The True Self

Erik - Berthoud, Colorado
Entered on February 18, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

We have all had those moments in our lives that bring our beliefs into a new light, or makes us question who we have become. Naturally these moments lead to wondering if we are where we should be, or more important, if we are who we want to be. I am a testament to this concept. I was a very shy person, believing I was content to stay on the sidelines and remain unknown. Nowadays I am confident in who I am, and I even find enjoyment in being the center of attention at times. We all know who we truly are, and it is never too late to work on becoming that person; this I believe.

The school years were a very confusing period for me, like they were for most, when it came to figuring out where I belong. Until halfway through my high school life, I was pretty normal and pretty unknown. I went out of my way to avoid things that would make me standout. It was during high school, that being a part of the crowd was no longer possible. To this day, what happened in my sophomore year that caused me to become known to the entire school eludes me.

My junior and senior years were dotted throughout with occasions of people, whom I never even met, coming up and greeting me. They knew my name, some of them even knew nicknames that I thought were used only among close friends. Sometimes they were wanting to “catch up”, other times they wanted to ask for my opinion or advice.

During this time I was still trying to get used to this new feeling of importance, confused about how to react to it. This led me, for a time, simply to try and be what I thought others were expecting. My confidence in who I was simply didn’t keep up with the growth of attention from others. I rarely spoke about anything really personal or even about my opinions to anyone other than my family up to this point.

Change came again as recently as 2008, my job at the time led to a promotion to assistant manager of a restaurant. This title came with an increase in importance, the requirement to be counted on by others.. Whether it was needing to be the voice of authority to bring a conflict to a close, or simply being a concerned ear to air concerns to, never before did I need to be so open about my opinions and beliefs. This created a situation where I quickly had to become very confident with who I was. No longer did I have the option to remain in the shadows and avoid worrying about how my actions could affect others.

I shall remain on this journey, which may never be complete. It is an unending tug-of-war between our true self and the world around us, which has it’s own destination in mind for us. This I believe.