This I Believe
I didn’t always know who I was. I thought maybe I wanted to be a cowboy when I grew up. How about an astronaut, a meteorologist, a missionary, a musician? Maybe even a teacher like my mom, or a lawn man like my dad. Maybe I thought I was supposed to grow up and get married, to a woman, and have kids of my own, just like my father did when he turned 21. Or maybe I would end up with a man, and be condemned because it wasn’t holy. Was I supposed to attend college like my mother did, even though my father did not? How was I to know all of these things, and to make sure that every piece of me found it’s way into it’s correct place so that I became the person I was meant to be?
It wasn’t until moving away to college that I began to realize, and accept, who I really was. I began to realize that not everyone has to grow up and be an exact replica of their parents, even if those parents really were the greatest parents in the world. Everyone is different, everyone has their own beliefs, and we are all created equally. Not one man should be set apart from another; we each bring something to this world. I bring something to this world. It wasn’t until moving away that I realized I can’t understand who I really am until I spend time with myself.
When I left for college, I was petrified that I was going to be alone, that I would have no friends. Back home, I was always with someone. I hated to be alone. I had never spent time really alone. Sure, I had my own room, my own car, so if I needed time alone to sort through things I could definitely get away for a little while. But it isn’t until you move to a big city where you know absolutely no one, and have no one to call up, to see if they want to grab a bite to eat, or shop at the mall. No one, I had no one. I was alone. And it didn’t hit me for a while. I was so glad to be free of the parents, free of the little sister. It’s what every teenager wants, right? Freedom, and their iPod. I thought I was set. After a few weeks, I really noticed that I was completely alone for the first time in my life and it was in this moment that serious introspection began to occur.
I am gay. Of course, I knew this long before I moved away, and so did the parents, but that’s a completely different story. During this self-observation, I began to learn that it was all right for me to be gay, and to also be the Christian that I had always been. Some may disagree with me, but then again, that’s the entire point of this essay correct? To get people to respect each other’s beliefs. I’ve learned many other things since I began spending time with myself, which I do daily. Some as simple as not liking the laundry detergent or the 1% milk my parents use, so I changed. (I now use All and drink 2%.) To some realizations as intricate as combining my homosexuality and my religion, and that it is completely ok, and healthy, for me to think differently than my loving parents.
Whitney Houston once sang, “The greatest love of all is easy to achieve. Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all.” I believe that actually knowing and accepting oneself is the only way to succeed in life. Though it may not be that easy, it truly is a necessity.
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