This I Believe

Dylan - Manlius, New York
Entered on December 18, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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Be Cool; Be Yourself

I believe that people should be themselves, not what others want them to be.

When I see people who talk or dress different than they usually do just because they want to look cool to other people, it makes me pity them. They are burying who they really are deep down and bringing up to the surface a poser.

Everybody wants to fit in, especially in a new school. However, I find it sad when I see a friend or acquaintance act like a totally different person. When they pose in front of me, I tell them that they are being losers even though they are my friends. I was friends with their true selves, not the gangster-rapping clone standing before me.

Let me explain in more depth. I remember in fifth grade some of my friends acted like “skater boys,” despite never having skated in their lives. They wanted to look cool to all the “cool” kids with their Abercrombie shirts and their hundred dollar sneakers. Little kids do that all the time. But last year it happened again. A friend of mine who often got picked on by who he called “the cool kids” started acting funny. He talked funny and started to wear big baggy clothes. He would go around acting like a tough guy, and he sucked up to the “cool kids.” It made sense that he would act like that around them, but when he started acting like that when we would hang out it ticked me off. I told him that everybody knew he wasn’t really what he was pretending to be, and despite his efforts the kids he was trying so hard to impress rejected him and mocked him, calling him a “loser and a poser.”

When I see people try to change themselves to fit the standards of others I am seeing slaves. They are giving their lives up to those people and letting them decide what they wear, where they go and how they speak and act and walk. And when the façade starts to break down and their new friends start to avoid them and tell them to go away, their old friends might not want them back. They call them a poser and a weirdo. But when they act like themselves they don’t have to act, and when people like you for who you really are you don’t have to pose as someone your not to gain their acceptance. When I meet people who don’t really like me and vice versa, I don’t try to change to meet their standards, I move on and associate with people who like me for me. I am myself all the time and I don’t need to act like a loser to make my friends think I am cool. I believe that I never need to be a poser to be a cool person with a lot of friends, and that I do not have to live up to other people’s expectations.

This I believe.