I know who I am because I stay true to myself. I would not allow myself to be a shadow of some other person that doesn’t lead the life I’d ultimately want to lead. As an adult now I do not put myself into situations I could not control. This belief was tested in my first year of high school. I was so excited to have older friends so when I was invited to hang out with them late one night I snuck out. I did not want them to think I was a “square”. When I found out they planned to toilet paper and egg the principal’s house I was sketchy. I asked myself, “Is this right? Am I the kind of person who vandalizes other people’s property for fun?” The answer is no. I couldn’t do it! It wasn’t me. I had to think quickly get out of this situation. So I made up an excuse and told them that my mother called and told me to come home. They understood and assured me that next time they went out I would be invited again. But I did not wait for the next invitation. I approached them a week later to let them know that we did not have anything in common so I couldn’t hang out with them anymore. They didn’t understand but I didn’t care. This was my first step in building my character. Eventually, I made a four new friends, Katrina, Christine, April, and Ytzaen. We got along so well, we hung out all through high school. We all stayed true to ourselves. It is so fulfilling to be surrounded be people who allow you to be who you are. As I got older I began to believe more and more in this philosophy and from this I can honestly say that I have no regrets about my past. I have made my share of mistakes. And from that I have learned. I believe I am on the right path; I am in college working towards building a career. I would not want to live anyone else’s life because I have worked hard to make my life a good one. The reason I feel this way is simply because I stayed true to myself. I am grateful that I experienced this early in life and I am glad that I know who I am and what I am about. This pressure to take on a different persona to please others doesn’t just affect teenagers; it affects adults of all ages, men and women. I believe that if everyone stayed true to themselves, our world wouldn’t consist of fake people who pretend their whole life. I honestly I believe like pretending to be someone else is a waste of time, it makes two people one person and if more people did this individualism wouldn’t exist. Staying true to me got me to where I am now; drug-free, in school, and motivated.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.