This I Believe

Erin - Macedonia, Ohio
Entered on April 13, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: courage, setbacks
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I believe in facing reality and appreciating it for what it is. Whether it’s not wanting to face a death, or pretending you have the perfect family, there always seems to be ways to avoid what’s real. Some people escape by being overly energetic, some through obsessive housework, and others just learn to wear a mask. My way was through books.

I didn’t realize that I was truly unhappy until middle school. Then again who can be happy during that age when being awkward is actually considered the norm? I was struggling with who I was and how to change the tediousness of everyday life. I didn’t feel like I was living. Instead of facing my problems I decided to run from them. So I escaped into books—retreated from the monotony of my world into the idealistic romance of theirs. I wanted to feel, and instead of getting involved in something I turned away from the real world and lived vicariously through the characters in my stories. They had adventure, romance, and mysteries to be solved. All I had was my teenage selfishness, good grades, and friends who were always too busy to do anything. I was perfectly fine with living in my story world until a friend got me involved in the church Youth Group. After I had been in the group a while I started to discover who I was. Being actively involved in something helped me learn to face reality. I knew I could only be truly happy if I dealt with it for what it was. By not living in the present I was taking family and life for granted. Even though reality can be painful I find it’s better to face it. I am glad to say that my dime-novels are happily collecting dust on my shelves. Now I only read books of substance and not idealistic adventures.

When I went through an agonizing break-up, I had a hard time facing that it was over. When I tried to tell my priest the painful details to help me move on, I found that I couldn’t say that it was over out loud. He said that facing reality is like getting a shot. Everyone knows it’s going to hurt, but the sooner you get it done, the sooner it’s over. Sometimes we deny the chance to live because we cannot let go of the past or cannot face the future.

I think it is important to be able to experience life to its greatest potential. Who knows what or who we could be missing out on? By turning away from what’s painful, we also turn away from what could be good. So I believe in facing reality and appreciating it for what it is. I never know when it might be my last opportunity, or when it might never be my first.