This I Believe

Kristen - Elgin, Illinois
Entered on October 22, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Be Who You Are and Say What You Feel

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind, don’t matter, and those who matter, don’t mind.” -Dr. Suess

Middle school is an awkward time in a persons life. It is a time when people are making new friends and trying to fit in. It is also a time when one is making certain decisions that have never been made before. Middle school is when everyone grows up and tries to act more mature than they did in 6th grade.

I was always on the quiet side in grade school. I tried to do better than everyone else and I was probably called a teacher’s pet. I saw middle school as a new beginning. A chance to change myself. A way to get what I thought I wanted. I wanted to be friends with the “popular” kids. The pretty girls and the cute guys. I wanted to be one of them.

The first thing I did was join the basketball team because the cool kids did sports. I hated playing basketball. It was worth it though because by the end of the season, I was good friends with all the popular girls who played basketball. I got invited to the sleep-overs and the movies. I got to sit at their lunch table and talk to them in the halls. All my dreams had come true.

I wish I could’ve realized they were all fake sooner than I did. They said the meanest things about people I was friends with when they didn’t know them at all. Assumptions were made about every girl who didn’t dress the way we did or say the things we did. Vicious notes were written in every class about the girl sitting next to us or behind us or in a different classroom altogether. I went along with thinking we were somehow higher than everybody else. That somehow we had a right to look down upon those not in our circle. I didn’t just enjoy this, I loved it. I savored every minute of it. I was glad I was doing the talking and not being the one talked about.

I finally realized what I was a part of was wrong. I began to question why we got to make fun of kids and get away with it. I also realized that I didn’t really agree with anything they did; I just went along with it because I wanted to fit in. I didn’t mean anything I said, but I had to say it to keep those friends I had wanted. I began feeling as though I wanted to stick up for someone, I should be able to do it and my friendships should still last.

I gave up trying to fit in and found a group of friends I was comfortable with. We didn’t have to gossip about everyone else to have fun or get along. I could say what I wanted and be who I really was with them. I could really call them my best friends and not question that at all.

So I believe that you should always be who you are. If you can’t be your true self, then who are you being? And say what you feel. How you feel isn’t, and shouldn’t be, the same as everyone else. Because those who mind, don’t matter. The people who try and tell you what you should think, don’t matter. And those who matter, don’t mind. Your friends who care about you will let you believe in whatever it is you believe in.