Ian - Cullowhee, North Carolina
Entered on September 17, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: tolerance

I believe in order for someone to achieve their ultimate joy in life, they must get over themselves and accept everyone for who they are.

When I was younger, growing up in the mountains during the early 1990’s, my family was never quite as good as the next. But don’t get me wrong, we were a family like any other; a mother and father to teach us right from wrong, to teach us proper manners and to never take candy from a stranger. We used to go out to breakfast every Saturday morning, celebrate all the holidays in succession, and even go to the park for a day only to follow up with a small hike to Baskin Robin’s ice cream parlor. However, according to some of the people that we came to encounter on our various family ventures, we couldn’t possibly be a functional family; my sister and I were adopted. I always knew my sister and I were somewhat different, not how we functioned as human beings, but how our skin tone was a few shades darker than everyone else’s. I’ve come to learn that my sister being mixed with Black and Indian, and me being Honduran with two Caucasian parents wasn’t settling well with the people of the mountains during the time.

I was always one of those people who sat back and observed my surroundings thoroughly over and over again. After awhile I realized that all the bad remarks and expressions in my past were not only directed towards my family, but they were directed towards many other families as well. Growing up in the situation that I did really helped me form a strong opinion about judging books by their covers. I had a chance to observe both ends of the spectrum in regards to how different races of people reacted towards another. I finally came to a conclusion that ignorance is not bliss. The only reason people are afraid or mad at each other is because of the unknown. As a result of my observations, I started slowly changing, or started forming because of my young age, my outlook on life. I figured no one should go through what I did or, worse, what I’ve seen other people go through; but instead, I thought people would be happier if they just got along.

By the time I was in high school, I was starting to no longer dwell upon the hurtful things in this world, such as racists and racism in general, but I began cherishing people’s differences instead and found myself becoming a happier person for it. I began listening to what other people really had to say, not just agreeing by nodding my head while examining the nostril region of their faces. It was working; I was becoming happier and the people whom I was surrounded by were also. However, there are still those people out there that are totally against everything happy in the world; and sadly, I don’t believe this will change anytime soon in the future. I do believe however, that if everyone gets over their own insecurities and accepts people for who they are, this world would be a much happier and friendlier place.