Sarah - Manomet, Massachusetts
Entered on December 23, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: respect

I believe in respect. I believe that in order to gain respect from others you need to have self respect. I believe that everyone has a story that makes them different and there is no reason to discriminate. I have a story. I have a story that makes me different just like everyone else.

In elementary and middle school one would think there would be little care for people who are different, but there is. There are the cliques; the “popular” people, and the others. I was considered an other; I had my own group of friends and I had my own life. In other’s eyes, I was different, I didn’t dress the way people thought that I should. I was not the “perfect” person that everyone expected me to be. I had people make fun of me for things I did that weren’t considered “normal”. I had a tough time getting through school because of these people. At the time, I did not have the self respect that I needed to get through the difficult times alone. I had friends that helped me, but when you are younger that’s not something that you really want to deal with, or know how to deal with.

One day when I was in fourth grade my bus driver told me to make friends with the girl down the street from me. Little did I know that she would change my life. At first she seemed very amiable and I respected that, but once I started to get to know her things changed. She taught me things that I would never have done. Like swearing and going against my mother’s word. Then one day she brought me to her house and she showed me something that changed everything. She showed me her brother’s gun and she pointed it at me. I felt as if my life flashed before my eyes. At that moment I knew that I needed to get away. She took advantage of me by using me, and stealing from me. She turned me into something that I was not, but what was I supposed to do? I was taught to respect others. In a way she taught me a lesson out of a bad situation. Even though you are supposed to respect those around you, not everyone is perfect and deserves your respect.

I believe that I would not have gotten through this without having self respect and respect for others. You should treat others as you would like to be treated. My mother taught me this I was in elementary school and I have stuck to it to ever since. I know now how important it is and without it I would not be the person that I am today.