This I Believe

Emily - Knoxville, Tennessee
Entered on April 27, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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Be True to Yourself Under Any Circumstances

My sixth grade year I began a new school. New territory as well as new faces surrounded me. Desperate for new friends I decided to pick up a hobby: cheerleading.

It was and is undeniable that cheerleaders are well-known. You won’t find many young girls who haven’t at some point dreamed of being one. I just wanted friends…cool friends and this was my easy entrance.

Try-outs were soon and I made the squad with ease. It was only a matter of days before everyone knew who I was. I had done it. It a short period of time I had made myself known.

Cheerleading was fun; however, I tried to convince myself it meant much more to me then it really did. I felt as if it needed to be my life, my passion, because that was the only approval I knew from people. Outside of the uniform I didn’t know who liked me and who didn’t.

This continued for a few years. I smiled, yelled, and jumped at precisely the time I was told to, but I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t being me.

In my family quitting is not an option, so I finished out the season, but I wasn’t at try-outs for next year. It shocked everyone. Other cheerleaders, coaches, teachers, even random students approached me in hallways asking me why I was doing what I was doing. It seemed to make some angry. I felt like this was it. For the past few years I was pretending to be something I wasn’t, and I felt like now everyone was going to find out. I was anxious to see the friends who didn’t just like me as the cheerleader.

I found out only a few days after try-outs that I may have been pretending to be something I really wasn’t, but only to those I didn’t seem to care about. I had been myself to my real friends, because I was comfortable around them and my real friends didn’t budge just because I was no longer I cheerleading. I decided from then on approval of others, of the jocks, the preps, the nerds, the goths, of anyone shouldn’t be a concern of mine. Cheerleading may have helped me get out there and make new friends, but it’s not what kept the goods ones hanging around.

I believe in believing in yourself: doing everything for your satisfaction and not others. I believe real friends, the ones that matter, will like you for who you are and not what you are.