This I Believe

Michelle - Belleville, New Jersey
Entered on January 6, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: courage

When I became a freshman in high school, I was not popular at all. All I really wanted then was to be able to fit in. I was a quiet and shy person who found difficult to make friends. The friends that I had were the ones who, unfortunately, smoked. A part of me was heading into that direction, simply because I wanted to fit in. Luckily, I listened to my gut that told me not to make such a mistake.

My friends and I hung out almost every weekend. My friends did pressure me a few times to try smoking. I would refuse every time they asked me, but I became tempted to try it at one point. My friends and I would have a good time. Hanging out with them even helped me make new friends. I was finally fitting in and becoming somewhat popular. But, I became uncomfortable having to be around that kind of environment every weekend. I began to think of the consequences of continuing being around them. That is when I decided to alienate myself from them.

Suddenly, lots of questions came to my mind, asking me why I would do this to myself. Why do I want to become popular and fit in with these so-called “popular” people that are usually the wrong crowd? If I would have continued to be around them, I know that I would have tried smoking and probably been influenced to try other things. I knew I could not do this to myself. This is why I alienated myself from them. I do not want to be smoking every single day of my life, I want to be healthy and live long to see many miracles happen. I could already imagine that if I was dragged into the habit of smoking, I would most definitely not live long enough to see every wish I made for my future come true. I am done about caring on having so many friends because honestly I know that as soon as I graduate high school, I will most likely never see or talk them again. I did let my friends know that I am not like them, and by telling them that, it made me feel so much better about myself. I began to feel confident and that lead me to find the true person that I was.

I changed into a person that was full of life. I was not as quiet and shy as I used to be. I became more talkative with people, which helped me make friends. I truly loved this person who I was. I was this person all along, but simply had to find myself. I did not have to smoke or do anything to fit in. I only had to be me. That was always the answer, and now I realized it. I believe that I, being myself, helped me win popularity with people.

Now that I am a junior, I focus on continuing to earning good grades and hope to be accepted by a good college. I know now that I do not have to be someone that I am not in order for me to fit in and be popular. Why did I ever have that temptation to smoke when I knew it could kill me? It was all stupidity and brainwashing of wanting to be the “it” girl in school. But I am glad that I now am able to fit in with everyone that accepts the person who I really am.