I Do Not Believe In Giving Up

Brandon - Bloomfield, New Mexico
Entered on May 5, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Brandon L

I do not believe in giving up. I belong to a very strong liberal “post modern” family and was raised with the ideas of spirituality and self expression, freedom, love, peace, and compromise, so when my family and I moved from California (I was about three) to the small town of Bloomfield, a highly conservative, religious small town where the different are shunned and the arts are spit upon, it was only a short time before it was made clear I didn’t belong.

As I grew older, I showed very promising talents in the arts. One of my first memories was being praised among my classmates for drawing three-dimensional birds. My family and friends provided infinite love and motivation towards my talents, while the rest of the community showed disgust. I would be picked on and prodded at by the athletic. I would be called queer when I sang or played the piano. For years I was constantly harassed by almost everyone around me. My will began to corrode and my motivation melted away into hate. What had originally started as a wonderful talent transformed into a dark mark I had permanently bore to my forehead. I became pessimistic and began to wander through life surrounded by a cloud of disgust… I lost my expression and meaning, eventually becoming lost in the darkness that hate and discrimination spreads over the world. I threatened teachers, I hated my family, and soon became one of the monsters that I despised. In order to properly vent I tried sports, but was just the fat unathletic kid picked last in dodge ball. I tried FFA, student council, dance, every popular activity offered. Though these activities encouraged others to grow and flourish, they served me as a constant reminder of another reason why I was useless.

But my life truly changed when I tried out for the school musical. I made more friends in those four months of rehearsal than I had in a lifetime. I finally found a way to healthily express myself and show the world that I could do something, and I was good at it! But finding my calling didn’t mean finding community acceptance. The burn of ridicule returned tenfold. The students had aged and were more vicious than before, but the stage had helped me to bud and resist the blows the town of Bloomfield threw at me. With each attack I flourished, and after years of making music and the stage my life, I bloomed into the person I am today. This year I was awarded with superior ratings at the state thespian convention, which is huge! If I had given up like before, I would still be wandering in the dark with many of the tormented souls of Bloomfield. But with the help of my friends, teachers, and my astounding family, I have grown to become a successful and talented artist. This I believe: perseverance is truly the key to happiness.