This I Believe

Nicole - Jefferson City, Missouri
Entered on January 26, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

It is an old cliché that one should not judge a book by its cover. The reality is that it is far more important for the book to be concerned with its own substance than with judgments about its cover. I believe in self-definition. I believe in establishing my own voice.

Ever the chameleon, I have shifted in and out of various societal definitions over the course of my life. I was born into this world as the fair-haired, fair-skinned, fair-eyed porcelain doll. In a house filled with boys, it was entirely unacceptable to be made of porcelain. I quickly grew into the little girl who went toe-to-toe with the boys. I ran faster and played harder. In junior high and high school, I tried on every outfit. I have been the popular girl and the purple-haired girl. I have been the drama kid and the nerd.

The funny thing is that I was never aware of this shape-shifting nature. A friend of mine commented on my ability to identify with a broad range of people because I have filled a broad range of shoes. To me, these transformations almost never happened – or, in the very least, they never occurred in the external superficial fashion that they are defined. I see them as periods of internal growth. I can place these events on a timeline and substitute every change of jackets for a change of heart. I see my self-confidence evolve. I see my co-dependence waver. I do not see the purple-haired girl; I see a girl who was a little out of place and confused because her family just moved from the big city to a small conservative mid-western town. I do not see the geek; I see a girl who finally found drive and purpose – that education was her best ticket to get to wherever she wanted to go. I certainly do not see the popular girl; I see her in the two forms in which she occurred. First, there was a younger more malicious version, who was in middle school and had clearly lost her way. Then there was the older version whose popularity was a by-product of newfound confidence – the girl who acquired confidence shortly after she found direction.

I see the latter set of definitions, my own definitions, as substantially more important. I see awareness of personal growth as a matter of vital importance. This I believe, above all else: I am who I choose to be.