This I Believe

jonathon - Goshen, Indiana
Entered on February 15, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: setbacks
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

A biting cold fills the air as I begin my day. The morning sun is eating away the first frost of the season, and the sign marking my apartment casts an icy shadow on the thawing grass. People travel the sidewalks like single steam engines puffing down the tracks. And building entrance-ways look like miniatures stations, crowded with trains beginning their departure.

Stepping through the door of my first class’s building, I notice the wet floor sign way too late, and feel my feet slide out from beneath me. And as my back begins to soak up what the mop has missed, and while all eyes are upon me and my coming reaction, my mind begins to race.

An artist friend once said to me. “Sometimes you need to fake it for a bit until it sets in.” At the time she was talking about having bad days, and “Faking it,” was making the decision to fight past petty frustrations, and to mold the situation into a happy one. I’ve come to realize that faking those bad days is actually making the decision to be who we want to be, despite the opposition.

When it is a bad day and all I want is to find a hug, that’s ok. But, it is our personality that chooses how we feel and how we act. So, when my identity is screaming for a good day, why let anything cloud it over?

I believe in finding myself and forcing it to be seen. I am intrigued by the challenge of putting my personality on the forefront of my emotions.

On good days and bad days, we are still ourselves. We get to chose who we are, and who we want to be. How we see things and how we are seen. It is easy to hide behind shyness or grumpiness, but that is not who I am. I push against it. I strive not to let embarrassment or any other fleeting emotion cloud how I truly feel, or how I am felt by others. I want to be me.

Well, I’m on my back, and people are waiting. That split second before anyone reacts is almost over, and I need to decide whether my awkwardness is enough to hide who I really am. It can’t be. I mean, you should have seen it! On the way to the ground, I kicked the wet floor sign half way to the elevator. My feet were above my head, and all the change fell out of my pockets, and scattered across the tiles!

I begin to laugh. And sitting up, I find a group of people who are confused and seem to be embarrassed for me. They see my wide eyed grin and cringe with ignorant sympathy. They must think I’m faking.