Embracing Individuality

Rachel - Binghamton, New York
Entered on May 31, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt. In a world where judgment is so easily passed, I wish for the right of individualism without conviction.

I go to high school, where I’ve learned that the raw viciousness, and tendency to give in to stereotypes is like a microcosm of the world. My fellow students never cease to shock me with an everlasting amount of crude remarks, which vary from that kid is so weird, no wonder he has no friends, to why would she wear her hair like that when it obviously doesn’t compliment the structure of her face? We are all guilty of murmuring snide raps like these, and I am not just talking about high school students. The thing is, we are all different. We all have quirks, and we are all “weird” in one way or another. It is only those who are gutsy enough to be openly weird who are bashed for it. We should all really look up to these people, because they are the ones who know exactly who they are, and are perfectly comfortable in their own skin. You shouldn’t be afraid to approach the “weird ones,” because more often than not, they will teach you something. Give the “weird ones” the benefit of the doubt.

Some people think that it is human nature to act on our aggressive animal instincts. Understandable, but I’d like to think that it is the ability to override said aggression by use of conscience that makes us unique as human beings. In an ideal world, people would know to listen before making assumptions. Give those with conflicting interests the benefit of the doubt.

So many times have I altered my own opinion due to what others have said. It is easy to fall into that trap. People can be very persuasive, whether it is intentional or not. By rule of majority, we all start to believe gossip and give into generalizations. There is good and bad in all of us, but there are always layers. People find it frighteningly easy to gang up on someone they know nothing about. Don’t let yourself be persuaded by the nay Sayers. Give the oppressed the benefit of the doubt.

A few nights ago, I was tutoring a younger boy. This boy was borderline illiterate, and could hardly put together a legitimate sentence. It was after school, so I was tired and very impatient. His social skills were minimal, so it was nearly impossible to settle him down from his outbursts, let alone get him to focus on his homework. I had all but given up when he pulled from his backpack a poem he had written for his mother. Needless to say, it was one of the most endearing poems I had ever read. Better than any poem I could write, at least. It was a simple poem, about how his mother had always preferred sewing and reading over baking, and a lot of the words were spelled wrong. Nonetheless, I was startled when my eyes started to well up in the realization that people will never fail to impress me.