This I Believe

Megan - LaGrange, Illinois
Entered on October 2, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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True to Myself

I believe in staying true to myself, no matter what other people think. I have always held this belief, but it became much stronger during junior high. In grade school, I knew everyone, and everyone knew me. There were no cliques, or popular kids; everyone was equal. At the time, it did not matter whether I followed the latest fashion trends or even bothered to match my clothes; I was never ridiculed or excluded for the way I looked. We were all dorks, and geeks, and maybe even losers, but we were not ashamed of it. We could be ourselves and still fit in just fine.

However, in junior high, the need to fit in grew immensely and many kids began ignoring their true selves in order to be among the popular kids. They took on a completely new personality, just to fit in. They were no longer the individual they used to be, but instead a robot, doing the same as everyone else. The new friends they made were not really friends. They did not share the same interests or hobbies, and most of the time, they did not even get along. But since they all dressed, talked, and acted like identical robots, they called themselves friends. All to be considered one of the popular kids.

At this point in my life, it was tempting to go over to the dark side, and become one of those popular robots, but in the end, I knew it was not at all what I wanted. Yes, maybe at the moment it may have seemed better, but really what would I gain from it all? I would lose my identity, no longer be myself, but instead I would be a fraud. The friends I would make and the people I would meet would not really be my friends. Would I really like to spend all of my time with people who talk about me behind my back? I realized that I would much rather embrace the fact that I am a geek, and find other people who do not wish to be apart of the “in” crowd. These friends would be people that I could enjoy spending time with, without worrying about maintaining my robotic image. I could be my dorky self, and feel comfortable expressing myself in whatever ways I wanted.

In the end, I found that I chose the right path. I met many new people, whom with I became very close friends. I did not spend those few years of my life worrying about my clothes, but instead about what really mattered, my future. Now, looking ahead into the future, I realize that I will have many more opportunities to abandon my identity and become a robot. However, I know from experience that if I remain true to myself, everything else will fall into place.