This I Believe

Mirza - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on February 12, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in accepting your past.

I think that the people who don’t accept their past are useless in their efforts to be successful in the future. By looking in retrospect at where I came from, when I succeeded and failed, and how far I’ve come, I can make peace with my history. I can bury grudges and curiosity so that my future will hold great things for me.

In 2001, I took a trip to my home country. I lived in Bosnia for the first six years of my life. After a war ravaged my country, my family and I thought that to leave was the best option. I was not fully aware of what was happening because I was still a child. If anything, I was angry at where I was from for doing this to me. I came to Chicago in 1999. Whenever I saw or heard other people talking about their experiences in other countries, I began to wonder about my own. I began to wonder about my trip and if I was really destined to be in another ountry. Two years later I took a vacation by going back. It was at this time when I expanded on my identity and who I really was. Many questions were answered. I learned about my heritage and culture and customs. Most importantly, I realized that my fleeing was actually for the best of things. Although I had many friends and family there, I could not have lived there anymore. The situation was very dangerous and my personal wellbeing would have been put in jeopardy. There practically would have been no future for me if I had stayed in Bosnia. I also realized many things about what had driven me out. Ethnic aggression displaced me and I knew it.

I came back to Chicago with my mind at ease with what happened. I couldn’t run away from who I was, so I ran toward it. I embraced my culture and past. I think that this helped me embrace my present situation as well. I became thankful for being in such a rewarding situation. I was safe and secure where I lived. I am receiving a good education and I am surrounded by people who love and care for me. My mind was cleared of curiosity and I felt replenished. I finally started learning from my mistakes and looking out for myself because my mind was at ease.