This I Believe

Nicole - Frankfort, Kentucky
Entered on May 23, 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.

You know the assignment: write about something you believe. Well, what if I don’t believe… in much of anything? What’s one faithless pessimist to do but rattle her brain for superficial ideas to fill these gaps of disbelief? “I believe in good will toward men.” “I believe in unconditional love.” “I believe one should brush their teeth three times a day.” Any of these can fuel the contents for yet another essay, but what would it achieve on my end (other than a grade)?

More problematic than having basic beliefs and lacking the passion to put them in essay form is having meager intentions in place of solid convictions. For instance, as a tremendously shy person, I wish having fun were more important than what others think. As a confused agnostic, I wish an all-loving, all-knowing God were looking out for me. As a recovering anorexic, I wish people were more than just their bodies.

I was diagnosed with an eating disorder my freshman year of high school; though, I had been dealing with it two years prior. I proclaimed myself an agnostic, on the brink of atheism, soon after I started dieting. Then the depression kicked in, claiming the remnants of my social life and spirit.

Since then, I’ve gone into inpatient treatment twice and on both occasions emerged with plenty of conflicting emotions, but I had yet to experience internal revelation. I had yet to decide that a healthy life was better than one dangerously thin. After being flown half across the country to live under strict medical care for two months, I’m still not convinced. Am I a lost cause?

No.

I’m learning.

I’ve struggled through my adolescence with faith dwindling and flaring given the circumstance, and if I believe in something, it’s that it isn’t kindled and maintained in the soul overnight. It’s a process. And at seventeen years old, I’m nowhere near the end of it. I’m battling for that faith—in God, in life, in myself—daily, and will appreciate it more because it has been challenged to such a degree. So for now I’m wandering through life, but it’s never in aimlessness that I wander. I’m not lost, but am in the process of being found.