This I Believe

Claire - Houston, Texas
Entered on July 28, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

This I believe, that I am a 133 pound ball of clay. I am 21 now and it was at the age of 13 that I began to toy with the idea that maybe my life isn’t normal, or right, or good. I grew up in a loving, wealthy family and attended an elite private school, and it was a junior year philosophy class, more than the homeless man I drive by every day or the news reports of starving africans, that got me to thinking. Maybe i should think about the way i live, the things i do everyday that a million people never get the chance to, the things i waste, the things i love, the things i disagree with. So many myths have mankind being molded from clay, and it was never more obvious why than at this point when i began to go to work shaping my own self. working myself over and over till i needed a break and then starting again. Many of the questions i was asking didn’t have easy answers. Why was i lucky enough to be born into a family with a tv and an airconditioner and he wasnt? Why am i so healthy and she isn’t? What is the meaning in all of this day to day to day? And i found the one question i answered very quickly, actually proved to be the most troublesome in the end. Is it OK to cause other beings to suffer? no. but what does that mean? when i drive my car i support an industry that exploites other nations and causes suffering. when i eat a steak i support the killing (and in many instances the horrible treatment) of a fellow creature. same with my leather boots. and all of a sudden it was hard to walk three paces without causing suffering. what to do? what to do? my life is causing so much pain to the world! i take so much for granted! i am so selfish and materialistic and cruel! But i wasn’t. The world is a place where all of us will always be contributing to the collective suffering. But, the most lovely thing about it, is that we can also contribute to the collective smile, so to speak, the collective joy- which is also ubiquitous. After this, my life changed a little bit. I’m a vegetarian now, I try to walk more, I try to turn off my lights, I try to recycle. Which is great, and I am happy I have made these changes, but they aren’t the answer, persey. Becoming a vegetarian, or walking, or recycling themselves don’t solve the problem, don’t lend you any special meaning just by doing them. It was the discovery of belief itself that gave me a feeling of “aha!” a feeling of “at last, a little clarity.” I believe all these things are important and so incorporating them into my 24 hours every day makes me feel a little more like I’m not just randomly rolling around a big ball of mud, but working towards form, working towards beauty, working working working towards a piece of art.