This I Believe

Elizabeth - LaGrange, Illinois
Entered on February 26, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

This I Believe…

My brother, Matthew, is fourteen years old and an eighth grader. By the looks of him though, he’d be about ten. He’s short and very thin for his age; he wears glasses and his pants are always hiked up really high so that the bottoms barely reach past his ankles. His clothes never match, and his hair is always a mess. Matthew appears to be a classic nerd, but he is not that at all.

I don’t blame people for thinking that Matthew is just a loser, a weirdo, a freak. If he wasn’t my brother I would probably think the same thing. I would most likely wonder who could possibly believe orange matches purple. The truth is Matthew really does not understand the concept of matching. He has numerous mental disabilities that even I don’t fully understand. His brain has trouble not only with education-related things, but even more so with the social aspects of life. It is complicated, but in short, there are things that an average person’s brain tells them that Matthew’s does not. For instance, I know that talking with my mouth full in public is rude and that I would make a bad first impression if I were to do so; Matthew can’t comprehend things like that. He also has a lot of trouble communicating with other people; even though he is fourteen, he communicates like an average eight-year old.

Sometimes I get tired of Matthew. I get tired when I’m trying to focus on something and he’s downstairs shouting to himself, I get tired when he talks incessantly, I get tired when he does not understand something simple, or when he interrupts me, and I get tired when I try to give him advice and he won’t take it. I get tired of having all of these constant reminders that my brother is different, but then I think, if I get this tired of Matthew’s disabilities, think how tired he must be.

Often I see Matthew try really hard at something, something simple, and fail over and over again. Yet still he never gives up. I am amazed at how much progress he makes even with all of the pressure that his disabilities must cause. Everyday his perseverance inspires me to persevere myself. I know that Matthew is teased often at school; I know that he will have a lot of trouble in the future especially in high school, and I know that he is beginning to realize that he is different from everybody else.

But I believe that Matthew is going to be all right. I believe that despite his appearance, he is strong, stronger than anyone else I know. I know that he will be tested to work as hard as he can and that life for Matthew is only going to get more difficult. But I believe in my brother. I believe he will persevere like he always does. I believe that if people look past his appearance and look past his differences, they will see that Matthew is just a good person and they too will believe, as I believe more than anything, that orange matches purple just fine.