Paint It Black

April - Niskayuna, New York
Entered on February 15, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that no one should be constricted by the bounds of their reputation. The saying goes that people always want what they can’t have. Everyone wishes for something different. So why can’t you want to be someone different too? Or even better, be able to show an unknown side of yourself to the world.

I am the opposite of punk rock. I wear plenty of bright colors on a day-to-day basis, with no evidence of rips and tears, safety pins, metallic studs, or skull motifs in my clothing. I don’t wear Converse high tops, leather jackets, or dark eye makeup. Some might say I’m lame: I’ve never smoked, tried any illegal substances, or been wasted; I don’t party; and oftentimes, conversation with my friends revolves around school.

But secretly, my toenails are painted black. It makes me happy to know that my badass toenails are hidden inside my not-so-badass pumps. Maybe I’m more of a rebel than people think. Or maybe the fact that I’m hiding my black-lacquered toes from the world shows that I’m actually as lame as people think.

But I shouldn’t hide my secret rebellious behavior. Next time, I’ll paint my fingernails black. I’ll buy that leather motorcycle jacket. I’ll slip on some studded boots, and throw on a skull-print teeshirt.

Maybe I’ll surprise some people.

If and when I do paint my nails black, I hope you decide to shock some people too. I hope you decide that falling in to the same boring daily routine is not what life is about, and I hope you try something new.

You may say that the way you act now is who you are, but I don’t believe you. I’m sure that if you have never touched a basketball or a hockey stick in your life, you’d love to at least try it out. If you spend all night every night learning physics or practicing differential equations, maybe you want to go out and have a crazy spontaneous night. If you party with your friends every chance you get, consider spending a night at home — break out that old Monopoly set and play with your family.

To everyone who says they can’t, for fear of being judged, I say you can. I say, step outside the box. Even if you think you’re already unique, take it further. Embrace the hidden sides of you. You may discover that there’s more to you than you think.