This I Believe

Lena - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on February 15, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

This, I Believe…

I am me. That is the phrase that is present on my MySpace. That is the phrase I would tell you if you asked me who I am. That is the phrase I’ve always used and will continue to use to describe myself. I am me. Because if I weren’t, then who else would I be?

Growing up, I don’t ever recall having any “redefining moments”. Nothing of that sort. I was a regular kid. Or at least, I thought I was a regular kid. Basketball… sleepovers… a growing love for Archie comics. It wasn’t until first grade that I realized I wasn’t like every other kid.

It was an exceptionally nice day. Perhaps this had to do with the fact that it was the day before summer vacation. The birds were chirping, the sun was shining, and all was good in the world. I was on the monkey bars at the school playground. My two best friends were with me. One of them was moving away and before she left, she handed each of us a lollipop and told us that she enjoyed our company because we were different. At first I was confused. Different? I was just a regular 1st first grader who happened to like monkey bars a whole lot. I later realized that she meant I was different ethnically. I took this as a compliment. I thought being normal was good. But I made a best friend because I was different. Needless to say, being different is great.

Because I’m Vietnamese, I have an entirely different culture from others around me. And because I was born here, influences of the American traditions have resulted in me and my hybrid of both cultures. Ever since then, I’ve grown to believe that I am not one of a million. I am one in a million. That doesn’t just apply to me. I believe the same thing for everyone. We’re all different in our own unique ways and that’s what makes every individual special. For this reason, I believe in preservation of self identity.

The not-so-average perceptions of those around me are revealed in the aspects that set me aside from others. Granted, I don’t do completely outrageous things, but being different is reflected in my everyday life. I contradict myself all the time. My diet consists of mostly rice. I attend a one of a kind high school that encourages individuality. I celebrate two New Year’s. I eat my toast by folding it over in half and biting it straight down the middle. And I randomly quote movies or hum commercial tunes.

But what can you do? I’m different and that’s perfectly fine; because that’s what keeps me from being a carbon copy of everyone else. That is my response to everyone out there, wondering who I am. That is the phrase I’ve always used and will continue to use to describe myself. I am me. Because if I weren’t, then who else would I be?