This I Believe
I believe in fairytales, but not in the way that one might expect. No magic mirror greets me in the morning, no verbose mice wait at my door, and I don’t catch a pumpkin carriage to school. However, just because the stories themselves aren’t grounded in reality, doesn’t mean that their founding principle — dreams, and the knowledge that those dreams can be reached — is only true in Wonderland.
I was in second grade when my class was asked to write a short paper on the topic “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We had two cowgirls, five astronauts, three presidents, eight professional sports players, and a scattering of other professions. The teacher laughed and then pointed out the requirement “Has to be REALISTIC”. It seemed so adverse to me, even then, to be telling children so young and full of potential that their dreams were out of reach. The teachers didn’t want us to be disappointed when we realized these aspirations were largely impossible, but I thought, someone has to become those things, why not the individuals in this classroom?
I don’t like being told what I am capable of and what I am not. Certainly the costs of reaching for the real prize are great, but the costs of not trying are even greater. I want to take the risk of caring, so that I can leap from obscurity to greatness, without being cornered in mediocrity. And sometimes this has meant doing things in unconventional ways. My decision to graduate from high school a year early was originally met with much opposition, but it was what I wanted to do, what I knew was right for me. I was told I would have difficulty getting college acceptances and scholarships, that I didn’t possess the social maturity, that I might regret it later. But if I never took that chance, how would I know if I wouldn’t always regret being too afraid to try? It was a risk I had to take: I couldn’t imagine always looking at that other side, wondering. And, I can now proudly say that I have been accepted with scholarships to every university I applied to. To me, doing things in an average way only merits average results. I can’t do things simply because I should, or it’s logical. I have to do them because I take it to heart to do so.
I believe in fairytales because I want to know that I can change my life, the people around me, the world. I am not helpless and do not have to accept things the way that they are. I can strive for perfection simply because nothing else will do. I want to know that if I keep my standards high, take risks, and throw myself, body, mind, and spirit into my dreams, I can achieve them. I can have my happy ending. I won’t settle for less, because when it comes down to it, nothing fits like that glass slipper.
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