This I Believe

Julie - Brookfield, Illinois
Entered on October 1, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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The Right to Being Yourself

I believe that all people should have the right to be themselves, despite the opinions of others.

When I was in elementary school, I used to conform, simply hanging around those who were popular, not really having any say in anything that went on around me. Back then, I had almost no personality of my own and just followed the other girls around, blankly listening to and agreeing to whatever they said. This caused me to have some emotional problems, mainly I was depressed whenever I was alone and constantly mocked for crying about the simplest things. Despite clearly being used in some instances, I went on like this throughout elementary school. One such instance occurred in second grade when my supposed best friend took advantage of me constantly, “borrowing” my things and never returning them. After taking this sort of treatment for a while, I broke this friendship but still continued having empty friendships with people I barely knew.

Finally, in around the end of sixth grade I became very interested in the anime series Rurouni Kenshin. This became my prime interest, and it opened the way for me to become more interested in other anime series. Along with this, I began to read the manga books that my favorite anime series were based on. As time went on I then began to listen to music from anime series and I became interested in Japanese music and culture in general. Now at days, I seem to like just about anything Japanese, all due to the influence of anime. In seventh grade I made a few close friends who shared my interests. Having these friends raised my self-esteem, making me feel as though my opinions were important.

As time progressed, I became more unique, developing more interests and quirks. I believe that everyone should have the right to develop their own personality as it gives people confidence and self-esteem. I know that being able to express myself raised my level of overall confidence and happiness. I now know that that I can speak my heart to my friends and that they will take me seriously and acknowledge me.

An ideal society would allow everyone to speak their mind and be open to the opinions of all. Thus, I think that people should also be more open to the opinions and thoughts of others as being open is a good way to get to know others not only through their opinions but also through individual personalities. Through my own experiences, I have learned that being expressive is best in any situation, despite the dirty looks that some people might give you. I do my best to be myself in any situation and I believe that everyone should be allowed to do the same.