This I Believe

Smiley - Moyock, North Carolina
Entered on December 14, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: freedom
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I believe in conquering a beast, no matter what kind, no matter how large.

It lurks around every corner, awaiting the downfall of many a weak student. A dreaded shaggy black beast casting a doomed shadow over us all that we like to call stress. Finals, exams, mid terms, projects, tests or down to the simple quiz all provide the perfect habitat to nurture this evil that haunts the recesses of our fragile minds.

I face the monster most everyday although some days it seems to have power over everything. Even though I’d been practicing for months during the summer before my sophomore year, I became very anxious the night before my all-district band competition. No longer did I read my music or pause to study an intricate and complex run of 16th notes, but rather I drew it from the confines of my memory. I could play scales in a wide array of patterns mixing speed, rhythm, and order, but that night I was a dead orange leaf damaged greatly while descending from the grand oak in my neighbor’s yard.

Fingers were trembling as I struggled sluggishly though my arpeggios and cruelly mutilated my Russian composition pieces. I sighed dourly and decided to pack up my beloved bass clarinet, Bernadette, before I felt any more embarrassment at my apparent lack of ability. I was convinced there could be no success in this competition. Only failure and shame.

Clutching my faithful black Ipod and a woolen blue blanket in my defeated fingers, I trudged outside my dreary bedroom and down the small hall to the glass door that would lead to salvation. I gasped as the abrupt shock of the frigid winter air hit my face. Shivering, I continued ambling out to the rope hammock in my back yard. I wrapped up in my blanket and lay down before turning my Ipod on and selecting my favorite playlist of all, dedicated to my ultimate favorite band, Creed.

I peeked over the fence around me to make sure no one was outside before I let it all out. I sang as loud as I could, to the very tip top of my lung capacity to free myself from the beast. My music was blaring, but I was ten times louder than the most piecing chord in Creed’s songs.

As I sang I began to notice that my mind cleared and my heart felt lighter again. I was winning the battle against my formidable foe. No longer was I on the brink of tears in fear; no longer did I count myself among the list of doomed. My gloomy exterior melted away with every word I sang.

Sometimes the only way to defeat the beast is to let him have it. When it comes to conquering stress, I believe that you should always sing at the top of your lungs.