This I Believe

Krista - Harrah, Oklahoma
Entered on February 7, 2008

In this world there is hate, love, war, peace, failure, success, corruption, and kindheartedness. Where do we fall? I believe that we are all are searching for where we fit in. Not only where we fit in with a materialistic and judgmental world, but where we fit in with ourselves. People are quick to criticize what is around them. We like to say don’t judge and try to teach ourselves to not judge others, but we all need to take an introspective look on how we judge ourselves.

There is a cliché that goes “you are your harshest critic” and another that says “you are your own worst enemy”. I don’t think these come anywhere close to the atrocities that we cause ourselves. My biggest blow to myself has been self image.

I am five feet tall, one hundred fifteen pounds, fairly attractive, and utterly convinced that failure is not acceptable. I have pushed myself so far to my limits that I have denied myself so many things that I felt I did not deserve. I have never spent the night at a girlfriend’s house, talking about pointless things and just enjoying myself. Instead, I studied every moment that I possibly could. I have not ever just lounged around the house in my underwear and done nothing all day. Instead, I have worked full time since I was sixteen although my family’s situation did not require me to do so. I have never called my mom and asked for twenty bucks because I really wanted a new CD that came out. Instead I have listened so little music that it is impossible for me to name the title and artist of more than ten to twelve songs.

So what exactly have I been doing? I have been pushing myself to my physical and emotional limits as long as I can remember. I once spent three hours a day for four months on a Science Fair project. I went to International Science Fair and was awarded a $25,000 scholarship to the University of Indiana. I hate science fair. I do not like doing the project, putting together the board, or talking to judges who think they are the most intelligent people on earth. I have never liked science fair. Why did I do it? Because I would have thought myself a failure if I hadn’t.

When I was seventeen, I moved out. I did not have family problems and I was not being rebellious. I decided that I was a burden to my family and that I needed to take care of myself to absolve them of any financial obligation to me. My parents did not want to let me move out, but I refused to fail in my objective. I tore my loving family apart. I made a hole in our relationship that I will never be able to repair. All because I thought I had to.

I have recently had these epiphanies. I do not have to succeed at all that I do. Not every moment must be productive. It is okay to ask for help. I do not know how I got to be the way that I am, but I know that I am not the only person out there like this. Please be conscious about searching for yourself, because we all do it. Know that seemingly constructive behavior can actually be detrimental to yourself. The real you, not what people see or the job or the education or any of that. The part of you that feels pain, disappointment, happiness, and other emotions that only you can feel for yourself. I believe I can find myself, but I will never get back the twenty years that I lost.