This I Believe

Shayna - Syracuse, New York
Entered on September 6, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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“strenth and independence”

I am often asked why I am such a strong and independent person. The best answer I can formulate is, the struggles and experiences we go through mold us to be the people we are today. About eleven years ago my parents got divorced. It was a tragic experience for my brother and I because our family was such a close loving family. Nearly a year and a half later, family friends of my mother came to visit. It was in July and I recall it being uncomfortably hot out that day. My mother was at work and my brother was home with one of the girls visiting us. I remember everything like it was yesterday. On our way home from the mall, all I could hear were sirens and as we got closer, all I could see were fire trucks driving up my street. My heart was pounding the whole way. When we got in front of my house, I jumped out of the car, only to witness black smoke pouring out of the front door, pieces of rubbish floating in the air, and the right side of the house completely burnt to the ground in flames. I stood there in shock, because I could not believe what I was seeing.

Everything that seemed important to me in my life, my clothes, my stuffed animals, my room, and my bed didn’t even matter anymore. We lost everything. There was nothing to do but be a trooper and get through this. I believe “bad things happen to good people” because it makes you a stronger person in the end. It is a gift in disguise, a reminder that every passing day can change your entire life. This is what I felt six months after our tragedy. Not only did we remodel our house to look brand new again, but I felt like a new person. I felt like I could conquer anything and had a more positive outlook on my life. I believe my house fire was the foundation of who I am today.

I am an independent person. I rely on myself for support and healing. Just recently, I found out my mother has cancer. It was shocking to my family and at first I didn’t take it well. But then I remembered back to when I had that terrible house fire, and it reminded me that I needed to be stay strong and have hope, just like I did back then. I believe the experiences one goes through prepare them for life’s struggles and existence. I believe the only way miracles can happen, is if you truly believe you are strong enough to get through obstacles and struggles in your life. I have learned that you can only help yourself. You cannot rely on others to make things in your life dissipate by themselves.

If it were not for that fire I had, relationship issues, or my mother having cancer, I would not be who I am today. I don’t know what lies ahead of me. But I do know I am so blessed to have my life. This I believe: Life is an unexpected journey, and we should cherish every experience we have in it.