This I Believe

Abagale - Ventura, California
Entered on April 30, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
  • 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.

“The Eye of the Beholder”

The old phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is a phrase well known by all, both young and old. This particular phrase is stuck with me; not only because I need it to remind myself what not to do: also because this is a phrase that explains me. I may look scary to some, stupid to others, but this is the way I want to look, it is the way I express myself. I have been stared at, laughed at, and tormented all because of the way I look. Someone with my look is stereotyped to be a drug junkie, having no respect for anyone, not even myself. The assumptions are that they have thrown their life away by cutting (self-mutilation to those that don’t know), being depressed and doing nothing but sit in a dark corner and cry.

What do I do daily? None of this stereotypical stuff; that’s for sure. I am a straightedge kid that respects my own body as much as I respect others, young and old alike. Cutting… this is a very stupid act to do to your body, feeling that you are in control of your life by having the slightest wrong move and you can die. There is only one word to explain that… STUPID! Having a friend die from this act has made me realize that anyone that does this needs help fast.

If you do get to know me I am a very likeable person, you can ask anyone that knows me: a friend or an acquaintance. I care for everyone and if there is a problem, I do anything I can to help them. I do laugh a lot…the opposite of depression…right? I make jokes and laugh at ones that are told. And two actions that maybe no one expects is that I am a strict vegetarian and a Lutheran, and proud of it.

Now this stereotyping is all around, and I do it too; I’m not a perfect person. I try not to stereotype and try to ignore the people that do it to me. The most common places with people that I notice that stereotype me are school and church. And people do deny the fact that they do. For example, my parents told me that when they went to a meeting one of my teachers was very surprised about the way I acted in his class compared to his first impression with my looks. Now, for the people at my church; they are very old fashioned and hate the way I dress, yet they’ve known me my entire life. But, I am going to worship whether they like it or not… I do respect them, but I feel that they need to respect me back.

Another “look” that I have which is stereotyped is my skinniness. I am 5’7 and weigh a whopping 101 pounds. Now for the question in the back of your mind to ask me: “Really… are you not anorexic or something?” No… I am not. I eat as much as everyone else; three meals a day and snacks galore. And yes I do wear size 0 pants with a belt. Some people are jealous, others are disgusted, and some are even astonished that I can live on such a small amount of body fat. Everyone gets a kick out of the fact that they can pick me up with one arm… last year some of my friends played “toss Abby back and forth like a ball”. It was fun, I have to admit that, but it isn’t exactly the best thing to do if you’re above concrete.

I would say that more people have assumed that I am anorexic then a druggie, cutter, or suffering from depression. However, this is just an assumption and not necessarily the truth. I’ll never know for sure. I believe in reading a book before judging the cover.