This I Believe

Maggie - Leawood, Kansas
Entered on January 12, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

Some people have insatiable appetites for happiness. They put all their efforts into gleaning fulfillments by focusing on temporary satisfactions like money, love, and power. The most dangerous in this trio is power. Power prompts greed, wars, backstabbing, and social hierarchies.

As a young girl my family moved three times. The first two moves brought new friends to have slumber parties, trade lunch goodies, and share juicy secrets with. The third move, when I was twelve, was no walk in the park. This time people didn’t want another person in their group of friends; they wanted someone who could entertain them; someone to push around. Unfortunately, the uniform shop at my third Catholic grade school only sold new girls polos with huge targets sewn on the back. Suffice to say sixth grade was very difficult for me. I was easy to treat as a doormat and push around because of my low self esteem.

Almost every school day ended with me bursting into tears on the car ride home. My mom was my saving grace. Even when the girls at school were picking on me and I felt like I had no friends, I knew my mom would always be my best friend. I know it was hard for her to watch me get torn apart day after day, but the experience brought us closer together.

One day, in the midst of a terrible breakdown, my mom told me “keep your power, Maggie.” It was a phrase that never really made sense to me for awhile. She told me that when people tear others down it’s only because they are trying to fill a void in their life.

Historically, evil has always been prompted by a ravenous appetite for power; to name a few, Hitler’s avarice to rule all of Europe, and the executives at Enron laundering money to satisfy their greed. To the girls at my school, the power they were trying so desperately to have came by way of lip gloss, promiscuity, and being at the top of the social totem pole. How strange human nature is that a few snippety, selfish, mean “leaders” can heed the support of so many spineless followers. I gave these girls my power through being a naïve, embarrassed, pushed around target.

One day I decided that was stupid. The more I thought about it, whenever I cried at school, and did stupid things they told me would make me more popular, I was giving them my power. Through doing nothing I was screaming to them that I didn’t care. That’s when I stopped caring what others think. Now I do what I want without second-guessing myself. “Keeping my power” has grown to give me self-confidence in all areas of my life and gives me strength when I get scared. Worrying is just another way of giving others my power. Thus, I believe I’m best served to focus on using my power to satisfy my goals.