This I Believe

Ashley - Tempe, Arizona
Entered on May 2, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • 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.

So, I’m sitting here on a playground, on the little walkway between the twirly slide and the monkey bars, staring at a black sky. The summer air surrounds me on this warm June night. Those of you who have spent a summer in Arizona know all about this crazy Monsoon Season, where you’re melting away in triple digits while dust storms lunge big ol’ tumbleweeds at your car. And God forbid you open your eyes in this raging wind because you’ll be crying sand out for a week. But somehow, this makes for a perfect Arizona night.

Okay, okay, back to me on the playground. I’m sitting cross-legged (or Indian Style for those who like to be politically incorrect) with a little grey journal in my right hand, and a blue ballpoint Bic pen in my left (yeah, that’s right…Go Lefties!) As the whirlitzing wind blows through my voluptuous curly brown hair, a powerful bolt of lightning races across the never-ending sky. I don’t imagine lightning bolts have personalities, but if this one did, it would be very aggressive, and perhaps not so kind. But this is why it strikes my attention. And as I watch more and more bolts of lightning pass on by, I start to realize something: every bolt is just that – it’s own.

Each one chooses a different path. Each one is free to roam the galaxy. The only similarity between these lightning bolts is their fierceness. They are all dangerous, and invincible. And of course, paradoxes. They are the thing people, like me, admire from afar, but wouldn’t dare get too close to. They are so beautiful, but do such ugly things. They are silent – peaceful and treacherous. Mute and evil. They race through the sky claiming, “This is mine!” And well, that is the only thing they have to “think” about…you know, if they were people.

As for me, I’m so lame that I’m sitting here torn, trying to decide whether it’s appropriate for me to test out these monkey bars, or if I should grow up and drive home to get some shut eye since I have to go back to my 9-5 in Reality Land tomorrow morning. So, what I believe is that we all need to be a lightning bolt, even for just a day…probably on your day off from work. You wouldn’t want to get fired for being aggressive and mean, and I don’t think “pretending to be a lightning bolt” is a good excuse to save you. But we all need some time to really reach out and take over our lives. To say, “This is mine!” I’m tired of letting my job, and my bills, and my stupid car whose air conditioning just broke run my life. Tomorrow is my day off, so I think I’ll try it then. I’ll let you know how it works out.