This I Believe

Shyan - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 17, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

An Endless Struggle- One Against the World

I am unique. The day I lose my individuality is the day I die and become one with the Earth. We are all different for a reason; diversity has been the basis of existence since the dawn of mankind. We see in an array of colors; we hear in a symphony of sounds; we smell in a potpourri of scents; we feel in a melting pot of emotion. Shouldn’t we show that we do? We should express our true selves; this I believe.

My freshman year in high school was a chaotic ballet. In trying to tie together family, grades, and my social life, I became entangled in a web of disarray, and of all the self-imposed responsibilities I was to uphold, securing my spot in the teenage social hierarchy seemed to be the most complex. High school was a new chapter in my life. For some reason, the carefree, amiable kids I had spent years with were now bitter, hormone-riddled teenagers. But what bothered me the most was that almost every one of my friends had become shallow. It turns out that anyone who couldn’t keep up with the random trends at the time would be kicked out of society to go sit in the corner with the rejects. I learned that the painful way.

I must have missed a memo. Whatever happened to “it’s cool to be yourself?” I guess that wasn’t true; All of the kids I went to elementary and middle school with didn’t accept me for who I was anymore; as a matter of fact, anyone who didn’t listen to the right music, wear the right clothes, or have the right lifestyle was simply shunned.

Of course, I didn’t want to be a reject, so I decided to change myself to the standards of those around me. I needed a new style, and what better place to go for this than the mall? As I strolled past Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle apparel, I took note of the people inside (nine out of ten of the customers were teenagers, by the way). The boys expressed themselves with overpriced, dull t-shirts and ripped, faded jeans which all looked the same, and the girls were more accessorized than Christmas trees. Was this really what I wanted?

After examining what I was about to become, I realized that I would be wasting my time. I took on a new idea; instead of slaving over turning myself into a bland copy of someone else, I should focus on who I am inside my heart and outside society. I let go of my conformist desires and aimed to be an individual. Life became less stressful, and I was fine with being rejected. Actually, if it wasn’t for the misfits, humanity as a whole would be nothing but a one-dimensional grey blur. Each person contributes to humanity in a special way, and I want to be proud of who I am.