This I Believe

Yvonne - Topeka, Kansas
Entered on December 17, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • 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 am a Jehovah’s Witness. I have been for the majority of my life. I even partake in going door to door, spreading the gospel we believe in. I love God and would never denounce Him.

With this faith inside me, I do not celebrate birthdays, Halloweens, Thanksgivings, Christmas’, or any other holiday. But family and friends surround me most of the time.

Yet, one particular celebration sticks out more than others in my head: New Years. I have spent every New Year I can remember alone. There are no noise makers or countdowns in this household and I am not surrounded by friends. My family slumbers away while the rest of the world holds their breath as the clock strikes 12. I remember I would stay up and watch the fireworks my neighbors would light and watch in amazement as the sky filled with reds and blues.

I would think of my friends and think about what they’re doing and wondering how they were passing the holiday. Somewhere inside me, I wanted to be among them. They didn’t know I spent this particular holiday in solitude.

Last New Years, I recall sitting in my basement, on the verge of tears. I wanted so badly to be out of the house, to fraternize, to laugh, to be amongst warm and smiling faces. As a Jehovah’s Witness, we are told to not surround ourselves with Worldly people, as they might give us bad habits and provide a gap between us and God. That they will somehow make us like them.

I consider myself fairly popular, not to toot my own horn. And it is so difficult to turn down offers to see friends outside of school. What can I say? “I’m sorry, I can’t hang out with you because you will demoralize me and you’re most likely under the influence of the Devil.” Just this past weekend I wanted to go to the movies with a friend. I asked my mother and was denied because he was a boy. I wanted to tell her that he was gay and that it wasn’t a date but in retrospect, that probably would have put me in a worse position.

Most of my friends that I’ve told are accepting and don’t think it’s a big deal. But when a party comes up or a school dance and you hear your friends talk about how much fun it’ll be to go pick out dresses together and get ready together and take pictures together and ride a limo together can really get to you.

In the past year though, I feel as if I’ve matured to the point where parties and underage drinking aren’t as appealing as teen movies make them seem. My peers have their baby vodka and I have my faith.