This I Believe

Sarah - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on November 18, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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23 . . . 42 . . . 10 . . . random numbers that outside of my locker mean nothing. But, as I turn the dial right, left, right, I open my own space . . .my locker. . . mine. I believe in privacy and am having a hard time in the world today because of the evanescent nature privacy is taking.

I watch, observe, others bare themselves — their thoughts, their actions.

Why do they do this? What is the point? I ask myself. All the mystery, all the excitement of relationships of people, is divulged if the sharing of their combination to their secrets, their lies, their truths develops into a lighthearted exposition rather than a cut of self. I become perplexed at not the how, but the why.

No one else but myself knows everything about me; I proudly will say.

I do feel pressured, pushed into sharing everything about myself. Who’s pushing? . . I don’t know but I sense the strain. My privacy provides protection, a sanctuary, from the frightening world out there. It performs as my force-field which shelters me from prying eyes and loose lips. Maybe I am being excessively cautious or just paranoid but I like having that shield, that guard. But my privacy keeps on being forced; my area of protection becomes smaller. I am being backed into a corner, suffocating with all the demands and all the questions. Why am I pressured, pushed to disclose my innermost thoughts? Why shouldn’t I have privacy? My wall crumbles into a mere layer and I fear that I will give in just to have some relief.

I like my secrets, my lies, my truths — all of which people can’t label only I can. I treasure conversations that stay between two people. I enjoy an inside joke. I love being able to say nothing.

A privilege is what privacy is to me, not a right. Privacy can be taken away like anything else. I was not born with the right to privacy. I was born with the opportunity to have privacy. As a teenager I could have no privacy whatsoever if my parents decided so. But, (and this is why I cherish and appreciate my privacy), my parents trust me. I love that no one forces me to say what runs in my thoughts.

My locker, though tiny and cramped, made only of thin metal that dents when kicked, hideous beige is mine alone. All the imperfections are mine – mine only. I don’t need to tell anyone that there is a banana sticker on the bottom of the locker or that the top shelf teeters back and forth. Six digits separate my imperfections from the world. Six digits. My privacy. No one can open it except for myself . . . and that’s how I always want it to be.