Being Yourself

Amanda - Western Springs, Illinois
Entered on February 24, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in not conforming to what people want me to be. I believe in making your own choices, no matter what others ask of you or want from you.

From childhood I have had very strong opinions. When children my own age were reading The Magic Treehouse, I was stealing Angela’s Ashes and White Oleander from my mother’s dresser at night. I knew that technically I wasn’t supposed to but they looked twice as interesting as Mermaid Mary Margaret, and besides, I was reading, wasn’t I? As the years went on I began to develop ideas that were nothing like the people around me. I did not want to go to college, instead I wanted to live in New York and act on soap operas. People laughed at this idea, my mom said I had to go to college, but I knew what I wanted.

Getting married and then having kids was another must, I was told. But I wanted to travel the world, live in cheap motels, backpack through Europe; and the thought of marriage was never something that appealed to me. I thought about living in New York with my children and boyfriend but marriage was never a part of the picture. When I look at the divorce rates now and the way some marriages can be, it further proves my point. I want to be able to leave a relationship that is unhealthy without the issues that divorce brings about. And if the relationship is right, then the way I see it, we can last without needing the title of husband and wife.

Apparently I can’t fall in love and find “the one” in high school either. But I know for a fact that is untrue. When I tell people I am in love and have found “the one” they roll their eyes. Others tell me not to be stupid and give up my ambitions for him. But I know what I want and I’m not afraid to go after it. I also believe that love hurts, and is complicated and painful. Others believe love is so easy, but it isn’t and just because things get hard doesn’t mean you have to run away.

Overall, I believe in being me. Even if you don’t like it, even if you laugh, even if I am told that I am stupid. I believe in myself.