This I Believe

Michelle - Plano, Texas
Entered on November 13, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.


It’s hard for me to trust anyone, or any doctrines, or any gods, or any universal truths, or love, or kindness. I just don’t know them. They just aren’t there.

I think it’s just not in me to be happy. I can grasp it at moments, but it slips through the cracks of my fingers. I’ve done that thing where you love people, you care about them, but other people cannot quite help me. I do fantastic job at pushing people away. I’ve done the honesty thing, but it never quite worked out. Let me just tell you, I am a stunning actress.

I probably deserve whatever this perpetual dissatisfaction is. I’m selfish, I have to admit. I lack the charity to give myself to others. I have no ambition to be a doctor, a lawyer, a world changer. I like music and art, the things in society that aren’t really regarded as exactly helping others. I’m selfish and I’m rude, but believe me, I’ve been that nice girl, the one who got stepped all over, and it hurt just the same.

I have this dream that haunts me. In my dream, I lay there in bed alone. Sometimes people walk in and out of my room, but usually it’s just me. I am completely paralyzed; I am locked up in a pain that feels like pure evil. I try to cry out for help but my voice is trapped in a mouth that won’t open. I try to breathe, but my own lungs are choking me. I fight it and fight it, until I feel like I’m about to die, when at last I wake up. I feel relief for a moment, but then I realize my error. I am still dreaming, and the fight begins once again. Who knows how many times I’ve woken up to my own disjointed mind, but eventually I really do wake up. I get there. I survive. Every muscle in my body feels like it’s attacking me, and the fear is something I cannot explain, but I am alive, a little short on sleep, but definitely alive.

Every once in a while, I realize it. I’ll be driving, or walking alone, my brain racked with the troubles I can never seem to shake off. Sometimes in these moments the world suddenly looks clearer. All the intricate details of my surroundings transform into this indescribable work of art. All I can see around me is beauty, and in those moments I know that I will be okay. I may never be content, joyous, or at peace. I may feel alone, struggling and confused, but I don’t live for success or happiness. I hang on the one thing I believe: in moments when everything seems hopeless, I can hold myself up and keep on living. I will be okay.