This I Believe

Erin - Austin, Texas
Entered on January 9, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

In all my life, I have never believed more than I do now in the power of expression. I always loved watching ballets on television when I was young. I adored watching dancing groups anywhere I went and I fancied myself a ballerina when I grew up. After the mandatory two years of piano lessons, my mother finally put me in dance classes when I was eight, which is very old for a dancer to begin learning. But it didn’t matter. I was a natural. I couldn’t wait to go home after every class and show my mom what combinations I had learned that day. I danced because I felt it. It wasn’t just to get in shape. It wasn’t to fit in with a certain group of people. It was what made sense to me. I wanted to be there.

Things grew harder after my father died. My mom did not have the presence of mind to take me everywhere I needed to be. My dance life fizzled when I got into junior high and finally died when I entered high school. But then I found choir. I figured out that it wasn’t just dance. It was music. Music made sense to me. I spent my time learning multiple genres of music, perfecting my sight-reading skills, and striving to attain that coveted position of section leader. In my junior year of high school, I got it. That was also the year I found theatre. I was cast as Cassie in “Rumors” by Neil Simon and I’ll never forget it. It was then that I learned the art of expression. That was what made sense to me. Yes, I had an innate sense of music and I was flexible so dance worked for me. But it was the expression that I loved, the expression that made sense, the expression that took me away from every care, worry, and fear that I had. I was no longer uptight and moody because I had an outlet for my emotions. Counselors never worked for me for I’ve never been excellent with words. But movement and music saved me from being the nutcase my mother is (she never found her expression).

There is a distinct difference between so-called “problem kids” and superior students. The ones who work the hardest, the ones who make the best grades, the ones who take AP classes, they are the ones who revel in their lives. We don’t have perfect lives by any means but all of us have something that makes sense. Whether it is art, choir, band, theatre, computers, writing, gardening, animals, medicine, everyone has something that makes sense to them; that they can lose themselves in. It’s the power of expression that takes the sting out of life and gives it the extra spark that everyone looks for.

This, with all my heart, do I believe.