I Believe

Dara - Lakeland, Florida
Entered on May 6, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I believe it is important to be yourself. The older I get, the more I can appreciate individualism. I have come to realize that I am most truly happy when I don’t let others choose my life.

Like most people, my personality was sculpted by my family and the people I was around most of the time when I was young. It wasn’t until I was 12 or so when I started to be on my own. However, instead of my parents and siblings influencing my beliefs and choices, my friends and peers took over. The way I thought, talked, dressed, and acted depended on how others would see me. Social status actually meant something to me during these times.

It wasn’t until high school when I really started to come out of my shell that was sculpted by of others’ opinion. In ninth grade, I started to broaden my horizons, as so to speak. I finally changed my style to a look that I felt more comfortable having, indulged in entertainment that was not considered the norm (music, movies, etc.), and changed my way of thinking altogether. I didn’t want to be somebody that wasn’t… me.

This scene went on until 11th grade. I turned sixteen; I got a new car and a slew of responsibilities. I discovered that work ethic was important to me. The concept of getting an education and how to get it really made sense to me. While many teens around me remained constant, I started growing up. It was during this time when I figured out what was important to ME. I realized what kind of person I wanted to be.

I also have had to find what culture best suits me. Going out and partying every weekend with people you barely know has never worked for me. I find this way of life to be superficial, immature, and a bit pathetic. On the other hand, I have found things to do that are more relevant to my personality. I much rather go to a movie or a concert with a couple of friends and create memories that I will be able to remember the next morning. It took some growing up first before I could realize this, but I think that I am a better person for it.

So here I am today, on the verge of eighteen and on my way to graduating high school to enter adulthood. I am more independent now than I ever was. I’m not afraid to speak my mind and have my own opinions. I like having the ability to question popular beliefs and figuring out what works for me. I keep an open mind with a bit of skepticism. All things considered, I enjoy being different because it what makes me, me.