This I Believe

Sarah - Irmo, South Carolina
Entered on February 7, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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Be Yourself; Be Everyone Else.

There is a desperate search to find oneself in today’s culture. The meaning behind becoming “real”, breaking down all fake walls, stopping the “play and pretend” game that we’ve got running. But I tell you, it’s all really a waste of everyone’s time, trying to find this person that is purely uninfluenced by others. Because the “real you” was made by others, and will always be influenced by others, and unsurprisingly they make you what you are today. And I believe that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

In my life, I went through an ironic phase where I tried to declare my individuality and self-realization by following the fashion, trends, and attitudes of those who were doing the same. There was always that constant nagging at the back of my neck, to be simply a little bit pretty, to flow in with the rest of the so-called “individuals” in a seamless line of conformity. And you know the only reason I really snapped out of it, was because of a few very wonderful people who helped bring out that true self, by the ways they lived their lives, to influence mine.

Take my best friend Heather, for instance. When I met her in seventh grade, she was ridiculously tomboy with a passion for art, and that’s just about where our similarities stopped and started. But over the years, we blended into one another, so that five years later, I had taken on quite a bit of her composed and creative nature, and she had taken on a bit of my fashionably nonchalant character in general.

And then there’s my boyfriend, Tyler. That kid could survive a hurricane unscathed the way he puts up with my mood swings. And over the two year course, he’s helped me mellow out my attitude, increased my taste in music, and I’ve shown him a little bit of social know-how, such as why we’re not supposed to wear green cargo pants to a fancy dinner. Especially when they’re more holes than pants.

So really, in the long run, we’ve picked up skills and tricks from all the people we’ve met in our lives, and passed them down along the way as well. But what makes us unique, what makes us interesting, is that because we’ve met so many, with such numerous diverse viewpoints, we’re each an exclusive mixture. I believe that, just like some crazy science experiment, no matter what the reactants were to begin with, the product is what matters. So go ahead, buy the cute shirt you want, even though you saw that other girl wearing it. You are going to wear it in a completely different way.