This I Believe Essay
Walking down the sunlit streets of a small college town in northern California, I find myself constantly disappointed by what I see. My eyes scan over tight little clusters of consumer labels and “fashionable” emblems. I see the same shirt on seven girls and the same shorts on ten different guys. All with no relation to each other but the idea pounded in to their head by society that to be loved you must first sacrifice all individually and hide who you are beneath thin veneers of expensive clothing. Abercrombie and Fitch, American Eagle, Armani, Gucci and Hollister. All of these are not just over priced clothing stores. They are prisons for the mind.
But this is not a new phenomenon. All through out time the same message is forced into the minds of society. Don’t stand out. Don’t be different. Whether in the Ancient royalty of Europe or today’s Hollywood residing sovereigns fashion has always ruled. In the end what had this mind set led to?
Sitting at a table in a little local coffee shop avoided by many for its taboo name and strange exotic patrons, I watch the discrimination and prejudice said to have been eradicated play out in front of me. All around me I hear harsh words of judgment thrown at those who are different from the norm. Queer, faggot, dyke, lesbo, gothic, heretic, hippy, stoner, Emo, insane and the worst, freak. They flow around me like a snake, tightening and constricting my movement until I can’t but watch the horror in front of me. The distrust that society has for the alternative actions, beliefs, styles and sexuality comes from the anti-individual mind set. If this decline in the ability to express our selves continues we will find the world reverting back to the way it was before scores of men and women changed this world for the better. Segregation and discrimination will once again rule our lives. Unless we can alter the way society feels, the world has a very dark future in store.
So what do I believe? I believe that society will get better. I believe that one day no one will have to hide who they are or how they feel. I believe that one day society will change. Because if I don’t believe in that, there is no real point in living.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.