This I Believe

Catherine - Arlington, Texas
Entered on March 19, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: love
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I believe in love, love in its broadest sense. Throughout time, people of all sorts have attempted to define this tangible, yet intangible four letter word. Other than the technical definition of it being a series of neurotic chemical impulses, no one has ever been able to find any combination of words that would define “love” in its actuality with any justice. Yet, no matter how difficult it may be to define the word, describing it is another story. If asked to point out examples or instances of love in their lives, nearly everyone would be able to concoct a long list to choose from.

I experience love in every single aspect of my life. Whether it be the love I have for my sister or the love we both share for sushi, I find some form of “love” in everything. However, as general as the presence of love seems, everyday I also learn a little bit more about how particular it can be. This year, as a Senior in high school, I believe I have learned more about the true, and very real definition of love than I have my entire life.

I learned more about the love shared between friends, the love that comes from family, and what the lovebirds in all of those Hollywood romance movies were raving about. I would not be able to describe ALL of the experiences that may have led up to my new conclusions (as the list would be endless), but I can relay one specific and major occassion.

It was a school night, well, a Thursday night if I can be more specific. Free from homework and hungry, I, my boyfriend, and a couple mutual friends of ours decided to have dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant. Following dinner, which happened to be filled with laughter and merry conversation, we decided to take advantage of “Quarters Night” at the nearby bowling alley. From the beginning of Game 1 to the end of Game 15, I had had the most fun I could remember having in nearly five years. It seems almost ridiculous that between the ages of 12 and 17, the height of my enjoyment would be more than a few games of bowling with three guys. That wasn’t really the point though. For the first time all year, I felt like I was able to completely be myself. I didn’t have to fashion any “masks” or suppress any urges to keep from looking silly. We were all doing more than enough to embarass ourselves, but it was all ok. We were with each other and we had not a care in the world in regards to what other people may have been thinking. Every time I bowled a strike, the best feeling wasn’t in the strike itself, but rather in turning around and seeing the genuine pride each of them had in their faces. They seemed more excited for me than I was. It really hit me then. Suddenly, I realized that it wasn’t so important to keep friends for “public face” anymore. I realized that maybe just being able to be yourself, your real self, and spending time with the people that you know love you for that, is far more important than holding onto friendships that seem to have lost their meaning. There had to be some significance in the fact that out of all the times that I had been out partying with my “friends”, I never had as much fun as I did with a game of bowling.

When considering the details, there wasn’t anything special about that game of bowling. The impact for me was more in the realizations I had about love really is. Sure, I thought I loved my friends and I thought they loved me but I had never honestly felt it until that Thursday night. You find love in the most unexpected places and among the most unexpected people. I didn’t call those boys my “best friends”, I had other people who I had thought deserved that label. In those few hours though, I realized, after analyzing my year, that they were more of “best friends” to me than anyone else was. They never pressured me to do anything; I never had to put on any facades around them. They loved me. Just me. Catherine. No masks, no stress and no pressure.