This I Believe

Andy - Portland, Oregon
Entered on September 21, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

This I Believe

Life twists and turns. At times it appears to laugh at us, crushing our dreams. It exposes us at our weakest points, and tests the strength of our souls. It makes us question ourselves, no longer sure whether you’re the person you thought you once were. Life’s done this to me, pushed me to my limits. Somehow each day I push on improving my life one second at a time. Because I believe that you can’t let your hardships in life defeat you. It is these struggles that mold you into the person who will live your life.

As I walk the halls at my high school, I think of all the times I’ve spent here. I wonder if all this time preparing for my life will pay off. I remember my junior year, the hardest time in my life. Being a seven foot sixteen year old , I felt as though my life was constantly under a magnifying glass. The fall of 2006 started the same as any other year, quick, and gearing up for basketball season. Unexpectedly I was hit. No not by a fist, but by an unknown virus. In three weeks I dropped thirty pounds. My eyes constantly heavy, and my gut always on fire. I never ate, I never wanted to do anything, especially play basketball. I pushed my family away, and my friends even further. Countless appointments, results always the same, negative, negative, negative. Never any answers, always more questions.

Through Christmas I dropped ten more pounds, though it felt like fifty. My team played in a nationally exposed tournament, the lights had never seemed brighter. I couldn’t do what I could before. It seemed like I was a stranger. Where I used to get excited, I now feared. I wanted answers but I couldn’t find any. The end of the season came sooner then years before. I felt guilty, like it was all my fault.

The next few months I had ample time to think. I dazed through my classes, everything seemed to blend together. I shut myself off from the world. But as the summer months came and went, my spirits lifted, I got rid of all the meds the doctors had given me based on a hunch. Honestly my body didn’t feel any better, but instead of being scared, I became proud. I had decided that my life had been ruined long enough. I knew that if I didn’t pull myself out, my trench would only turn into a canyon.

My weight came back slowly, and my confidence grew with it. I thought about people who had it worse than me, cancer survivors, and people who had overcome death. They knew the secret. You can’t let life beat you, though it may give it one hell of a shot. You control your life. As I look back at my life so far, I feel smarter, braver, I feel unstoppable. You can’t let anything beat you, this I believe.