This I Believe

Jessica - Rockford, Michigan
Entered on January 21, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Everyone has fallen. I have simply always had a tendency to fall a little more than others. I was born with a genetic physical disability, and my fine motor skills have never been “fine.”

As a child I believed that falling and failing were synonymous. The successful were those who could ice-skate and run a mile within fifteen minutes, not those who fell four times in a solitary game of kickball. When I hit the floor in front of a room of people, I felt sheepish, embarrassed, and defeated. It was easy to get down on myself when I was regularly down on the ground.

After accumulating an innumerable quantity of injuries, I finally realized something; without all of my bumps and bruises, I would not be the same person that I am today. Falling has taught me many important life lessons and helped me continue forward no matter how difficult the journey is.

If I hadn’t constantly found myself a lump on the floor on display for my peers, I would have continued to take myself too seriously. When a room full of people was laughing at me, I learned that beating them to the punch line could lighten very dark situations.

Through falling, I have also learned to be humble. For many years, I refused help while lying on a floor with tears streaming down my face, but, eventually, I learned to accept that hand and return to an upright position with a little more dignity. I became so grateful to those who had helped me that I made it my mission to give the same assistance to others who “fall.” Although it may be hard to accept, everyone needs a little help sometimes.

After years of falling, I have been told that I have “perfected the art.” I tend to land in comfortable sitting positions when I fall because I am so prepared for it that I can now do it gracefully. As I fall and fall again, I have also had to walk and walk again. Each attempt has made me a better person. Success is not in receiving the fastest time on the mile run but having endurance and a smile in the race. This I believe, falling is at the center of my success.