This I Believe

shawn - kyle, Texas
Entered on September 8, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: integrity

I believe that “labels” should go on food products, not people. Stay true to who you are, don’t change to fit into a label.

Growing up I had friends from all different labels, but for me that wasn’t good enough. I longed to have a group of friends who did everything together. Instead I was the can that lost it’s label and rolled around the long, crowded isles of H-E-B. I seemed to roll over to one spot and hang there for a while, until I rolled over to the next section, and the next, and the next. Occasionally I was kicked out of my spot by a frenzied shopper, or a curious youngster who has to touch everything in the store. Other times I was placed nicely back on my shelf next to others who were just like me. This was my life, and it was great, but not what I desired.

There was a time when my friend came to me crying because she got kicked out of the ice cream section, better known as the popular girls who are the “queen bees” of the school. I had sympathy for her; I had been down that isle too. They seem so nice, so sweet, and they always look good, just like ice cream! When in reality they are more like Ice Princesses who are cold and stinging to the touch.

At the point in my life when I realized I should be who I truly am, and not try to get another’s approval is when I started making genuinely bona fide friends. About this time my high school career was added into my shopping cart of life. As I was rolling down the isles I started noticing more and more cans, boxes, and bags with no labels. Everyone was mingling together. I didn’t see as much of this group over here, and that group over there. It was like H-E-B in a total muddle. When I walk into my cafeteria at lunch on a game day I am so overwhelmed by the giant galumph of blue t-shirts that the football players wear, and the hodgepodge of red that the cheerleaders wear, and it absolutely balks me to see it. However, as I pull my eyes away from the bright masses of red and blue it comforts me to see the huge sea of rd, white, and blue all mixed up like a bag of M&Ms down the candy isle.

Always be who you are and be proud of it. Your precious time should not be spent trying to please people who are labeled a certain way, it should be spent making memories with friends who love you for who you are, not for what you’re not. If you are being you and you are surrounded by people who are your friends for who you are, there is much more happiness there than trying to be someone you’re not and being surrounded by people who can’t see past the brand of clothes that you’re wearing.