This I Believe

Leah - Villa Hills, Kentucky
Entered on April 15, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe that I need to help myself rather then waiting for someone else to do it for me.

As I walked down the hallways seeing strange faces, and some vaguely familiar ones, I wanted to run back to my comfort zone. This included the few grade school friends that now accompanied me on my high school journey. Even as I passed a fellow teammate I would divert my eyes and lower my head. I can just see myself cowering in fear while still managing to walk through the halls. Talking to an upperclassman, worst of all a senior, was more terrifying then jumping off a bridge. I believed that I was not worth a senior’s time, yet I always longed to have friendships with these people. My introversion seemed to be the main road block on my path to success. A fear of embarrassment is such a petty thing to have controlling a life.

I believed that I was accepted, maybe even likeable. Hopefully, I thought, if I fit in I will make several new friends and be happy. I had not reached happiness though. Apparently I had blended in too well. During my sophomore year an upperclassman forgot that I had run cross country the year before. I had seen her everyday for four months of practice. That was when I realized the significance of my phobia. “What is the point of being liked if no one ever knows who I am?”, I asked myself. I realized that I could never be completely accepted by everyone but at least I could become sincere friends with some. I became determined to grow to be more outgoing.

It wasn’t that easy. Everyday I had to force the words out of my mouth as I passed people in the halls. Despite my heart pounding in my ears I would raise my hand and say what I thought in class. Becoming a cashier at Remke Markets forced me to talk to stranger’s every day. Little by little, I became more confident in my opinion. The people who seemed like gods became just people. I discovered that I was just as important and capable as anyone else. Most importantly I realized that it doesn’t matter what other people think of me as much as I think of myself. Now as a senior, I have grown just as every other high school student I know. I am able to relate to them without striving to be them. I have learned the power of my own will and the strength that comes with it. Hopefully I will always recognize the importance of self and never again lose my opinion to the fear of being different.