This I Believe

Briana - Fair Lawn, New Jersey
Entered on December 12, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Being Honest with Yourself

I believe in honesty. I believe in being honest with myself, and most importantly, I believe this is the only way I can ever be truly happy.

I wasn’t one of those kids who loved high school, and I definitely do not wish to go back. I can, however, attribute this to one main reason: I wasn’t myself. I was a cheerleader because I loved it. Frankly, I was good at it, but I didn’t fit in with the other girls. We tried to tolerate each other because we needed each other, and even though I was their captain, they still had no respect for me. Most of the other girls were all friends, and it wasn’t easy for me to be there without my friends, so I put on a front. Since I spent so much time with these girls, it was hard for me to not try to impress them or try to be like them. Practices, games, competition, everything I had to do with the team became so much harder. I even lost my love for cheerleading. At the end of my junior year, I decided not to try out to be on the team for my senior year.

During the summer before my senior year, something changed: I met a girl named Autumn, and we became best friends. She lived in a different town than I did, but she was always there for me whenever I needed her. She also taught me the most important lesson that I will ever need to know in life, and it was more than the usual “it’s okay to be yourself.”

Autumn didn’t care what other people thought, and she certainly didn’t care if other people didn’t like her. Through her, I learned that at the end of the day, the only person I need to make sure was happy was me, and the only way to always be sure was to be true to myself. She taught me that if I spent all my energy on trying to fit in, there would be none left for what really mattered to me.

Changing my attitude and being honest with myself has made me a better, more loving and caring person, and I truly believe that the experiences I have had, especially in college, would not have been as great if it were not for Autumn. Sometimes standing on the sidelines, I see the cheerleaders and feel a pang of regret that I quit the team, but the lesson I learned in its place that year have given me the energy to focus on what’s really important in life. If everyday I just follow what’s in my heart and never compromise myself or who I really am for anything undeserving, I can always be happy with who I am.