Gaining a life of my own

Valerie - Seattle, Washington
Entered on September 15, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

“All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naive. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: that I am nobody but myself.” -Ralph Ellison. I believe in being true to yourself.

My belief in being true to yourself has been tested many times in my life and I’m challenged everyday to stay true to what I believe in. Growing up my next door neighbor and myself were best friends, for years I copied her because I was too scared to be different from her. This continued well into middle school. I pretended I enjoyed the same things as she did, It was then when my beliefs were really going to be tested. I had decided when I first started middle school that I would stay away from drugs and people who used them. It was when my best friend growing up started using is when I started to be who I am today. I almost gave into the tempation because I was so frightened that she wouldn’t be my friend anymore, but the day that I was asked to join in and use drugs I saide no and I can stand here today and tell you that this was the best decision that I have made in my entire life. Because on that day my belief was challenged and I overcame it by being true to who I am.

My best friend growing up and I are now no longer friends because drugs became too important to her and she knew that I would never do drugs with her. I now have friends who accept me for who I am and the beliefs that I have. With my friends now I can be myself. I don’t have to like the same things as they do to remain friends with them. Because of the decision that I made to stay away from drugs, I lost one of my best friends, but I gained a life of my own.