This I Believe

Elisa - Branford, Connecticut
Entered on January 25, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: fear
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My Biggest Fear

I picked my mother out when I was fifteen weeks old. I never felt different being African American and growing up in a mainly white environment. Life was easy enough, I had friends, a loving family, and oddly enough I loved school. I was care free. This remained true through high school, and presently through college, with one exception. High school raised questions such as “why do you talk white” and “why do you act white.” Both were easy to answer since white is not a language, and if acting white meant being polite or respectful I did not mind. I did not believe that these comments were stemming from racist origins, but rather from narrow-minded, malnourished assumptions. Those judgments made me self-conscious. I never experienced that before. I figured that if I did not have blatant opinions, I could not be judged. The more time I spent disregarding how I felt about certain interests, the easier it became not to have, never-the-less want to have any sort of opinions or beliefs.

Each day I learn from my peers, my enemies and my experiences. I observe how actions affect others and how accepting the world for what it is can teach so much. Exposure to diverse lifestyles enabled me to understand a variety of people and their interests. Each day people have individual minds and morals that they choose to hold. Sometimes I envy that even, although it makes me anxious. I have found that through arguments, the expression of different points of view, contradictions and disagreements, I can find insight in a variety of topics. However, I also find insight by listening to the stands being taken. To me listening is calming. Listening to others allow us to open up and understand perspectives creating moments of feedback and interest.

I do not think I have ever been a big believer, but the few beliefs I have are more similar to guidelines than to rules. Sometimes I have difficulty believing because at any moment I may decide to stop. I would like to reserve the right to change my mind, and stand for one side in a situation and the opposite in another. I do not want to provide people with the opportunity to question or judge my beliefs, since I may not have a concrete reason for why I am passionate about a topic, or may not have defending arguments for my opinion. Perhaps I am afraid of being wrong. Perhaps I am frightened that my actions will not be “correct.” However I will believe in one thing: I believe in being scared and although it frustrates me to believe, each day I learn a little bit more about my fears. And step by step I’ll learn to conquer them. This I believe.