This I Believe

Nicole - Charlotte, North Carolina
Entered on October 25, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: humanism

It seems that to write something important or meaningful or worth your reader’s time then you must have been through something terrible. The prerequisite to poignant writing in many reader’s minds seems to be tragedy. However, I do no think that this is fair or even remotely true. I believe that everyone has a story to tell.

Sure it is inspirational to read about someone overcoming an obstacle or somehow improving their situation, but why discredit an author for not being one of those people? When a characteristic that rose from some injustice or wrong done to someone becomes a part of who they are and how they are known (for example, Jane Doe, victim of domestic violence), people seem to pay more attention for some reason. This is not to bash those who have been through something genuinely horrific; those people telling their stories empowers and moves the rest of us into action against injustices. I am saying, however, that in life, everyone has something to say, a mark to leave, points to make.

I am not one of the people who has faced tremendous tragedy and emerged with a motivational story, but I do have things to say that I think are important. No, my parents aren’t divorced; no, I’ve never had someone terribly close to me pass away; and the worst abuse I’ve suffered is a spanking when I was unkind to my brother. I have, however, witnessed those around me in pain. I’ve been there for the people in my life that needed me at their darkest hour. When a close friend’s dad died the morning before Christmas Eve, I was there. When she turned to drugs and eventually was admitted to a rehabilitation clinic, I was there. When she finally came out of that miserable fog, I was there. I’m still here watching her grow from her pain and help people by telling her story.

Although it hasn’t been overly rough, my life is not perfect either. Perfection is the unattainable condition that keeps us moving towards our goals, but we will never be perfect. From the outside, my life seems to be one of those perfect, heartbreak-free fairy tale stories. However, I’ve had many battles to fight. Someone once said, “Be nicer then necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some battle”. This has stuck with me for a long time. I see myself as one of the people that the quote instructs you to be kind to. Don’t let my smile fool you, I hurt too.

I try my best not to let my troubles affect the people around me and this aids in other’s perception of my life as “perfect”. If I act like nothing is wrong, then why should anyone suspect differently? Just because I have a smile on my face doesn’t mean I am happy and this holds true for anyone you meet. Don’t let someone’s sunny exterior allow you to discredit the validity or significance of his or her message. I believe everyone is a teacher.