This I Believe

Michelle - Oak Park, California
Entered on October 26, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

I am 14 years old, I was given the assignment to write an essay about what I strongly believed in, I sat staring blankly at the computer and said to myself.” I have only lived a little of my life so far, and haven’t experienced as much as I hope to”. Many teenagers do not have the experience yet to know what they believe in because at this age we are all trying to figure out who we are and where we belong. One of my early experiences has helped me believe in the power of positive thinking. As a young child I had to wear a leg brace on my left leg because my left tibia was bent and weak. Doctors told my parents that if I had ever broken my leg it would almost be impossible for it to heal, so I wore my brace until I was 9 years old. Having a brace was a little frustrating, because it limited me from many activities that I wanted to do, and I was different from the other kids. I wasn’t able to rollerblade, ski, or even jump without having to worry about my leg. As a kid I always kept a positive attitude about my brace even on the days it brought me down, and I began to accept it as a part of who I was. I had to go to the doctors to have check-ups on my leg and to have new braces made for me. I remember walking down the halls of the office curiously looking into each room and giving a smile to the other kids I saw as I passed, feeling so lucky as I picked out a bugs bunny design for my brace that it was just that one leg that I had to worry about. For I saw kids that had no legs at all and had prosthetic legs made for them as they learned to walk for the first time. Even though my abilities were limited I accomplished the things I wanted to. My family was very involved in martial arts; I wanted to be as well. Every karate class my Mom would worry if I would be ok and she would say “If it gets too hard you don’t have to do it.” That was never an option for me, and I received my black belt. I later skied for the first time with my brace, after a few minutes of forcing it into the ski boot, wake boarded, and I now am very involved with dance.

This experience has taught me so much and if I could turn back time I wouldn’t have it any other way. As a very social girl with a wonderful life I feel I’m a much stronger person and growing up with a challenge has made me feel like I can achieve anything that I put my heart into. Your thoughts dictate the happiness of your life, this I believe.