Leaving My Nest

Jaclin - Venice, California
Entered on June 22, 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.

I could never find my place in middle school, everything always seemed forced, unnatural, and I always felt like I had to prove myself to be accepted by the people who were my “friends”. I was so concerned with how I was viewed by others that I was completely unaware of my own feelings about myself. Everyone around me associated me with that group I was in. I no longer had an identity; I was that girl who was in the popular group at school. People assumed that I was the exact same as everyone in that group. Soon rumors spread, people got hurt, and I was lost. People I surrounded myself with formed opinions about me that became my own opinions about myself. Suddenly, I didn’t have my own thoughts, my own words, I was a mindless robot controlled by my peers. I had lost myself.

I believe in my inner strength, the acceptance of who I am and who I want to be. I believe in surrounding myself with people who accept me for who I am.

I was in 6th grade, alone, a brand-new school full of terrifying new faces. Transitioning from a small private elementary school to a large public middle school, I felt like a bird leaving its nest for the first time. Everything around me appeared larger then it was. I was overwhelmed; everyone around me seemed to know each other. There would never be a place for me here; I was an outsider that could never be let in.

Then I saw them. They were packed together like birds being fed, hungry for the satisfaction of humiliating anyone in sight. Their laughter could be heard miles away and I was desperate to find out the entertaining topic. These girls soon became my friends. I changed for these girls and did things I wouldn’t normally do. I was responsible for rumors and gossip that hurt many people. I betrayed and disappointed everyone and the guilt soon began to hit me.

After a night of several disagreements with my parents and my sister, screaming and yelling at the top of our lungs, my mother came into my room to find a scared and confused girl sobbing into her pillow. She reminded me of how kind and respectful I used to be. How I used to enjoy life and walk around with a smile not caring about what anyone thought about me. She told me that I used to spend time doing things I love with people I cared about.

I began to distance myself. I found people that had positive things to say and made me feel good. All the negative thoughts about myself that I used to have and constantly talk about with my other group of friends were gone. I was a more happy person because I wasn’t pretending to be someone that I wasn’t. I found people that loved the me that I loved; I found the strength to be myself. I was finally prepared to leave my nest of comfort and fly into the real world.