This I Believe

Rachel - Delaware, Ohio
Entered on January 31, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe in being alone. For the longest time I thought it was a necessary part of human nature to constantly be around people. All throughout middle and much of high school I thought it an innate drive to want to be part of a group. Unfortunately more times then not I found myself feeling separated even when I was part of a group.

My parents are both driving forces in my development. My mom especially has many times guided me through difficult situations and there are two instances that this guidance was especially clear in the formation of my “solitary belief.”

The first came the summer before my junior year of high school. I’m lying on the carpeted floor of the basement while she taps away at the computer, stewing over a summer AP Literature assignment which requires me to write a mock college application essay. The assignment is simple enough: write something interesting about yourself, but therein lay the problem. I had nothing interesting to say about myself.

As I moaned about my predicament, my mom suddenly began pulling up audio clips of past This I Believe… essays on the computer. While listening to these essays I realized I did have something interesting: my opinions.

This incident introduced me to something slightly foreign in the teenage high school world. I could have opinions all my own that nobody need grade or criticize; this was my first break with group mentality.

The second incident was much more instrumental to figuring out my belief system then finding my voice was. This one also finds me lying on the floor—this time of my bedroom. I’m upset about something or other involving my social life and feeling especially alienated from my friends. My mother and I are in the middle of one of those “the meek shall inherit the earth” conversations when she looks at me and says: “Some people are just designed to be alone.”

Don’t take this comment the wrong way. She’s not talking about cutting myself off from my family or the few friends I have, she’s talking about accepting myself as a person who isn’t the proverbial “social butterfly.” It’s taken me a good sixteen years to come to this conclusion and to finally be happy with it. In fact, it’s made me a stronger person because being alone has forced me to figure myself out and stand on my own. I still need my parents and I still need the rest of my family—but I don’t need a group or anyone to tell me who I am and this, I believe is the true meaning of being alone.