This I Believe

Catie - Elkins Park, Pennsylvania
Entered on January 28, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Self Discovery

I am not the person everyone thinks I am. Sometimes I’m not even sure if I am the person I think I am. But I guess the fact that I have some glimmer of an idea as to who I might makes it equally as simple for others to make up their minds. I did not plan to figure it out. In fact, the feeling of emptiness due to not knowing makes it that much more exciting. But there I was just kind of lying there waiting for someone to trip over. And I tripped. And I fell. And here I am. I cannot say whether or not I have ever gotten back up from this sudden fall, I guess you could say I’m at that in between stage. But I guess it was that fall that made me take a look at who I was. Clearly it sounds like a typical mellow dramatic teenage perspective. But is that not what dictates who we are? When the perils and mishaps of life are thrusted upon us, how we choose to react and deal with them implies in some way our will power in general. It can be as simple as losing a friend. Let’s not lie to ourselves, as teenagers we know exactly who we want around and when. Who we need, on the other hand, is not always so simple or evident. Generally it takes them losing our trust in some way and us saying “Okay. You suck. Now leave.”

Oh the path to self discovery, full of losing friends and insecurities. Sounds like a blast. And yet, listen to its name. Self discovery. Most people spend their entire lives trying to figure out who they are. And because of this most never even figure it out. Obviously you are not just going to wake up one day and everything is going to dawn on you. The big man just did not want it that way. You need to discover yourself. You can find out who you are in the lyric of a song, in the words of someone you love, or in the midst of sadness and grief. But somewhere out there, you’re waiting to be found. Or tripped over in some cases. I find that the most profound, and usually most common way people discover themselves, is vicariously through someone else. I find myself to be scattered. I hear songs that make me think “oh hey there I am!” And other times simply talking to my friends, and through hearing their powerful words and messages, I see a bit of myself.

The way we handle grief and the unfortunate things that are brought upon us, is crucial to figuring out our mental stability. And when you are a sixteen year old girl just trying to make it into college for Christ sake, mental stability is KEY. Thinking that absolutely everyone is out to get you, and that the bad things happen to you is a result of you being a crappy person, is just a little irrational. And incredibly typical. I do not believe that as people we are punished for our faults. However, our faults are most certainly targeted. I am a push over. People walk all over me. I let it happen. It’s kind of just the way I function. I thought the fact that I never reacted to people’s unkindness towards me made me more likeable. Better than looking like the bad guy I guess. Until one day my faults were targeted like a deer in plain view during hunting season. Obviously I’ve dealt with things like, having people be condescending to me, or just simply letting someone yell at me, having little to no retaliation. But when the crap really hit the fan, I was not prepared. I was not ready to stand up and fight for myself. Luckily I tripped right over myself. I gave myself a hand and said “this is not the person you are.” I guess in essence, I’m not a door mat. So through the pain, which at the rate I was going was bound to happen, I found myself. And although it sucked, and boy did it hurt, having my flaws whipped into shape, was not so bad after all. Pain magnifies who we are. Love shows us who we want to be. Grief gives us stability. And essentially, we are the hands of God, ready to mold ourselves into the person we will someday discover.