i beleive

ariel - auburn, Washington
Entered on November 10, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks

The years of child hood are the best years a person has. They are a time of carefree joy. One can be themselves and not be judged by others in society. I believe being naive as a young child is often better than being older and aware. As we grow older and become more alert to what is going on around us, we often stare at the faults of others rather than look into the good within each other. We become more judgmental and bias.

When I was around eight years old my uncle married a woman who had a daughter named Cassidy. Cassidy was the same age as I was, and we shared a lot of the same personality traits. We would laugh at the same dumb jokes, even if they were not funny at all. We went to the same elementary school, but had no classes together, we were in the same grade but didn’t have lunch together either. I would go to her house every single day to play with our Barbies, go to the park, and give each other makeovers. As far as I was concerned she was exactly like me. I was so young and naïve I failed to notice she had Down syndrome with a life expectancy of merely 11. Cassidy and I would have recess with each other every once in a while where we would swing, play on the monkey bars, and chase each other playing tag. None of my friends would join in and play with us because they believed she was diseased and a threat. My best friends that I would normally play with on a regular basis, would just stare and refuse to join in and play with us. The teachers and recess instructors, who are expected to be older and more mature, would just stare in wonder as to why we were such great companions. They did not understand how someone “normal” could be friends with someone “disabled”.

As I began to grow older and feed off of everything I was being told by my peers, I began to drift away from Cassidy. The marriage between my uncle and his wife did not last and Cassidy was torn from our family forever. A couple years passed by and I expected to never see her again. One day walking through the halls of my middle school I ran across her. She failed to remember who I was so every day I would just begin a casual conversation with her. After about a week of doing so I was confronted by the vice principal and was told that because Cassidy and I were so different it would be best of we did not begin to form such a close friendship. The people that were aware of her situation failed to notice that she was simply a person like everyone else.

When we are young we look past the differences that set us apart from one another. As we grow we tend to stare directly at the dissimilarities which influence how we see them as a whole. Being naïve is one of the greatest characteristics we are gifted with as young children; it is carefree, innocent, and selfless. Looking beyond the characteristics that separate us individually is the first step to a judgmental free world.