This I Believe

Aurora - Fairbanks, Alaska
Entered on May 31, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe that any person you have an interaction with, anyone you meet has a purpose to teach you something about yourself. Whether you absolutely loathe every pore, every cell, every atom that makes them up, or they are your best of friends. The spectrum of people you meet and learn from allows you to understand who you want to be and who you are.

I think I have always lived my life as such, feeling like a slab of clay or a blank piece of paper. Colored, molded, shaped, and handled by people I meet and experiences I have. Constant motion. Constant change. Constant life. Life as art. Individuals as art.

As a teenager, struggling to find my inevitable niche in life, this feeling has become much more dominant and obvious. We are pressured from adults, parents, and peers to finally figure out who we are. Only a very lucky few really know, or at least, they are better at pretending they know, than most of us.

For the others, where do we start? How do we define us? How do we start becoming who we are?

Every year, starting in seventh grade, we are pressured to find a career, and find ourselves. When they asked me in middle school what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be, I responded with, “I don’t know.” When they made us take a career test sophomore year, I scored slightly above average in every single category.

Now what? Will I ever be someone? Will I ever have a definite purpose?

It is important to know what options you have in the future, but it is a process that takes patience. And certainly a test cannot tell you who you are. We are pressured into being a finished product, when we have only just begun our journey. We, the art, feel like the first grade art class has run amuck all over us. We feel rushed. We find inspiration from the people around us, blindly copy bits and pieces, and temporarily plaster them to ourselves in attempt to discover who we are. Random clippings from a magazine taped together to form a monster mess. To form crappy art that desperately wants to be hung on a famous wall, for all too see, admire, and often times laugh at.

But always, the pieces fall apart. The tape never holds. Everyone falls apart under the pressure. The artist can never be patient enough.

We are forced to start anew. As teenagers, we constantly create ourselves, and allow others to create us as well. Somewhere along the road, I suppose, I will be happy with something I create. I will be happy with the person that I am. When I learn from each mistake and each flaw. When I learn from others mistakes. When I am finally patient enough to let life come as it is and to let my clay be shaped as nature intended, then I can finally answer that question. Please don’t ask me when i am senior in highschool, I doubt I will know by then. Or even when I am a college graduate, I still probably won’t know. I will probably still be a gluey mess of random snapshots, even more so than now.

I think that this helps explains why teenagers and young adults, are the way we are. Why so many of us have depression, cry ourselves to sleep, and have such a negative outlook on life. We are the tormented artists who never have enough patience and falter under pressure. We are the crappy art those artists create. We are the writers with writers block, and the unfinished poems crumpled in the trash.

Just as an artist must learn to create art, and a writer to create great literature, we as people learn to be good people. I, and my fellow teens, are learning with each passing day and each passing screw up. We are learning with every interaction, how to be the good adults all of us have the potential to be. We are learning, ever so slowly and elegantly how to change the world. And this, I beleive.