “bragging rights” about me when their friends confront them with child-raising problems. I don’t deserve to sit on the pedestal of perfection. Although the news of my DUI hit my mother hard, it brought us closer in the end. I learned who is there for me and who isn’t. My mom never left my side through all the tears, frustration, and fear. Her corrective guidance and support put me back on the right path. She taught me that although I may not be perfect, invincible, or free from making mistakes, I will always have her love to guide me through the trials of life.

Sometimes it takes mistakes to remind you of how much you have to lose. In the end, it isn’t the mistake itself that really matters. It’s what you learn from those mistakes—about yourself and about those who love you—that are the most precious lessons of all.