April - Clifton Springs, New York
Entered on April 29, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe there comes a time in everyone’s life to break away from their old values they were raised by. They need to follow their hearts to create their own lives and beliefs. This way they can grow into independent individuals, proud to be the way they are. Everybody grows up with values thrust upon them from the people who raise them, teachers, or society. But I believe no one is truly happy if they do not have their own minds and opinions on life. Nobody should feel it’s necessary to view the world exactly how they were taught to do so. How can anyone live through life without examining the values they grew up with? To me, this is no way to live.

For me, breaking away from the norms and values of my family has changed me. I am proud that I did not choose the easy road. I feel free. My family is against interracial relationships and I can always recall my father’s warning to my sisters and me to never get involved with someone of another race or else he would disown us. But then I met Bryant.

At first I wouldn’t allow our relationship to go anywhere because he is part black. I was actually holding back. I knew my parents, especially my dad, would despise us being together and wouldn’t allow it.

Then something clicked. I really liked this guy, so why not give him a chance? I realized that race didn’t matter to me. I broke away from the values I was taught and followed my heart instead. I was proud that I didn’t let someone’s race or culture affect how I saw them as a person. I was brave enough to grow into my own person and now I feel better than ever.

It has been a year now, and I still haven’t told my father about my boyfriend. There is no need to; that will happen when I’m on my own. He will only try to get in the way of my own values. I’m enjoying myself and living the way I feel is right without anyone telling me it’s not.

Breaking free from my parents’ values for my life made me more comfortable with myself and my future, but most importantly, it allowed me to fall in love for the first time. Following my heart has led me to become the person I want to be. This is what I believe.